Student Performance Metrics and the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam ® : A 3-Year Multi-Institutional Study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The journal of physician assistant education : the official journal of the Physician Assistant Education Association








INTRODUCTION: Given the 2019 Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) blueprint update from the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants, it is imperative that programs conduct analyses of student performance metrics and PANCE scores. The purpose of this multi-institutional study was to examine the relationship between PANCE scores and student performance metrics/attributes from PA program graduates from 2017-2019. METHODS: A multiple linear regression was calculated to predict PANCE score indicators based on student attributes and performance metrics from 3 PA programs. Metrics included: PAEA End of Rotation exams, PACKRAT scores, academic performance in clinical medicine didactic courses, cumulative grade point average, and select demographic and admissions attributes (age, sex, and first generation to attend college). Descriptive statistics were employed to provide contextual information and an overview of the included data points. RESULTS: A significant regression equation was found with r-square of 0.709. Clinical Medicine II didactic course grades, PACKRAT I & II scores, and PAEA End of Rotation Exam scores in Family Medicine and Internal Medicine were all significant predictors of PANCE score. DISCUSSION: In consideration of the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) Standards and expectations for ongoing self-assessment, including PANCE analysis, this research was timely and necessary. To date, there is very limited research regarding student performance metrics given the PANCE blueprint update in 2019, and these data are critical to aid programs in ongoing development and best preparation for learners.


Physician Assistant Studies