Construct validity of the Health Science Reasoning Test

J Allied Health. 2011 Winter;40(4):181-6.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the construct validity of the Health Science Reasoning Test (HSRT) by determining if the test could discriminate between expert and novice physical therapists' critical-thinking skills.

Methods: Experts identified from a random list of certified clinical specialists and students in the first year of their physical therapy education from two physical therapy programs completed the HSRT.

Results: Experts (n = 73) had a higher total HSRT score (mean 24.06, SD 3.92) than the novices (n = 79) (mean 22.49, SD 3.2), with the difference being statistically significant t (148) = 2.67, p = 0.008.

Conclusion: The HSRT total score discriminated between expert and novice critical-thinking skills, therefore establishing construct validity. To our knowledge, this is the first study to compare expert and novice performance on a standardized test. The opportunity to have a tool that provides evidence of students' critical thinking skills could be helpful for educators and students. The test results could aid in identifying areas of students' strengths and weaknesses, thereby enabling targeted remediation to improve critical thinking skills, which are key factors in clinical reasoning, a necessary skill for effective physical therapy practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Physical Therapists / classification*
  • Physical Therapists / education
  • Physical Therapists / standards
  • Problem Solving
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Students, Health Occupations / psychology*