Date of Award



© 2019 Lynn Eckrote

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Carey Clark

Second Advisor

Barbara Heard

Third Advisor

Edward Henninger


A holistic approach to the admission process in a physician assistant (PA) program can emphasize skills beyond the traditional measures of cognitive skills. The purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences that directors of physician assistant programs have with applying the MMI as a measure of noncognitive skills in the admission process. Physician assistant programs often do not put an equal focus on cognitive and noncognitive skills. This study addressed the research question: What experiences have PA directors had with applying the MMI as a measure of noncognitive skills in the admission process? The participants of this study were PA directors who have experience with the MMI as part of the admission process. One on one interviews were conducted, recorded, and transcribed with a phenomenological approach to analyze the qualitative data. Six themes were identified as a result of the qualitative data collection. These themes were holistic review, rater training consistency, development and reinforcement of noncognitive skills, directors report an overall positive experience, data collected by programs not yet analyzed, and a change in student demographics. Recommendations included PA programs implementing a holistic approach to the admission process in order to assess a candidate’s noncognitive skills. Also, PA directors should make data collection, review, and analysis a priority to horizontally and longitudinally align curriculum and evaluations, and to determine if the MMI can be correlated with student outcomes.


Ed.D. Dissertation