Date of Conferral







Briana Nicholson


To practice as an occupational therapist, an individual must complete an accredited occupational therapy (OT) program and pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam. The NBCOT exam was developed to ensure entry-level occupational therapists have the necessary knowledge to make safe and competent decisions. The problem that compelled this study was that there is limited understanding of the predictors of first attempt success on the NBCOT exam. The purpose of this retrospective quantitative study was to examine the predictive ability of age, gender, ethnicity, undergraduate GPA, graduate record exam scores, and program GPA on first attempt NBCOT exam success. The theoretical framework of this study was Bandura's social cognitive theory, which examines the constructs of intentionality, forethought, self-reactiveness, and self-reflectiveness as they relate to student behaviors, goals, and learning outcomes. The overarching research question was to understand the extent one or more of the independent variables predicted first attempt NBCOT exam success. Retrospective data were analyzed for 208 masters of OT students using binomial logistic regression. Decreased age, GRE Verbal Reasoning score, and program GPA were statistically significant predictors of the first attempt NBCOT exam success. Results of this study promote positive social change by shedding light on the predictive nature of pre-admission and programmatic variables as they relate to students' ability to pass the NBCOT exam on the first attempt. Passing the NBCOT exam enables graduates to become independent OT practitioners who serve clients in need of their services and can reflect positively on the graduates' academic institution.