A quality ranking of accredited undergraduate athletic training education programs

Toby Lance Dore'

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to provide a quality ranking of accredited undergraduate athletic training education programs. A four-part self-reporting questionnaire, first proposed by Clarke (1996), was modified for this study and mailed to 121 Program Directors. This questionnaire was used to determine a quality ranking for each of the four parts as well as an overall quality ranking. To validate the questionnaire and establish a weighting for each item of the questionnaire a Panel of Experts study was conducted using 11 volunteers who were Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) site visitors and currently not Program Directors of an accredited undergraduate athletic training education program. Of the 121 Program Directors surveyed, 63 returned a completed survey yielding a 52% response. The following areas were explored by the questionnaire: athletic training curriculum, student information, faculty information, and athletic training room staff. All athletic training education programs surveyed meet the minimum standards set by CAAHEP, but the institutions achieving a high overall ranking in this study were consistently high in one or more of the four areas. Academic ranking has been a controversial issue since the time of its inception. Many argue that the quality ranking of academic programs is an arbitrary concept in itself. However, academic rankings serve as a tool to aid both faculty and program evaluation as well as providing motivation to improve academic quality. Whether the effects of academic ranking are positive or negative, it is safe to make the assumption that these rankings will continue in higher education.