Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Physical Education Teacher Education

Committee Chair

Robert Wiegand.


Athletic trainers evaluate an athlete's injury, make decisions regarding injury management, provide first aid and treatment, establish rehabilitation protocols, and evaluate the outcomes of their decisions. To practice effectively, they must think critically and make appropriate decisions. As educators make curriculum changes to improve decision making in athletic training, instructional methods to develop critical thinking continues to be proposed as a method to achieve this goal. This idea is based on the hypothesis that there is a DM-CT link, that athletic training students think critically, and that these instructional methods affect critical thinking. Additionally, issues continue to increase regarding the poor performance of students on the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification Written Simulation (NATABOC-WS). Although this may be due to test anxiety, it may also be as a result of students being novices at taking written simulation exams, or if due to the DM-CT link, students do not think critically or students' critical thinking is not affected by instructional methods. The correlational methodology compared scores from 11 ATEP seniors' Critical Thinking Appraisal (CTA) and their NATABOC-WS results. Institutions were compared for usage of written simulation evaluations across the curriculum. Finally, 239 college students, 104 non-ATEP students and 135 ATEP students were subjected to a 2X4 MANOVA to identify differences between AT and non-AT majors, as well as identifying differences across all four cohorts. The results indicate that the Point Biserial Correlation as not significant between the NATABOC-WS and the CTA. Athletic training students had little exposure to written simulation evaluation format across the curriculum with only 50% of the institutions utilizing written simulations across the curriculum and with that at only 11% of the time. The athletic training students did have significantly higher critical thinking skills than did non-athletic training college students; however, differences across cohorts were not significant. Non-athletic training cohort levels were consistent across time until the senior year; while athletic training mean differences in cohorts varied, those usually occurred in the year of formal admission to the athletic training program. Based on the fact that athletic training literature is limited on the topic of critical thinking, the need for additional research is apparent.