Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Samuel Stack

Committee Co-Chair

Duane S Davis

Committee Member

Reagan Curtis

Committee Member

Lauryl A Lefebvre

Committee Member

M Cecil Smith


Professionalism and professional behavior of students has been a growing concern in the health professions for the past two decades (Aguilar et al., 2013; Davis, 2009; Swick, 2000). As a result multiple professions have identified core values and the professional behaviors that are a reflection of these in practice; and have begun to integrate assessment of student professional behaviors into educational standards. Occupational therapy has a history of publication dating back to 1995 regarding assessment of the professional behaviors of students but no profession wide expectations have been established.;This study attempted to describe the thoughts and opinions of faculty in Master's level entry Occupational Therapy educational programs nationwide regarding assessment of students' professional behaviors. This study also looked for differences in thoughts and opinions between faculty from different types of Carnegie Classification institutions and full- versus part-time faculty. An invitation to complete an online survey was sent to all Occupational Therapy faculty identified through reviews of the websites of all 154 accredited occupational therapy education programs. The survey gathered demographic data (N = 294) and then asked the faculty to indicate their level of agreement with behaviors to be included in professional behavior assessment and asked them to assign value to the various methods used in assessment.;A total of 292 responses (22%) were included in the final statistical analysis. Participants assigned high importance to all behaviors listed in the survey and identified an additional 52 behaviors for inclusion in professional behavior assessment. Regarding assessment techniques participants preferred the inclusion of direct skilled observations of student behavior in classroom and clinical environments. Participants also indicated a preference for regular assessment intervals.;Statistical analysis of differences in responses of faculty from different Carnegie classification type institutions only revealed significant differences in the value of including observations of students' behavior at conferences and non-institutional sponsored continuing education events with faculty from Baccalaureate institutions assigning less value to these observations. Faculty from Baccalaureate institutions also assigned less importance to compiling assessment results to reflect performance of the group as a whole than faculty from other institution types.;When comparing responses from full-time and part-time faculty some statistically significant results were identified. Full-time faculty assigned more importance to the assessment of initiative and responsibility for own learning. In the area of assessment practices full-time faculty assigned less value to observations of student behaviors in lab sessions while part-time faculty assigned less value to the observations of student behavior in group work and assigned less importance to the use of assessment results in program evaluation and to inform professional development opportunities.;Occupational therapy is a broad profession that practices in many settings with a variety of clients with a wide range of disabilities. This diversity of practice expectations is reflected in the importance assigned to all of the behaviors included in the survey as well as the large number of additionally written in behaviors to be included in assessment. The profession of occupational therapy will be strengthened by identifying the essential behaviors that students should develop in academic programs to reflect the professional values of occupational therapy in their professional practice. Occupational therapy faculty express that they value assessment that occurs at regular intervals and includes direct skilled observations and student self-assessment of student's behavior in the classroom, clinic, and professional activities. Further research is needed to identify key behaviors, best assessment practices, and to establish a clear relationship between behavior exhibited in the academic and clinical environment.