Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jathtrainLink to Publisher's site
J Athl Train. 1997 Oct-Dec; 32(4): 323–327.
PMCID: PMC1320349

Predictors of Success on the NATABOC Certification Examination

Gary L. Harrelson, EdD, ATC
Gary L. Harrelson is Manager at Educational Services and Technology, DCH Regional Medical Center, Adjunct Assistant Professor at University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401.
James B. Gallaspy, MEd, ATC
James B. Gallaspy is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Athletic Training Education at University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS.
Harold V. Knight, EdD
Harold V. Knight is Professor of Educational Leadership and Research at University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS.



To determine the degree to which a selected number of variables could predict success on the first attempt at the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification Examination.

Design and Setting:

Data were obtained from the student records of subjects who were enrolled in the same undergraduate athletic training education program for a minimum of two years, maintained a minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, and had taken the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification Examination. A telephone survey of the subjects was used to supplement these records.


Fifty-two subjects (38 male, 14 female) who had been enrolled for a mean of seven semesters (±2.57) participated in this study. Subjects maintained a mean overall GPA of 3.27 (± 0.39), with an athletic training mean GPA of 3.34 (±0.43) and an academic minor mean GPA of 2.91 (±0.46). The mean ACT composite score was 18 (±4.02).


Subjects sat for the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification Examination. Examination passing status, rather than subjects' scores on individual sections, was used in the analysis.


Analysis using forward multiple linear regression indicated that no single independent variable predicted examination success. However, a strong interrelationship was present between several of the independent variables. Multiple discriminant analysis was used to determine the nature and strength of these interrelationships. A composite set of variables was formed to include overall academic GPA, athletic training GPA, academic minor GPA, ACT composite score, and number of semesters of university enrollment. This composite set explained 42% of the variance in predicting successful completion of the entire examination on the first attempt. The predictive power of the composite set greatly decreased after the first examination attempt.


Academic variables are the strongest predictors of first-time success on the overall National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification Examination and its component sections.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (944K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Feldt RC, Donahue JM. Predicting nursing GPA and national council licensure examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN): a thorough analysis. Psychol Rep. 1989 Apr;64(2):415–421. [PubMed]
  • Foti I, DeYoung S. Predicting success on the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse: another piece of the puzzle. J Prof Nurs. 1991 Mar-Apr;7(2):99–104. [PubMed]
  • Horns PN, O'Sullivan P, Goodman R. The use of progressive indicators as predictors of NCLEX-RN success and performance of BSN graduates. J Nurs Educ. 1991 Jan;30(1):9–14. [PubMed]
  • Lengacher CA, Keller R. Academic predictors of success on the NCLEX-RN examination for associate degree nursing students. J Nurs Educ. 1990 Apr;29(4):163–169. [PubMed]
  • Hyde RM, Krug RS, Dearner JF. An inexpensive predictor of student performance on licensure examinations. Med Teach. 1987;9(3):343–347. [PubMed]
  • Balogun JA. Predictors of academic and clinical performance in a baccalaureate physical therapy program. Phys Ther. 1988 Feb;68(2):238–242. [PubMed]
  • Balogun JA, Karacoloff LA, Farina NT. Predictors of academic achievement in physical therapy. Phys Ther. 1986 Jun;66(6):976–980. [PubMed]
  • Roehrig SM. Prediction of licensing examination scores in physical therapy graduates. Phys Ther. 1988 May;68(5):694–698. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association