Professionalism and the Professional Development Assessment Tool (PDAT)

Students are expected to achieve and maintain the highest level of professionalism. Given the dramatic importance of professionalism in the PA profession, the MPAS Program includes a professionalism component to every final course grade.

The Professional Development Assessment Tool (PDAT) is the assessment tool that is used by the MPAS Program to assess competency in the area of professionalism. The PDAT provides as objective a rubric as possible for assessing multiple components of professionalism; the combined score of each component in the rubric results in a final score called the Professional Demeanor Multiplier (PDM).

  • Satisfactorily meeting all areas of professionalism, the expectation for all students, results in a PDM of 1.0000. 
  • Some of the PDAT professionalism items may not pertain to all courses. If a particular course does not include one or more professionalism items as indicated in the PDAT, an automatic ‘satisfactory’ score will be awarded for those specific items.

Course grades consist of two major final components: (a) the Pre-PDM Grade, the result of a student’s combined work during the course (e.g., scores on papers, quizzes, exams, projects); and (b) the Final Course Grade, the result of the Pre-PDM Grade multiplied by the PDM.

  • A student’s course grade will be negatively affected if that student does not meet expectations of professionalism in one or more areas.
  • A student’s course grade will be unaffected if a student meets expectations in all PDAT areas.

Unless in the case of egregious conduct/professionalism violations, prior to awarding the very first negative PDAT score, the course director or the student’s faculty advisor will meet with the student to discuss the applicable issue. At that time, depending on the behavior, the faculty member may offer the student a chance to develop a remediation plan. This provides the student with an opportunity to correct the unprofessional behavior before the PDM is calculated.

Although individual course directors complete the PDAT for each course, a negative PDM is only applied after faculty discussion at a MPAS program faculty meeting in which consensus is achieved. This process was designed to help ensure the PDM is fair and objective. The rubric can be found the the MPAS student handbook.