Student outcomes of school-based physical therapy as measured by goal attainment scaling

Lisa A. Chiarello, Susan K. Effgen, Lynn Jeffries, Sarah Westcott McCoy, Heather Bush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: The main purposes were to describe individualized outcomes of students receiving school-based physical therapy and determine if goal attainment differed by gross motor ability and age. Methods: One hundred nine physical therapists and 296 students participated. At the beginning of the school year, therapists translated students' Individualized Education Program goals into subgoals using Goal Attainment Scaling and determined students' Gross Motor Functional Classification System level. Researchers categorized goals (posture/mobility, recreation/fitness, self-care, or academics), and therapists identified students' primary goal. At the end of the school year, therapists scored the goals. Descriptive statistics and 2-way analyses of variance were conducted. Results: Students exceeded their expected goal level for primary goals and goals categorized as posture/mobility, recreation/fitness, and self-care and made progress on academic goals. No differences were found by gross motor ability. Younger students had higher goal attainment for primary and recreation goals. Conclusion: Students achieve individualized outcomes addressed by school-based physical therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Physical Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education, through grant R324A110204 to the University of Kentucky. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the US Department of Education. REDCap was used in the data analysis, which was supported by NIH CTSA grant number UL1TR000117.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. and Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association.


  • Goal Attainment Scaling
  • Goals
  • School-based physical therapy
  • Student individualized outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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