Date Presented 04/01/2022

This study examined the efficacy of the same site model (SSM) by comparing Fieldwork Performance Evaluation scores of students who completed the SSM (n = 42) versus the traditional fieldwork model (n = 43). Results showed that students who completed the SSM scored 1 point higher, with no statistical difference (p = .621). The SSM is preferred by most students; therefore, to promote positive mental health and take a trauma-informed pedagogy, the SSM of fieldwork should be a consideration for fieldwork.

Primary Author and Speaker: Kate Barlow

Additional Authors and Speakers: Courtney Taylor

Contributing Authors: Nicole Newman, Victoria Lehr

BACKGROUND: The Same Site Model (SSM) of fieldwork service delivery provides the opportunity for the occupational therapy (OT) students to complete their Level I and Level II fieldwork at the same site. Previous findings by Barlow & colleagues (2020) found that the majority (83%) of OT students and fieldwork educators (FWEs) who did participate in the SSM would prefer it again in the future. The greatest criticism of the SSM by FWEs was the lack of exposure to different clinical settings. Insight into the efficacy and benefits of the SSM is imperative as there is a need for research on how to best support OT students through the fieldwork experience. Current trends in higher education are revealing a decline in the mental health of college students (Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 2018). Previous findings by Evenson et al. (2002) suggest the SSM can have a positive mental health impact by reducing OT student anxiety surrounding fieldwork.

PURPOSE: The SSM is not widely used across the United States, and there is little research on the model’s efficacy. The purpose of this study was to examine student performance outcomes on the Fieldwork Performance Evaluation (FWPE), comparing students who completed a traditional model of fieldwork to students who completed the SSM of fieldwork.

DESIGN: This study was a retrospective chart review study. OT student charts were selected for review if the student participated in the SSM of fieldwork from 2016-2019, along with comparison charts for students who completed a traditional model of fieldwork.

METHOD: The FWPEs total score from students experiencing the SSM was compared to the FWPEs total score for students who completed a traditional model of fieldwork. The traditional model charts were randomly selected by gathering every third chart for a comparison during the same time period. Charts were filed alphabetically, therefore the faculty researchers entered in the data from every third chart (unless the third chart is a SSM, the fourth chart was chosen). Each student received an identification number for anonymity. Independent T tests were run to compare means, as well as Cohen’s d for effect size.

RESULTS: A total of 85 student charts were chosen with 42 of them experiencing the SSM and 43 of them experiencing the traditional model. The mean FWPE score for those students who completed the SSM was 138.83 and those who completed the traditional model was 137.47, revealing no statistical significance (p = 0.621) and a small effect size (d = 0.108). A bivariate Pearson correlation analysis was completed to look at the impact of students completing their fieldwork as their first or second placement, which revealed a very weak negative correlation (r = -.017) and no statistical significance (p = 0.875).

CONCLUSION: The students who completed the SSM scored 1 point higher than students who completed the traditional model of fieldwork, with no significant difference between the two models (p = 0.621). This efficacy study demonstrates that the SSM does not negatively impact student performance on the FWPEs.

IMPACT: Given the need to promote positive mental health and provide a trauma informed pedagogy by maximizing student choice (Davidson, 2020), the SSM of fieldwork should be considered by all academic programs. The limitations of this study include the small sample size and the absence of information regarding the students’ mental health who participated in the study. Follow up research on students’ mental health before and during fieldwork as well as examining the Academic Fieldwork Coordinators’ perception on the SSM is recommended to provide further validation for its use within academic settings.


Barlow, K., Salemi, M., & Taylor, C. (2020). Implementing the Same Site Model in Occupational Therapy Fieldwork: Student and Fieldwork Educator Perspectives. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 4 (3). Retrieved from

Davidson, S. (2017). Trauma-informed practices for postsecondary education: A guide. Education Northwest.

Evenson, M., Barnes, M. A., & Cohn, E. S. (2002). Brief report—Perceptions of level I and level II fieldwork in the same site. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56, 103-106.