Do Institutional Characteristics Predict Achievement on the National Physical Therapy Examination?

Purpose/Hypothesis : Over the years, there have been substantial changes in terminal degree expectation, curricular philosophies and teaching practices, resources, and costs associated with post- baccalaureate physical therapy education programs. Additional revisions to physical therapy curricula have been consistently discussed in order to improve graduatesÕ readiness for clinical practice. One benchmark for practice readiness is achievement of a passing score on the NPTE. However, institution-level predictors of success on the NPTE that may inform best practices in physical therapy education have not been well characterized. Thus, the purpose of this project was to determine the association between institutional 6-month pass proportion on the NPTE and variables representing student enrollment, faculty, costs, and curricular format.Number of Subjects : 191 records from accredited physical therapy education programs in the United States (18.8% extended reports).Materials/Methods : A retrospective review of anonymized records was conducted for Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education institutional reports from 2010. All reports were included in the analysis. Descriptive statistics related to program characteristics were completed, including student enrollment, faculty, costs, and curricular format were completed. Associations between 6-month pass proportion on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and program characteristics were analyzed using Spearman correlation for continuous variables and chi-square analysis for categorical variables.Results : Mean 6-month pass proportion on the NPTE was 98.8% (95% confidence interval; 95%CI: 97.7-100%), with 9 programs reporting ?94% pass proportion (4.7%). Despite the relatively high point estimate and narrow spread observed for 6-month NPTE pass proportion, there was much greater variation observed in institutional characteristics related to students, faculty, costs, and curricular format. No continuous variable under study significantly predicted 6-month NPTE pass proportion. Among categorical variables, only weekend scheduling format was associated with a significantly higher incidence of ?94% pass proportion (25.0%) than full-time day format (4.2%; p=.05), however this observation was based on only n=4 weekend format programs.Conclusions : There is no significant correlation between factors such as the faculty to student ratio, the program length, and classroom hours, to the 6-month pass proportion on the NPTE.Clinical Relevance : The information gained from this research supports the idea that the factors we analyzed do not impact the ability for students to practice physical therapy. More research should be completed to determine what factors impact the preparedness of physical therapy students upon graduation of their PT program for eventual success on the NPTE. This future research could form the basis for decisions related to revisions to physical therapy curricula.

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  • Control #: 2021308
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Meiying Lam, Rachel Eng, Megan Jackson, Todd Davenport
  • Keywords: NPTE Pass Rate|DPT Program Length|Faculty to Student Ratio

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