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Report and requests for consideration: CAPTE standards revision

Mar 30, 2021

Report and requests for consideration: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) Standards Revision 

Dear Commissioners,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT), I am submitting recommendations to the CAPTE Commission for consideration as you revise the current CAPTE standards. 

The ACAPT Board has been collecting, collating, and synthesizing feedback from our institutional members over the last year through regional town halls, CSM Roundtable sessions, and more recently through a survey to our membership. After carefully considering all of the comments and the data collected, we have identified five (5) recommendations for the Commission to consider. 

Recommendations 

  1. ACAPT members are concerned about the number of new and developing DPT programs and the recent program expansion of many established programs.

    There is a growing concern that the supply of available seats is growing at a rate that exceeds the demand by prospective students. This concern was further validated by the December 2020 APTA Workforce Analysis. The majority of ACAPT member institutions believe that CAPTE should place greater requirements on developing programs to provide evidence of the regional need for an additional program and that they have the required resources to successfully launch a new program. The same concern applies to existing programs that seek to undergo program expansion.

    In a recent survey of ACAPT institutional representatives (n = 157), members were asked to rate their agreement ( + 10) or disagreement (-10) with the following statement. "CAPTE should tighten standards for developing programs and program expansion by ensuring programs have sufficient resources (e.g. faculty, clinical education contracts)." There was strong support for this statement. See the letter and appendix for the results of the survey. As a result, the ACAPT Board of Directors requests that CAPTE make modifications to multiple standards such as 2B2, 2B4, 4A, 8C, 8D, and 8F to address these concerns.

  2. Many ACAPT members continue to express concern about the administrative burden associated with the AAR and the self-study report.

    While this includes the overall breadth and depth of the CAPTE Standards, the main focus of this recommendation is to seek efficiency and to reduce redundancy of requested information and offer variable reporting timelines for programs that have consistently demonstrated compliance with CAPTE standards.

    In a recent survey of ACAPT institutional representatives (n = 156), members were asked to rate their agreement ( + 10) or disagreement (-10) with the following statement. "CAPTE should reduce the administrative burden for annual accreditation reports and self-study reports on DPT programs that have an established record of compliance with CAPTE standards." There was moderately strong support for this statement. See the letter and appendix for the results of the survey. As a result, the ACAPT Board of Directors recommends that CAPTE make a concerted effort to streamline the data reporting process, find ways to reduce redundancy of requested information, and create a mechanism for variable reporting based on a program's history of compliance.

  3. As a follow-up to recommendation #2 above, ACAPT members are concerned about the proliferation of curricular content (curricular creep), especially in Standard 7 (7 A thru 7D43), without the periodic culling of curricular content that is no longer supported by evidence or by the standards of contemporary clinical practice. The growing list not only adds burden to the self-study report, but it also constrains programs from focusing on their unique mission and goals.

    In a recent survey of ACAPT institutional representatives (n = 157), members were asked to rate their agreement ( + 10) or disagreement (-10) with the following statement. "The overall number of CAPTE Standards should be reduced. The proliferation of curricular content (Standard 7D) has resulted in too many individual standards focused on small aspects of most programs." There was moderately strong support for this statement. See the letter and appendix for the results of the survey. As a result, the ACAPT Board of Directors recommends that CAPTE make an effort to review Standard 7 to reduce the number of required elements and to ensure that all required elements are consistent with contemporary clinical practice.

  4. Many ACAPT programs continue to express concerns about Standard 4K.

    There are concerns that the 50% rule is arbitrary, and there is insufficient data to support that 50% is the correct percentage. There are concerns that the standard may not make allowances for DPT-trained faculty with advanced research training or a demonstrated record of scholarly productivity. There is a belief that Standard 4K should match the mission, vision, and goals of the program such that it is consistent with Standard 4A. There are concerns that Standard 4K should be based on the faculty qualifications as a whole, as well as the program's overall scholarly productivity.

    In a recent survey of ACAPT institutional representatives (n = 157), members were asked to rate their agreement ( + 10) or disagreement (-10) with the following four (4) statements related to Standard 4K.

    A) "CAPTE should revisit Standard 4K (50% rule) to make an effort to provide data to support that 50% is the correct percentage to ensure excellence in PT education."
    B) "CAPTE should revisit Standard 4K (50% rule) to make allowances for DPT trained faculty who have advanced research training and a demonstrated record of scholarly productivity to count as the equivalent of a faculty member with an advanced academic doctorate."
    C) "CAPTE should revise Standard 4K to ensure that program faculty matches the program's mission, vision, and goals and is consistent with Standard 4A."
    D) "CAPTE should revise Standard 4K to base faculty qualifications as a whole on baseline individual expectations for scholarship as well as overall program scholarly productivity, with a focus on appropriate research training and activity as the standard rather than the type of degree."

    While there were some strong views on both extremes; overall, there was mild support for each of these four statements. See the letter and appendix for the results of the survey. Therefore, the ACAPT Board of Directors recommends that CAPTE carefully review Standard 4K, provide needed data to support that 50% is the correct percentage, and that other metrics be considered to demonstrate that a program is meeting its unique mission, and still meeting the standards of scholarship. 

  5. Lastly, ACAPT has worked very hard to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) that cuts across all aspects of DPT education. While CAPTE has standards to ensure DEI in the admissions process, there is comparatively less emphasis placed on ensuring that programs are providing evidence to support DEI in the recruitment and retention of faculty.

    In a recent survey of ACAPT institutional representatives (n = 157), members were asked to rate their agreement ( + 10) or disagreement (-10) with the following statement. "CAPTE should revise Standard 3 to ensure programs provide evidence of recruitment and retention practices that promote diversity in faculty." There was mild support for this statement. See the letter and appendix for the results of the survey. As a result, the ACAPT Board of Directors recommends that CAPTE make a determined effort to review Standard 3 to ensure that programs are providing evidence of recruitment and retention practices that promote diversity of faculty.

The ACAPT Board of Directors greatly appreciates the collaboration and growing relationship we have developed with CAPTE, and we look forward to working with the Commission to pursue excellence in Physical Therapy Education. 

Thank you for your consideration and assistance. 

Cordially, 

D. Scott Davis PT, MS, EdD
ACAPT Liaison to CAPTE

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