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National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) pass rates and accommodations

Mar 28, 2022

Testing accommodations help ensure that the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) measures what it purports to measure, rather than the negative effects of a disabling condition. The purpose of testing accommodations is to provide candidates with full access to the test, not to guarantee improved performance, a passing score, test completion, or any other specific outcome.

Starting with the October 2022 examinations, candidates requesting test accommodations in states that use the Alternate Approval Pathway (AAP) will have a streamlined approval process:

  • Candidates who have received testing accommodations in their Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) or physical therapy assistant (PTA) program and need accommodations on the NPTE will provide information from their school indicating which accommodations were given and how those accommodations will allow access to the examination. 
  • From there, FSBPT staff will work with the candidate to ensure the appropriate accommodations are given on the NPTE. 
  • If a candidate has not received accommodations in school but has a disability and requires accommodations, they will supply documentation from an appropriate professional as to how their disability impacts test taking and what accommodations are necessary to access the NPTE.
  • Upon request, FSBPT can also provide testing accommodations to individuals who do not have disabilities covered by the ADA but who need courtesy accommodations to address temporary issues.

ACAPT promotes AAP to ease the administrative burden during the initial processes of students entering the PT community.

All DPT programs should provide information to their students about the NPTE accommodations process and the FSBPT Forum article Test Accommodations.

Students who would like to apply for testing accommodations should request such accommodations as early as possible. The process for requesting testing accommodations depends on the jurisdiction where the student is seeking licensure. Several states use FSBPT to administer the review process, other states still administer the process themselves.

If you have any questions about this process, you can contact your state jurisdiction or the FSBPT.

How can schools help a student who did not pass the NPTE?

When a student does not pass the NPTE, FSBPT recommends they reach out to their school and be forthright about their score. School administrators may be able help by gathering information about students who passed and are licensed through the FSBPT Educators area. In addition to other reports, this portal has free reports on students’ licensure status. (Not every state sends in licensure information, but for ones that do, it is provided.)

Find out how candidates overall performed from NPTE public pass rate reports, including exam year reports, graduation year reports and three-year ultimate pass rates.

FSBPT also recommends:

  • The student purchase a performance feedback report, which will provide more detailed information about where the student performed at or below standards.
  • Using the Practice Exam & Assessment Tool (PEAT) is associated with improved scores after the first attempt. PEAT can help diagnose areas where knowledge is weak and provide direction for content to study. Faculty can sit down with the student to review practice tests in study mode to see which items the student is getting incorrect and investigate the reasons why. If knowledge deficits are apparent, then further study is likely warranted.
  • If the student is misinterpreting questions, using test-taking strategies and mentorship in clinical reasoning may be useful.
  • If test anxiety seems to influence the student’s performance, then referral to counseling or a student resource center should be considered.

Check out the Center for Excellence in Academic Physical Therapy


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