Predictors of Passing the Npte: Are There Differences between Hybrid & Traditional Programs?


Predictors of success on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) have been well documented in traditional doctor of physical therapy (DPT) programs. Both pre-admissions variables (i.e. undergraduate GPA, GRE scores) and DPT program performance variables (i.e. 1st and 3rd year GPA) have been found to be predictive of NPTE scores. With the development of novel hybrid DPT programs, especially accelerated models, we must question whether the type of student succeeding in such programs is different from those who succeed in traditional DPT programs. The purposes of this study were to: 1) identify predictors of success on the NPTE in a hybrid program; and 2) compare findings with previously established predictors of success on the NPTE for traditional DPT programs.


Data was assessed from 77 students who took the NPTE and who graduated from an accelerated 2-year hybrid DPT program. Student data was assessed prior to admission (eg. overall GPA, prerequisite GPA, GRE scores, emotional intelligence, grit, etc.), throughout program (eg. term GPA, history of academic probation, etc.), as well as NPTE-prep specific exam scores (eg. FSBPT PEAT exam, Online Advantage sample exams, etc.). Bivariate associations between each predictor variable and NPTE score were assessed using pearson-r correlation coefficients. A multivariate predictive model was created to determine the most parsimonious set of predictor variables using stepwise multiple linear regression. Results from the current study were then compared to previously published research that assessed predictors of success on the NPTE across traditional DPT programs.


Previous research suggests the following variables often predict success on the NPTE: 1) verbal GRE scores; 2) quantitative GRE scores; 3 ) overall undergraduate GPA; 4) prerequisite GPA; 5) early academic probation in a DPT program; 6) graduate DPT academic performance across terms. Predictors of success in the hybrid program were broken into 3 different categories: 1) pre-admission data; 2) data assessing academic performance throughout the program; and 3) performance on specific NPTE-prep sample exams. The results are pending complete analysis after both the January and April 2020 NPTE. Data will be analyzed and available at the time of the presentation.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme:

Following completion of the April 2020 NPTE exam and subsequent data analysis, results will be used to identify pre-admission, program specific, and NPTE-specific variables that predict success on the NPTE. This information will be used to better identify individuals at risk of failing the NPTE in order to better develop early intervention strategies. Furthermore, results will be used to inform admission criteria into a hybrid DPT program.

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  • Control #: 26540
  • Type: Poster Presentation - Research Type
  • Event/Year: ELC2020
  • Authors: Casey Unverzagt
  • Keywords:

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