Many programs require students to meet a level of comprehensive mastery prior to graduation to measure the studentsÕ readiness for entry level practice and assist the students with preparation for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) implemented a new requirement of accredited programs to report the first time pass rate which encouraged programs to examine ways to improve first time success for students starting in 2020.1 Physical therapy programs across the country use a variety of methods to provide students with opportunities for success including in-house designed review courses, Scorebuilders exam, and the PEAT exam prior to graduation to demonstrate readiness for graduation, entry level practice, and the NPTE.2,3 The purpose of this non-randomized experimental study is to examine the effectiveness of a six week comprehensive review pilot program on retake examination performance in lower performing physical therapy students.
A cohort of 64 students preparing to graduate from an accredited physical therapy program in Amherst, NY were required to take the Academic Version of the Scorebuilders examination. A minimum score of 67% was considered passing on this assessment to demonstrate entry level completion of content for graduation. This score was determined based on mean pass rates of the Scorebuilders Academic Assessment. Twenty-three students did not meet the 67% minimum and required a retake of the Scorebuilders exam nine weeks later. Students who spent at least one semester on academic probation or had a first semester professional phase grade point average below 3.1 were invited to participate in the remediation program. The students were placed into two groups. Group one prepared for the retake independently and group two participated in a voluntary six week review class. The review class included weekly study guides, quizzes, and education regarding active learning strategies.4,5,6 Students offered enrollment in the review program were the lowest performers on the initial exam and had spent at least one semester on academic probation while in the professional phase of the program. Twelve students completed a six week review program to prepare for the retake. All twenty-three students completed a second attempt on the Scorebuilders examination.
A statistically significant difference was found on first attempt test scores between groups (Average Scorebuilders Exam Score - Review group: 58.2%; Independent group: 62.5%; p=0.036). After completion of the intervention, there was no difference between groups on the second Scorebuilders attempt (Average Scorebuilders Exam Score - Review group: 64.8%; Independent group: 68.0%; p=0.139).
Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme:
Lower performing professional phase students benefited from participation in a weekly remediation course in preparation for the Scorebuilders comprehensive examination. Participation in the course improved their performance on the retake exam, making their scores comparable to those who did not receive remediation. Based on this pilot program, low performing students may benefit from remediation coursework that includes a schedule of weekly content and practice licensure exam questions to improve their resilience, mastery of their professional phase coursework, and better prepare for first time success on the NTPE.4