Purpose: Physical therapy education continues to strive for educational excellence in its approach to developing the next generation of physical therapists. In an everchanging healthcare environment, the approach to student preparation must maintain a constant state of evolution. A crucial factor to success is the development of a culture of assessment that is based on a sound theoretical framework and integrates multiple sources of data to provide educational leaders with an understanding of programmatic, faculty, and student performance. Strong assessment practices require leadership support, well-designed plans of action, sound assessment practices of population data, and implementation monitoring. Methods and/or Description of Project: The ACAPT Benchmarks (BenEx) Taskforce created a national assessment instrument known as the Physical Therapy Measure of Educational Program Quality (PT-MEPQ) designed to capture characteristics of program excellence. The instrument was created through an integration of the components of excellence in physical therapist education as defined by ACAPT member organizations and the Engagement Theory of Program Quality. Collective data resulted in 10 key attributes to measure program performance. Presenters will use this data to review outcomes at the programmatic, comparative school, or collectively at the level of the profession. They will share educational trends across all institutions including student debt, program cost, faculty trends and other key administrative metrics. This eight-year project featured consistent literature review, implementation, and program review with ongoing integration of research and stakeholder input. Guidelines for use of assessment data that were developed and future considerations will be discussed. Examples of its use across multiple program sites will be shared in this session and actions described to illustrate how combined data can be used to foster collective improvement in a sample of ACAPT educational programs. Additional considerations include the impact group data can have on informing educational leadership decisions regarding future curricular directions for physical therapy educational excellence. Results/Outcomes: The annual PT-MEPQ assessment tool was applied nationally for four straight years resulting in a 67.5% program participation rate and a 104% increase in student participation and a 14% increase in faculty participation. Multi-year data outcomes provided insight into educational trends for students and faculty. Growth in participation illustrates a need for continued support of a national level assessment program. Review of the literature regarding assessment best practices starts with an emphasis on adopting a strong theoretical framework and creating a sustained culture of assessment amongst individual programs and a collective stakeholder group of educators. This project began to develop this concept and the case studies presented illustrated how data drove action and led to positive changes. The value of a national annual program assessment approach from multiple sources enables educators to make informed decisions about future directions. Essential to this process is the availability of large sets of data from a broad range of stakeholders to enable decision makers to compare individual and national data. This sets the stage for driving development opportunities of our educational practices toward excellence. Key variables for creating and fostering assessment include leadership support, large data sets, analytics, implementation and sustainability of assessment practices. Critical to the success is to identify champions of assessment at the local and national level to translate the value of programmatic and population data assessment into future actions for positive change. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Educational advancement and sustained excellence can only be achieved through collaboration, collective data sharing, and commitment to wide-spread assessment practices. Creating a national comprehensive programmatic assessment instrument is difficult and will likely never meet the expectations of all stakeholders. Instead, we may find that multiple instruments will yield richer and more varied quality assessments as modeled by AAMC or AACP. The outcomes from this project represent the first step towards a national assessment instrument. Programs will benefit from adopting educational research for assessment at a national level to support future sustainability and growth of educational practices. By adopting this perspective, the profession will create a culture that welcomes assessment. Growth and innovation can only come from shared experiences that are supported by measurable meaningful outcomes. The BenEx Taskforce envisions the development of a Research Center designed to support ACAPT initiatives, provide assistance with data collection and interpretation to guide ongoing growth and development of our educational enterprises.