Rows of seats in a Lecture Hall


Faculty Newsletter: First Quarter 2020

In this issue:

April NPTE for PTAs Cancelled

Test Site Closures

Prometric has closed all of their North American test sites effective March 17, 2020, for a period of thirty days. All testing will be suspended through April 16, 2020. FSBPT will notify candidates when we have additional information on the procedures for rescheduling examinations.

Prometric is closely monitoring the situation and has set up a webpage to provide updates. Please visit this page to see the actions that Prometric is taking.  

FSBPT Exam Withdrawal/Re-registration Policy

FSBPT is waiving all refund and re-registration fees associated with the April PT and PTA examinations. The April PTA exam has been cancelled, and FSBPT understands that there are people who will not want to or be able to take the April PT exam based on their individual circumstances. Therefore, if any students want to cancel their April registration and receive a refund or re-register for a future date, they may do so at no cost.  

All withdrawal requests must be made from the customer dashboard no later than the candidate's exam date. 

FSBPT Statement on Meetings in March and April

FSBPT has cancelled all in-person meetings that were scheduled to take place in March and April and is taking steps to move some of the meetings online. There will be separate correspondence from staff liaisons with information on whether each meeting will be moved to an online format, postponed, or cancelled. Our meeting planner will take care of cancelling booked travel and hotel reservations. Any registration fees that were paid for workshops will be refunded.

We appreciate the tremendous dedication we have seen from our volunteers and members and thank you for your patience as the situation has evolved.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates.

Registration Now Open for the 2020 NPTE Workshop for Educators

The 2020 NPTE Workshop for Educators is scheduled for Friday through Sunday, November 6-8, in Alexandria, Virginia, at the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Attendees should expect to receive valuable insights on how the NPTE is developed and how to prepare students for the NPTE, as well as hands-on assistance in writing test items similar to those on the NPTE.

Please check the NPTE Workshop for Educators webpage for more information and registration resources.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates.

New Academic PEAT Forms

New Academic PEAT forms for the PT and PTA exam levels are available for purchase as of February 5, 2020.

As with the 2018 forms, the 2020 forms consist of one complete NPTE form that has been retired and one form consisting of items previously used on the NPTE but not on the same form. Both PEAT forms give a score scaled to the NPTE scoring scale. More information on Academic PEAT is available on our website.

Any purchases made before February 5, 2020, were the 2018 forms and testing sessions for purchases of those forms should be unaffected. We cannot update existing Academic PEAT purchases to the 2020 forms.

Joining Your Jurisdiction’s Regulatory Board

FSBPT’s mission is to protect the public by providing service and leadership that promote safe and competent physical therapy practice. As part of its mission, FSBPT is committed to supporting our member boards’ efforts to develop laws and regulatory standards for the practice of physical therapy. 

We asked a few of our FSBPT members who are also faculty members to share why it’s important to serve on a board and how PTs and PTAs can get involved. 

Why do you think it’s important to serve your jurisdiction in this capacity?

“Through service on the jurisdiction boards, one can provide their time and talents by ensuring that licensees are meeting the minimum standards in the interest of consumer protection. Our work is essential with tasks such as recommending the issuance of licenses, screening complaints or making recommendations on disciplinary action, and setting the minimum standards of proficiency and competency.”
– Betsy Becker, Vice Chair, Nebraska Board of Physical Therapy

“I think all PTs and PTAs should be more involved in state legislation and activities that involve how we practice. We need to have a voice in how the practice of physical therapy is managed within the state and to be aware of what it means to be a safe, ethical, and competent clinician. …As members of a board we can lend our knowledge and understanding of how physical therapy is practiced to those who craft the wording of the practice acts and rules. As well as help with identifying correct language and terminology in the practice act and rules, I have also had the opportunity to work on some basic procedures related to remediation for those who have not been successful on the NPTE. The other important aspect of serving on the board is to ensure that licensees practice in line with the practice act. To review cases, where complaints have been brought, to recommend disciplinary action where needed, and basically to ensure patient safety.”
– Frances Wedge, Member, Illinois Physical Therapy Licensing and Disciplinary Board 

“This regulatory board system for health professions in the United States is based on the premise that the general public may lack the appropriate information and know-how to determine which healthcare providers have the necessary credentials and professional behavior to provide capable and responsible service…. Involvement in a regulatory board of a state is a great opportunity to serve your profession and the public in which the profession serves.”
– Manuel (Tony) A. Domenech, Member, Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners

What advice do you have for PTs, PTAs, or potential public members who are interested in serving on their state boards?

“Be active in your state APTA chapter and network to get known as someone who is interested and would be a good candidate for board membership. Stay up to date with current regulatory issues in the state that may impact patient care as well as the physical therapy profession in access and delivery of services.”
– Rebecca Duff, Member, Virginia Board of Physical Therapy

“The state boards play a vital role in promoting the health, safety, and welfare of the state’s citizens. The board welcomes different perspectives, experience, education, and understanding PTs and PTAs…. If someone is considering service on a Board, contact a current board member or attend an upcoming meeting to discover for yourself, the contribution you could make to the profession.”
– Betsy Becker, Vice Chair, Nebraska Board of Physical Therapy

“If you’re interested in serving in this capacity, I suggest getting involved with your state professional organization in the area of governance and advocacy for the profession. Also, the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners meetings are open to the public. Therefore, attending these meetings will begin to help an individual to understand the boards role more intimately. The board position in Texas requires completing a governor’s application since the position is appointed by the governor. Hence, your professional development, professional journey, and accomplishments are considered strongly to assist the governor in making his/her decision.”
– Manuel (Tony) A. Domenech, Member, Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners


This Quarter’s Question: How are Areas with Mixed Scientific Evidence or Changing Guidelines Handled on the NPTE?

In the NPTE development process, subject matter experts (SMEs) are used on an ongoing basis in the development of new test questions and examination forms, as well as review of existing test questions. These individuals are all vetted and licensed physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who are actively engaged in the profession and maintain licenses in good standing. SMEs are essential in providing content validity to the NPTE. They, along with the FSBPT assessment content staff, closely track changes in contemporary practice and evolving evidence-based physical therapy related to safe and effective patient care. 

When areas with mixed scientific evidence arise or when guidelines change, FSBPT reviews test questions dealing with the topic at large and, when necessary, FSBPT makes updates. One such example was when the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology revised their blood pressure clinical practice guidelines in 2017. At that time, FSBPT identified all NPTE test questions in the item bank related to this topic and reviewed each item to determine what, if any, updates were required for each individual test question. We also reviewed all NPTE test questions to be administered in the near future to determine if any key changes would be necessary based on the new guidelines. In addition to all the work that took place internally, FSBPT also released an article in the Q4 2017 Faculty Newsletter that detailed this update and the measures FSBPT took to keep the NPTE current and educators informed.

What Students Need to Know: Should I Guess “C” if I don’t Know the Answer to an NPTE Question

A lot of test prep providers advise test-takers that if they don’t know the correct answer on an exam, to select “C” or the third option choice (NPTE options are numbered rather than lettered). In the early days of standardized testing, this might have been good advice. Item writers do tend to want to “bury” the correct answer between incorrect options. In order to avoid biased placement of correct answers at option 3, FSBPT randomizes the order of keyed responses internally. Prior to finalizing an examination form, a process called “key balancing” is completed to ensure any one response option isn’t much more common than any other on the NPTE and the number of correct answers for each response option is kept relatively equal across the four options. As always, NPTE candidates are encouraged to focus on their application of knowledge and skills related to physical therapy and not overly rely on generic test-taking strategies.

Get Involved:Learn, Grow, Write––Be an NPTE Item Writer!

Item writing for the NPTE is a great way to gain expertise in crafting multiple-choice questions, sharing your knowledge of the profession, working with and learning from colleagues, and having fun! All item writers will be trained in the art of developing test questions, and meals are provided onsite during workshop hours. Workshops are held at locations where there is ample workspace as well as access to a library of resources.
FSBPT holds Basic Item Writing Workshops at the FSBPT office in Alexandria, Virginia. Participants produce ten items during the workshop followed by an additional thirty items in the months following the workshop. The dates for the 2020 Basic Item Writing Workshops are below:

May 15–17, 2020
August 14–16, 2020

FSBPT also offers Regional Item Writing Workshops in various locations across the country. Participants in the Regional Item Writing Workshops produce twenty items during their two-month term. Because of budgeting considerations, regional workshops are intended for local participants; applicants residing more than fifty miles from the workshop location will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Locations and dates for Regional Item Writing Workshops in 2020 are below:

Tacoma, Washington: Postponed, Date TBD
Berrien Springs, Michigan: May 31–June 1, 2020
Los Angeles, California: June 27–28, 2020
Austin, Texas: August 1–2, 2020

If you or someone you know would like to be a participant in a Basic or Regional Item Writing Workshop, apply online or send an inquiry to volunteer@fsbpt.org.

Useful Pages

Visit the FSBPT website for information on a range of topics.

Back to Top


If you have questions, challenges or ideas, we want to hear from you!
FSBPT (703) 299-3100 | FCCPT (703) 684-8406
(Call FSBPT unless otherwise noted after name)

Contact Person



William A. Hatherill

Chief Executive Officer

FSBPT Issues

Susan Layton
Rich Woolf

Chief Operating Officer
Vice President

General questions and feedback; research questions

Lorin Mueller, PhD

Managing Director of Assessment

Psychometrics, test development and construction

Christine Sousa

Managing Director of Exam Services

Exam administration issues, ADA

Jamie Nolan, FCCPT

Assistant Director of the Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT)

Foreign educated graduates

Rhonda Collins

Administrative Assistant

School reports: schoolreports@fsbpt.org

Practice Exam and Assessment Tool (PEAT): peat@fsbpt.org

Back to Top