A Case Study of the Characteristics for Successful First Time Passing of
the National Physical Therapy Exam in
The University of New Mexico Doctor of Physical Therapy 2012-2017 Cohorts
Beth Moody Jones
B.S., Physical Therapy, University of Vermont, 1982
M.S., Orthopedic Physcial Therapy,Old Dominion University, 1994
D.P.T., A.T.Still University of Health Sciences, 2004
Ed.D., University of New Mexico, 2018
Not passing the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) has significant consequences. If a student does not pass the NPTE on the first attempt they can retake the examination, however a student may only take the examination a maximum of three times in any 12-month period and, effective as of January 2016, there is a 6-time lifetime limit on NPTE attempts. Individual state boards have ultimate regulatory oversight on retakes and/or remediation. In the state of New Mexico, there is an in-depth remediation program.
The purpose of this study was to look at multiple variables that were presented as potential factors for success (admissions criteria, within program testing, hidden curriculum, personality traits such as grit and mindset, age and timeframe from undergraduate degree and race/ethnicity) to determine their impact on successful first time passing of the NPTE within the case boundaries of the University of New Mexico DPT 2012 -2017 cohorts.
This study was a programmatic evaluation intrinsic case study design bounded with one physical therapy program over a six-year span. This study underlined the important characteristics of admissions and the curriculum, as well as student characteristics, that may lead to successful first time passage of the NPTE. Through study of the quantitative measures that were accessible, such as admissions criteria and cumulative in-program comprehensive examinations (STEP exams and PEAT exam), as well as qualitative aspects of students who were both successful and not successful in their first attempt at the NPTE, the potential predictors of success that may frame admissions policies and within curriculum policies are discussed.
DPT, NPTE, UNM, physical therapy education, curriculum, benchmark exams
Level of Degree
Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Moody Jones, Beth-Anne. "A CASE STUDY OF THE CHARACTERISTICS FOR SUCCESSFUL FIRST TIME PASSING OF THE NATIONAL PHYSICAL THERAPY EXAM IN THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO DOCTOR OF PHYSICAL THERAPY 2012-2017 COHORTS." (2018). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/educ_teelp_etds/256