The Physical Therapist Evaluation Tool is consistent with the professional task domain of the professional (entry-level) physical therapist as defined by A Normative Model of Physical Therapist Professional Education: Version 2000. This domain of a practicing Doctor of Physical Therapy has been classified into twenty (20) content areas.
Content areas fall into three categories:
1) those that relate primarily to direct patient/client management (ie, foundational and clinical sciences, screening, examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, plan of care, and intervention),
2) those that relate primarily to indirect patient/client management (ie, professional development, administration/business management, consultation, and professional responsibility and advocacy), and
3) those that relate to both direct and indirect patient/client management (ie, communication, individual and cultural differences, professional behavior, critical inquiry and clinical decision making, education, outcomes assessment, prevention, health promotion, fitness, and wellness, and management of care delivery).
The PTET documents the activities, experiences, and education that have contributed to the physical therapist's professional development.
The PTET is organized in two sections: 1) a Task Performance component, and 2) a Professional Portfolio. Each of the tasks in the Task Analysis has been has been matched to corresponding item(s) found in the Portfolio. An applicant's score for each task of the 148 tasks listed is determined by assessing whether or not the applicant matched the acceptable norm reference group response range (DPT practitioners with 2-. Thus, possible responses range from a frequency that matches with the norm response to responses that are either less frequent or more frequent that the acceptable norm response. Once the tasks frequencies are scored against the norm, an overall percent match score can be calculated. Obviously, the score will vary based on the variance between the norm reference group and the applicant.
Academic programs may more effectively use the PTET by first customizing their Transition DPT curriculum content to match with the 148 items that are found in the Task Performance component. Once the content/courses are correlated with the Task Performance Items, then the applicant's report can be scored (%) against the specific curriculum for each course and task frequencies identified. For each course (cluster title), corresponding tasks will be identified in order to score the applicant based on the unique set of tasks that have been identified for each course. A percent matching number is reported for each course (computed by calculating the number of items in the tasks identified for each course that match the norm reference group divided by the total number of task items) that may range from 0-100%. There are no standards or "cut scores" that can be provided for the percent match scores for academic programs, as they will vary depending upon the learner's background and expertise. The scores, low or high, however, are intended to screen or "red-flag" items that may need further examination and substantiation in the portfolio.
Faculty can refer to the portfolio and find those tasks that match with each portfolio question to further investigate the strength or weakness of the Task Performance scored response. Ultimately, the program must determine whether or not the applicant is an acceptable candidate for the TDPT program, and whether or not specific courses should be included or waived in the applicant's individualized curriculum. The Task Performance does provide a quick screening mechanism that can identify potential areas or strength and weakness to focus in on the portfolio, not to the exclusion of reviewing the portfolio necessarily. In addition, it also allows for a mechanism to quickly identify potential questions that could be posed of the applicant in an interview to acquire information regarding gaps or inconsistency of responses. The PTET still requires that the academic program conduct a review of each applicant's portfolio and Task Performance to make the determination of individual acceptance into the program based on the varied backgrounds and expertise that the licensed PT brings to the program. The PTET allows for a mechanism to uniformly and consistently assess applicant's using the same process with not necessarily the same outcomes, meaning the same program requirements for each applicant to successfully complete the TDPT. Academic programs and institutions are still vested with the prerogative to determine whether or not courses may be waived, if a set of core courses will be required of all applicants no matter how they may perform on the PTET, and the minimum number of courses that must be completed in order to award the TDPT. The PTET assists in this process but is neither a replacement for the review process nor the criteria that must be set by a program regarding standards of acceptability.