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FSBPT Suspends NPTE Examination for All Graduates of Certain Overseas Programs in Response to Pervasive Security Breaches

Security Breach July 2010

In response to pervasive, ongoing security breaches by significant numbers of graduates of physical therapy schools from certain foreign countries, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT or Federation) will suspend National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) testing for all graduates of schools located in those countries, pending the development of a separate, secure exam for those graduates (to be called the NPTE-YRLY). The affected individuals will include all graduates of physical therapy schools in Egypt, India, Pakistan and the Philippines.

As a result, new registrations for both the PT and PTA versions of the NPTE have been suspended as of 11:59 PM, Sunday, July 11, 2010, for all graduates of physical therapy programs located in Egypt, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. Testing will resume once development of the NPTE-YRLY has been completed. The Federation expects to launch the NPTE-YRLY in or about the fall of 2011. Currently, the Federation intends to offer the NPTE-YRLY once per year, at select test sites to be identified at a later date.

The Federation will contact graduates from the affected physical therapy schools who have already registered for the NPTE to provide written instructions regarding when and under what conditions they will be able to take the NPTE. Jurisdiction physical therapy licensing authorities will be informed of the status of candidates from affected programs who have applied to their jurisdiction for licensure in separate correspondence.

This necessary security measure is in response to compelling evidence gathered by the Federation reflecting systematic and methodical sharing and distribution of recalled questions by significant numbers of graduates of programs in the affected countries, as well as several exam preparation companies specifically targeted to these graduates. This evidence was obtained through extensive forensic analyses of exam performances, as well as a variety of legal actions brought by the Federation in the United States and abroad. Most notably, this includes the raid and seizure of evidence from the St. Louis Review Center in Manila, Philippines, and its alleged owners/operators, Gerard L. Martin, Roger P. Tong-An and Carlito Balita, which revealed the widespread sharing of hundreds of live test items. In response, the Federation is pursuing criminal copyright prosecution against St. Louis Review Center and its owners, has invalidated the scores of several individuals believed to have unfairly benefitted from advance access to test questions, and has removed the compromised items from the exam.

The Federation’s ongoing investigative efforts have revealed that the sale and sharing of recalled test questions extends beyond this single test preparation company, and that the sharing of test items has continued despite its past efforts to ensure the security of the exam. “The National Physical Therapy Examination is a key element in assisting jurisdiction licensing boards and the Federation in assuring the public that licensed physical therapists and physical therapist assistants are competent and safe practitioners. We view the security of the NPTE as the highest priority in our mission of public protection and, therefore, have used the best forensic and investigative techniques available to identify the problem and the perpetrators. Given the pervasive and continuing use of electronic technologies by graduates of these schools and some examination preparation companies - in spite of the harsh penalties imposed by the Federation - we believe that the NPTE-YRLY is the best solution to ensure the validity of all NPTE test results,” stated Federation President E. Dargan Ervin. “The Federation recognizes the significant consequences of this policy decision, but feels that it needs to be made clear to all candidates that the Federation will not tolerate security breaches. We will continue to use and add security measures to protect against possible future breaches and will not hesitate to add other groups to the list restricted to the NPTE-YRLY if we obtain sufficient evidence that members of additional groups may be obtaining an unfair advantage on the NPTE or otherwise jeopardizing the integrity of the exam.”

The mission of the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy is to protect the public by providing service and leadership that promote safe and competent physical therapy practice. The members of the Federation comprise the 50 state physical therapy licensing boards, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The Federation’s vision is that the organization will achieve a high level of public protection through a strong foundation of laws and regulatory standards in physical therapy, effective tools and systems to assess entry-level and continuing competence, and public and professional awareness of resources for public protection.

Candidates with questions may visit the Federation’s website at for updated information or email Individuals without Internet access may contact the Federation at 703.739.9420.

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