PPTA Advisory on FSBPT's Decision ... Jun 19, 2007 10:45:11 GMT 7
Post by von on Jun 19, 2007 10:45:11 GMT 7
PPTA Advisory 02 - 2007:
PPTA and the FSBPT's Decision to Withhold NPTE Results of Filipino Examinees
The Board of Officers (BOO) of the Philippine Physical Therapy Association (PPTA) would like to acknowledge its members' reactions and concern regarding recent developments to the US Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) investigation on trafficking of "live" examination questions of the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), a case incriminating one Philippine review center and some Filipino NPTE applicants.
Timeline of Events
Last October 2006, the FSBPT closed NPTE testing centers outside the US mainland. This affected Filipino applicants, most of whom choose to sit for the exam in Guam. While new applicants were advised to choose a test center in the US mainland, those who set appointments prior to the directive were allowed to take exams in Guam as scheduled. These testing centers continued to operate only until all scheduled examinations were administered.
Still, this raised a clamor among Filipino therapists who intended to take the exam to appeal for continuing operation of test centers outside the US mainland. Cognizant of the fact that closing these centers was an institutional prerogative of the FSBPT, the PPTA still initiated communication with them in November 2006 to inquire into the rationale for such a decision. Eventually, FSBPT responded that it was a move to protect exam security. FSBPT did not respond to a subsequent query as to how its decision may affect visa application of Filipino applicants. These exchanges were communicated to members through this e-group (PPTA Advisory 01-2007: US NPTE Concerns, February 2007).
The raid on the Philippine review center allegedly using "live" examination questions in its NPTE review classes occurred in January 2007. PPTA monitored the events following this incident. Staff of the center involved eventually asked for a meeting with the PPTA BOO in March 2006, with the intent of clarifying details of the incident and updating the PPTA on developments. The PPTA then continued to follow up the situation privately and communicate with the center as needed, respecting the fact that an investigation was being conducted by the proper government authorities. During this time, the PPTA was not consulted by investigators regarding the case.
The decision to withhold the exam results starting 16 May 2007 came to the BOO's attention via e-mail from affected members and concerned individuals. There was feedback from PPTA contacts that while some applicants received the letter, others did not. This disparity was later verified. PPTA also noted that a public advisory was not put out by FSBPT in their website.
While the PPTA was gathering facts and verifying information to issue an advisory, a national news bureau contacted it for comment on the case. PPTA assisted by directing them to proper authorities and forwarding what it knows of the history, adding that the PPTA was in the process of sending FSBPT communication. This report was aired in a news program on 14 June 2007.
FSBPT eventually started to release NPTE results to Filipino examinees last 15 June 2007.
The PPTA's Stand on the Conduct of Investigation
The allegation of cheating in the NPTE is an issue that affects the US physical therapy practice, but involves Filipino citizens in our country. The course of action of the FSBPT appears to be based on sound juridical and authoritative bases, and their conduct also suggests that it is upon the well advise of legal authorities. The initiative of the FSBPT to conduct an investigation, and their eventually seeking assistance from Philippine government authorities, reflects their view of the situation: that it is a concern of their institution having roots in Philippine territory, and therefore within the jurisdiction of our local law enforcement agencies (i.e., NBI).
The only lamentable aspect was the lack of accurate and public information (specifically, when the issue is expected to be resolved, that only some applicants are affected, etc.). This furthered speculation, resulting in highly emotional responses and allegations of discrimination. In hindsight, it may be agreed that limiting the information available to the public is necessary for a successful investigation.
Let us all recognize that the FSBPT has not arrived at any of its decisions lightly. That it chose to still accommodate ALL Filipino applicants, implicated or not, despite the ongoing investigation, communicates that FSBPT honors individual rights. The amount of information and its disclosure through individual letters was only what could be reasonably allowed without compromising their investigation. Noteworthy also is its provision of decision alternatives to those affected who have already scheduled their examinations. These are all efforts to observe due process and not alienate Filipino sentiment.
PPTA asks of its members and affected colleagues to trust that FSBPT is doing everything within legal and ethical means to resolve the issue, and to not degrade, inconvenience, or discriminate against applicants.
The PPTA's Role in the Issue
The many issues regarding the administration of the NPTE are beyond the PPTA scope of authority and influence, but the PPTA is sensitive to its developments because of its members. In the situation at hand, the PPTA's only possible roles are:
1) advise and assist local agencies involved in the investigation, if our opinion is sought, and
2) work as a conduit of information between the FSBPT and its affected members.
While its vision is the development of the Filipino physical therapist in the service of the Filipino people, the PPTA also keeps watch over the members' welfare and concerns. Only a number of our members are directly affected by the investigation, but PPTA sees to it that their rights as professionals, Filipino citizens, and individuals, are upheld. The same attention is extended to colleagues who do not enjoy the benefit of PPTA affiliation but are also affected. This is because PPTA recognizes that we are all colleagues.
The PPTA has purposively kept a low profile on its active monitoring of the developments of the case. Aside from recognizing its limitations as a local professional organization, it also respects the need for cooperation in investigations. PPTA recognizes that by reacting publicly to any posting or media coverage regarding the case, its response may be misconstrued as interference by authorities, and/or further the emotional response of the public. Both are possible consequences that would surely hamper resolution of the case, something no one would hope to effect.
The Role of PPTA Members in the Issue
The PPTA would like to request its affected members, and other stakeholders, to exercise thoughtful action on implications of this issue, and any issue that has highly personal elements. Our professional bearing and values must be reflected in the manner of response we choose for any situation. Let us keep in mind that taking the FSBPT is an individual decision with self-limited consequences. We, therefore, must be ready to follow the proper and moral steps to effect success, and take on the offshoots of our choices, before we decide that there is an occasion for collective action.
The PPTA also commends our colleagues who have demonstrated support to affected members, forwarded to and verified information for the Association, and who have encouraged a positive, mature response to the issue. It is the hope of PPTA that such cooperation, understanding, and professionalism be the undertone of our Association's exchanges in the future.
Rest assured that the Association has at heart the concerns of all its members. The PPTA values authority, responsibility, transparency, honesty, and justice. Its responses until the resolution of this issue will adhere to these professional values.