The APP (Assessment of Physiotherapy Practice) is a valid instrument designed for use by clinical educators and students to assess workplace based performance of pre-registration physiotherapy students. The APP was developed and collaboratively tested within the constraints of dynamic and unpredictable clinical environments. More than 2000 clinical educators and students across Australia and New Zealand were involved in the development and testing of the APP through three field tests conducted across a four year period.
The APP is a 20-item instrument covering seven domains (professional behaviour, communication, assessment, analysis and planning, intervention, evidence-based practice, and risk management). Non-exhaustive performance indicators accompany each item to guide student learning and provide educators with examples of unambiguous descriptions of observable behaviours that indicate professional practice competence. The domains and their items have been mapped to the current Australian Standards for Physiotherapy Practice aligning assessment with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for registration as a physiotherapist.
Initial development, implementation and evaluation of the APP was funded by a grant from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (now known as the Office of Learning and Teaching).
Following the successful development and uptake of the APP instrument, funding was provided by Health Workforce Australia in 2011 for “The National Web Based Assessment of Competency to Practice in Physiotherapy Project”. The primary aim of this project was to enhance the current features of the APP by converting the paper-based version into an online tool enabling clinical educators and students to complete the assessment through a web interface. Conversion to a web-based application will also enable nationwide benchmarking against de-identified scores.