Assess Student Performance

Preceptors assess student performance informally on a daily basis, and formally through the mid-and end-of-placement Canadian Physiotherapy Assessment of Clinical Practice (ACP) forms. Students also self-assess informally through conversations with their preceptor, and more formally through mandatory self-reflections. Combined, these assessments allow students to learn and develop skills iteratively through the duration of the placement and summatively across all clinical placements. 

Preceptors submit ACP forms online via HSPnet. Access to the forms is granted once per placement when a student is confirmed, usually on the first day of placement. Assessment categories and rating scales are described below.

We encourage you to contact us if you have concerns about student performance, or with questions about the use of the ACP tool: For additional resources on the use of ACP forms, see here.

ACP: Grading Resource

A scoring matrix, containing examples of student proficiencies in each category can be found here

ACP: Physical Therapy Roles

As students progress through the program, their proficiency in the following physiotherapist ‘roles’ are assessed by reviewing specific competencies in each category. 

The expert role includes three foci:

  • Assessment: Consult with the client and collating assessment data.
  • Analysis: Analyze assessment findings, establish a diagnosis and prognosis, and recommend an intervention.
  • Intervention: Implement intervention, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and completion of services.

Physiotherapists use effective communication to develop professional relationships with clients, families, care providers, and other stakeholders. 

Example Key Competency: Develops, builds and maintains rapport, trust, and ethical professional relationships through effective communication. 

Physiotherapists work collaboratively and effectively to promote the interprofessional practice and achieve optimal client care.

Example Key Competency: Collaborates with others to prevent, manage and resolve conflict.

Physiotherapists manage time, resources, and priorities at all levels for individual practice and to ensure sustainable physiotherapy practice overall.

Example Key Competency: Manages individual practice effectively.

Physiotherapists responsibly use their knowledge and expertise to promote the health and well-being of individual clients, communities, populations and the profession.

Example Key Competency: Works collaboratively to identify, respond to and promote the health needs and concerns of individual clients, populations, and communities.

Physiotherapists are committed to ongoing learning for the purpose of improving client outcomes through seeking, creating, applying, disseminating, and translating knowledge to physiotherapy practice.

Example Key Competency: Incorporates lifelong learning and experiences into best practice.

Physiotherapists are committed to the best interests of clients and society through ethical practice, support of profession-led regulation, and high personal standards of behaviour.

Example Key Competency: Respects the individuality and autonomy of the client.

ACP: Rating Scale

Mark the student according to the criteria, not according to how you think they ‘should’ be performing. 

*adapted and revised from the PT CPI |Web (Alexandria, VA: American Physical Therapy Association; 2006) by nonexclusive license from the American Physical Therapy Association.

  • Requires close supervision 90-100% of the time
  • Manages patients with simple conditions under constant supervision
  • Performance is inconsistent and clinical reasoning is performed at a very basic level
  • Unable to carry a caseload

  • Requires clinical supervision: 75-90% of the time managing patients with simple conditions; and, 100% of time managing patients with complex conditions 
  • Demonstrates consistency in developing proficiency with simple tasks (e.g., chart review, goniometry, muscle testing and simple interventions)
  • Initiates but is inconsistent with comprehensive assessments, interventions and clinical reasoning
  • Will begin to share a caseload with Clinical Instructor

  • Requires clinical supervision: less than 50% of the time managing patients with simple conditions; and, 75% of time managing patients with complex conditions 
  • Is proficient with simple tasks and is developing the ability to consistently perform comprehensive assessments, interventions, and clinical reasoning
  • Is capable of maintaining ~50% of a full-time physiotherapist's caseload

  • Requires clinical supervision: less than 25% of the time managing new patients or patients with complex conditions; and, is independent managing patients with simple conditions 
  • Is consistent and proficient with simple tasks and requires only occasional cueing for comprehensive assessments, interventions, and clinical reasoning
  • Is capable of maintaining ~75% of a full-time physiotherapist's caseload

  • Requires infrequent clinical supervision managing patients with simple conditions and minimal guidance/supervision for patients with complex conditions 
  • Consistently performs comprehensive assessments, interventions and clinical reasoning in simple and complex situations
  • Consults with others and resolves unfamiliar or ambiguous situations
  • Is capable of maintaining a minimum of 75% of a full-time physiotherapist's caseload in a cost-effective manner

  • Is capable of maintaining 100% full-time PT caseload without clinical supervision or guidance in managing patients with simple or complex conditions and is able to function in unfamiliar or ambiguous situations
  • Demonstrates at least one of: 
    • Consistently proficient at comprehensive assessments, interventions and clinical reasoning
    • Willingly assumes a leadership role in managing patients with more complex conditions or difficult situations
    • Capable of supervising others e.g., PTA
    • Is capable of serving as a consultant or resource for others
    • Actively contributes to the enhancement of the clinical facility or service with an expansive view of PT practice and the profession

ACP: Demographic Form

This mandatory portion of the ACP assessment is a data source for UBC Master of Physical Therapy accreditation requirements. Data includes the number of hours the student spent on placement, with the patient population by age group, and experience by cardio-respiratory (CR), neuromuscular (Neuro), and musculoskeletal (MSK) categories. Distribution of these hours by experience should reflect the student’s clinical reasoning. For example, an MSK appointment may still require that the student use their CR clinical reasoning. 

ACP: Significant Concerns

The bottom of each page of the ACP form offers a place where clinical educators can indicate if significant concerns about student performance exist. Check this box as appropriate, but please don’t wait for assessment periods to communicate with us about your concerns. As soon as concerns about a student’s performance arise, a clinical educator should contact the Department at


Rating a student at entry-level signifies that the student can carry a minimum of a 75% caseload in your service area or clinic. and requires guidance only in situations where there are multiple factors and complexities. The student is able to safely and effectively manage situations that are new and/or ambiguous. The student is also observed to safely and effectively demonstrate entry-level performance for all key competencies while carrying 75% (or greater) of a typical caseload. During the most senior level internships, students are expected to attain “Entry Level Performance” on the ACP in each of the seven (7) roles.

Some students perform very well, but only see 4 clients per day. The reason this student would not be scored at entry-level is that the clinical educator observed the student’s performance with a reduced caseload only. In using the ACP, clinical educators are required to rate actual observation of student performance without extrapolation or projection of anticipated performance in the context of higher demands. Clinical educators are able to use the comment boxes to expand on student strengths, including examples of behaviours that clinical educators have observed.

A “with distinction” rating is applied to a student who manages a full (100%) caseload and takes on additional responsibilities that enhance the service area or clinic. It is the highest rating on the scale and reflects student clinical performance beyond entry-level expectations in specific categories.

In addition to category-specific ratings, clinical educators are asked to make an overall assessment of student performance on a scale between ‘no credit’ to ‘credit with exceptional performance’. Exceptional performance describes any student who surpasses the clinical educator’s expectations of a student at their experience level. The student does not have to be rated “with distinction” on the rating scale in order to receive a summative overall recommendation of ‘credit with exceptional performance’.

An ability to provide safe care is principally captured under the Manager role, specifically in key competency 4.3 (participates in activities that contribute to safe and effective physiotherapy practice). Students should be able to: provide safe and effective care with respect to the physical environment, self and other team members; and participate in quality improvement and client safety initiatives. Specific safety elements of patient assessment and intervention can also be found in enabling competencies under the Expert role, specifically 1.2.3 and 1.6.2.

The Communication role in item 2.1 assesses how a student develops, builds, and maintains rapport, trust, and ethical professional relationships through effective communication. Alternatively, it can be captured under the Expert role in enabling competency 1.6.4 if the education the student is providing relates to health promotion or patient self-management.