The Common Placement Assessment Form (CPAF) is a standardised assessment form that can be used to assess all physiotherapy students out on placement in all practice settings no matter which university they attend.
It has been developed collaboratively between the CSP and university, practice education and student representatives across the UK due to the many positive impacts that it aims to bring to the physiotherapy profession.
CPAF aims to transform practice based learning by:
- Being applicable in a wide range of practice settings
- Making it easier to take students from more than one university
- Standardising placement assessment for students
- Empowering students to take ownership of their learning
- Actively promoting equity, diversity and belonging in placement settings
The learning domains within CPAF focus on the knowledge, skills and behaviours that are fundamental to physiotherapy practice irrespective of the setting. They aim to be as applicable in a placement delivered remotely, for example, as they would be in a leadership or in-person placement, enabling placements to happen anywhere where a physiotherapist practices and reflecting the diversity in placements that the profession is striving for.
Having one consistent approach to assessment means there’s just one form for practice educators to become used to. With over 50 universities in the UK having physiotherapy programmes, and more coming on board to meet workforce demand, CPAF aims to make it easier to take students on placement from different universities.
Regardless of which university a student attends or whether their placement is assessed as ‘pass/fail’ or ‘graded’, CPAF offers cohesion in the assessment process with one marking matrix encompassing both approaches.
Physiotherapists grow, learn and develop throughout their careers, but these skills do not come easily. They require reflection, questioning and, importantly, ownership of learning. CPAF aims to develop this through its student-led learning agreement, encouragement of reflective practice and practical guidance document.
Research and students' lived experience tells us that some students experience unacceptable discrimination while on placement. The CPAF promotes anti-discriminatory practice and supports equality, diversity and belonging in the profession both by encouraging dialogue between student and educator and targeting a learning domain about the topic.
The following resources have been developed to support the use of CPAF out in practice – both for students and the practice education team.
Student Guidance Document
This guidance document is designed to support students' understanding of the Common Placement Assessment Form in practice. It has been brilliantly written by students on placement at the CSP and features top tips, clear explanations and examples in different placement settings to really bring CPAF to life – showing students how to effectively demonstrate the skills, knowledge and behaviours to get the best possible experience from their time in practice.
Practice Team Guidance
This guidance document is designed to support the practice education team in completing the Common Placement Assessment Form. It is written to both detail the processes required to assess learners on placement but also, and very importantly, to support their role in facilitating each individual student's journey of learning and development. It features FAQ's, clear examples and guidance of the learning domains across different practice settings.
CPAF is available for you to download for use. The form is provided as an editable PDF so you can complete it without needing to print it.
There are three versions of the CPAF which correspond to the different academic levels at university. As a student progresses through a programme, they will be required to achieve specific academic levels and demonstrate different skills and behaviours that are reflected in the learning domain assessment criteria. Please discuss with the student's university the correct level of form to use.
Watch – Webinars and Videos
- An overview of CPAF from a practice team perspective by Tamsin Baird and Gill Rawlinson - covering why it has been developed, what it means to practice, where to find CPAF and its supporting resources, what it looks like and how to use it
- Watch the webinar