March 1, 2018

30% Can’t Pass The Test. What’s Going On?

According to the ABMP, 30% of the test takers who attempt the MBLEx fail.
I have to ask, Why?
Is it duration of the program? Many massage schools have moved to a 6 month program. Is 6 months long enough to produce a competent massage therapist? I’m just sayin’, that wouldn’t have been long enough for me. In fact, at the Teacher’s Summit, Whitney Lowe shared that less competent massage therapists are showing up consistently in his continuing education courses. Completing 500 hours in 6 months is a full time commitment. So, maybe students need to spend more time in school? 
Are teachers given a curriculum or are they winging it? Look, I get it. I’ve taught at massage school. I was given a book; I was given a timeline and I knew my objective. We got it done, but it wasn’t because I followed the E.L.A.P. recommendations. (Entry Level Analysis Project for the massage profession) Truth is, there is no standardized curriculum at massage school and too often new teachers are abandoned by overwhelmed administrators. The instructors depend on their own enthusiasm, experience and resources to transfer the knowledge and training. So no official curriculum and no teacher training…is that reason students can’t pass the test?

Wait a minute-let’s ask, how do massage schools recruit new students? In the past, becoming a massage therapist was a calling. Something deep inside us longed to help others. Fast forward. Welcome to the internet. Today, a person who has never gotten a massage, never mind even considered being a massage therapist, may simply fill out an online form. Next thing they know, they get a call with an invitation to a school tour. SHAZAM! One week later, they are enrolled in massage school. That’s scary! Is that why 30% of massage school graduates are failing the MBLEx? I don’t know, but it may be one of the reasons why we are losing our ‘sacred space’.

Okay, is the test fair? After sharing with you guys that I just passed the MBLEx (whew!) a colleague emailed me a question, “Don’t you think there is something inherently wrong with an entry level exam that those of us with decades of experience in the industry can’t ace?” Uh, she makes a good point. The test is difficult. But the test needs to be difficult. Public safety is at risk. The question remains, is the MBLEx too difficult? Well 30% of the time, yes it is.

What would be your solution? Duration of the program, standardized E.L.A.P. curriculum, teacher training and authentic recruiting all play a part in improving the competency of our massage school graduates. But hey, let’s focus on the positive: 70% of the time graduates DO PASS the MBLEx! And that’s a good thing. If you have a friend who needs some help with the MBLEx, send me them my way via FB message. I’ll get them on track to nail it.
Namaste to this community…love and respect you.

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