The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2011 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

PERSPECTIVES ON PASSING THE CERTIFYING EXAMINATION FOR RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS.

F. Herbert Douce; Respiratory Therapy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

BACKGROUND: The Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) examination has evolved in over 40 years to be used for assuring minimal competency, for licensing respiratory therapists, for accrediting respiratory therapy educational programs, and as an outcome measure to study educational programs. The purposes of this paper are to describe the trends from 1988 to 2010 of new candidate performance and passing scores on the examination. METHODS: I reviewed 33 school score reports of the CRT examination spanning 1988 to 2010 provided by the NBRC, recorded and plotted minimum scaled score, minimum raw score, new candidate scaled score, new candidate raw score, and new candidate pass rate. I computed the minimum percent raw passing scores and correlation coefficients between minimum raw scores, new candidate raw scores, new candidate scaled score, and new candidate pass rates. RESULTS: From 1988 to 2010 new candidate raw scores declined by approximately 15%. The minimum raw passing score has declined to 86 (61% correct). Scaling the scores by a magnitude up to 14 points has preserved new candidate pass rates in the 70% - 80% range. The Pearson correlation coefficient between minimum passing raw scores and new candidate raw scores was 0.862 (p < 0.01), between minimum passing raw scores and new candidate scaled scores was -0.43 (p < 0.05), between minimum passing raw scores and new candidate pass rate was -0.654 (p < 0.01). CONCLUSION: The decline in new candidate raw scores has been masked by scaling and may indicate problems in the respiratory therapy educational system that have been unnoticed. The declining minimum raw passing score may indicate a lower standard of competency assurance for licensing. Articles and reports using CRT examination results should clearly indicate whether raw or scaled scores are being studied. Similar analyses should be performed for the written registry (WRE) and clinical simulation (CSE) examinations.
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