Item Writing Experience
NREMT “look-alike” items vs the real thing
- Expertly developed and professionally calibrated test questions
- Test questions that cover the entire EMT domain of knowledge to adequately prepare students for the NREMT exam
- Test questions over a large sample of the AEMT domain and two simulation exams with meaningful results
- Test questions that range from easy, to moderate, to difficult so students are actually prepared for the NREMT exam instead of falsely building confidence
- Unique self-assessment briefing tool so students can learn from their mistakes
- Unique audio debriefings that explain the knowledge point plus ties it to EMT practice demonstrating how each knowledge point relates to patient care.
The foundation of Pass and AEMT PASS test questions
When Bill was in graduate school he completed a semester course entitled “Construction and Analysis of Achievement Tests.” The course started him on a long career of item construction via education in proper item writing characteristics.
As the Paramedic Program Director at Youngstown State, Bill taught Paramedics in addition to many other courses in Allied Health.
He was responsible for all test development during his seven years of teaching at the university level. Bill understood and experienced the difficulty of writing “teacher-made tests.”
He was to award grades based upon test outcomes, and in order to accomplish this task he had to spread the scores among students. This required a combination of difficult, moderate, and simple test questions (items). Feedback from his Paramedic students was, “We really had to study hard because Mr. Brown’s tests were so difficult.” Bill’s goal in writing these types of tests was to develop excellence in pre-hospital care via excellence in the knowledge base to support outstanding clinical judgment. He knew the correlation between studying and learning presented positive outcomes. He also learned that with small classes he could not construct valid and reliable tests. Assigning grades to students was for him (and all other teachers) a struggle.
Work at the NREMT
When Mr. Brown became the Advanced Level Certification Coordinator at the NREMT his “art of item writing” became refined. Test item construction is not a “science,” but rather an art. Few clinicians possess this art. The NREMT offered a large sample size, item editing process, and test validation process that honed his item writing skills.
Bill’s item writing skills increased through his attendance at over 100 item writing meetings, in which each item writer is assigned 25 items to draft that are then reviewed by other EMS experts. Through this process, and reviewing students performed on the items written for the NREMT exams, Bill was able to further improve his item drafting skills.
Bill initially became employed by the NREMT because of his knowledge of item writing, test analysis, and years of practice in item writing.
At the time of Bill’s retirement from the NREMT, its item banks included over 6,000 items. Bill did not have access to “actual” validated NREMT items stored in the NREMT system, however, and this is critical for the public to understand. Therefore, not one item in any of his products is an “NREMT item.” They are impossible to copy, and doing so would be unethical as well as illegal.
When writing the items in EMT PASS and AEMT PASS, Bill created new items that have similar characteristics that he learned while in graduate school, as a teacher, and as an item-writing expert.
Readers are encouraged to read more about NREMT test development found on the NREMT website.