July 27, 2006
The Texas Department of State Health Services (department) recently received calendar year 2005 statewide and national exam statistics, including pass rates, for Texas EMS Education programs from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Attached are various documents, including:
It's vitally important to read the Texas Program Report Methodology document before reviewing the other documents. This document describes what was and was not included in the report and explains each of the measures that are reported. The registration rate is a very important number and the cumulative pass and attrition rates can be deceptive if they are interpreted out of context. For example, a program with a high cumulative pass rate and a high attrition rate may not be doing well. A program with a high registration rate, high cumulative pass rate and low attrition rate may be doing well.
Please note: the number of students listed for a program may not match the exact number of students that actually took the NREMT exam in 2005. This discrepancy could mean that 14-16% of the candidates failed to write the program number on the exam sheet. NREMT knows the candidates that tested in Texas, but has no way to match them to a particular program. This issue will be resolved when computer-based testing begins on January 1, 2007. Over the next few months, Texas EMS Education programs will receive more information about the implementation of computer-based testing in Texas. Meanwhile, a program can improve the accuracy of its statistics by having its students fill out the NREMT application during class, so that the program can make sure each student correctly records the program number.
Overall, Texas pass rates do not compare well with the national results. However, there was a marked improvement from the 2004 state statistics, so Texas is moving in the right direction. Additionally, Texas has a much higher attrition rate than the national average. The department will be working with the Texas EMS Education community to try to identify why this is happening and propose solutions that could lower that rate.
Again, stakeholders are encouraged to read the methodology document carefully. According to NREMT's Phil Dickison, reports of less than 30 students may not provide a reliable sampling of a program. New programs or new instructors may not perform as well as more established programs.
When these statistics were sent to Texas EMS Education programs a few weeks ago, we offered for their consideration a couple of suggestions when their program statistics were noted to be lower than the state averages:
- Network with coordinators from programs that performed better. Programs that have been administering the National Registry exam for longer periods may have useful tips on improving your numbers.
- Interview students that have taken the test. Ask them to identify areas in which they feel they were not well prepared. Rather than requesting they reveal examples of questions, ask them to identify objectives that they think may not have been covered adequately.
The DSHS EMS Compliance Managers for your region are gladly willing to explain the statistics and documents, and also to explore different avenues of process improvement for Texas EMS Education programs. Contact information:
EMS Compliance-North Zone Kevin Veal: 817-264-4721; firstname.lastname@example.org
EMS Compliance-South Zone Fernando Posada: 210-949-2052; email@example.com
EMS Compliance-Central Brett Hart: 512-834-6700; firstname.lastname@example.org
Email questions and comments to: