As a paramedic program director, I often get asked by prospective students about what is expected of them in class, how many hours of clinicals per week they should attend and how many hours they should study to be successful students, etc.
Over the years, the one question I am asked more often than others has been, "Are there any predictors of success on the national registry written examination?" Until this point, there has been no independent research done to give us any insight into to this question.
A colleague and I set out to find an answer, and we now have a verifiable and research-based answer to this question.
Over the past several years, we have required our paramedic students to take the Health Occupations Basic Entrance Test (HOBET) during an incoming class orientation. This is an examination given by a private corporation that scores many parameters, such as math skills which are subscored for whole number operations, fractions, decimals, proportions reading scores, reading speed, study skills, learning styles, self disclosed stress levels and social interaction scores (passive or aggressive).
From the Educational Resources Inc. Web site
Emphasis: The HOBET evaluates seven areas that are essential for academic success and includes the Individual Student Summary Reports along with a Composite Group Report.
It measures an individual's ability in mathematics and science reading comprehension and also provides assessment of counseling areas to draw a total picture of the individual.
The HOBET will not only identify weaknesses in processing skills, which are necessary for success in college, but the test will enable each student to correct their weaknesses prior to entering school. The group and individual diagnostic report generated by the HOBET will compare each student and group with national norming on:
- Essential Math Skills
- Reading Comprehension for Science Textbooks and Reading Rate
- Critical Thinking Appraisal
- Test-taking Skills
- Stress Levels
- Social Interaction Profile
- Learning Styles
- Composite Scores
At the end of the program, our students take the New York State Paramedic examination. In addition our students are required to take the NREMT credentialing exams. I have HOBET scores on our students as well as their corresponding NREMT written scores.
We looked at the records of 60 students' HOBET exam specifically math scores, reading scores, stress scores and social interaction scores. We also listed the particular student s NREMT written score. We then used a regression analysis to determine which of the above factors had the most predictive value on the NREMT written examination.
We found that the regression analysis indicated that reading scores were the most important attribute for students to possess for success on the NREMT written exam.
In my next column, I will publish the details of that study and some very interesting findings that we found as well.