The following abstract was developed during the 2011 Research Summit and won Best Research at the 2011 NAEMSE Symposium in Reno, NV.

Paramedic Education Programs: An Analysis of Cognitive Success Based on Educational Institution Type

Keith Widmeier, CCEMT-P; Jamie Kennel, MS, NREMT-P; Mary Anne Pace, MPH; Tia Radant, MS, NREMT-P; Rachael Baird, BA; Christopher Anderson, MPH, Ari Gronning

Introduction: Anecdotal evidence suggests EMS educators disagree about the need for paramedic programs to be located under the umbrella of an academic institution. This study analyzed a paramedic cognitive summative exam (FISDAP Blue Exam) to reveal the relationship between program academic setting & test scores.

HypothesisThe educational setting of the paramedic program will affect paramedic student’s success on written summative exams.

Methods: Student summative test results were retrospectively reported by FISDAP, an internet data collection system. Types of educational institution were categorized into four year academic institution, two year academic institution, and non-academic institution by three independent raters (Fleiss’ kappa=0.73). Only institutions in which all three raters agreed were utilized. One-Way ANOVA was used to measure the association between overall test scores and category test scores by type of educational institution.

Results: The overall sample was 4111 (1278 from 4 year,1955 from 2 year, and 893 from non-academic institutions) with 15 students excluded because of incomplete data. The overall exam mean score was 68.08% for all students in the sample, 68.41% at 4 year, 67.37% at 2 year, 67.87% at non-academic institutions. The mean airway category scores was 82.2% for all students in the sample, 83.2% for 4 year, 81.4% for 2 year, and 82.7% for non-academic institutions. The mean operations category score was 71.5% for all students in the sample, 71.4% for 4 year, 71.3% for 2 year, and 72.3% for non-academic. The mean trauma category score revealed, 51.6% for 4 year, 50.2% for 2 year, and 50.4% for non-academic institutions.

Discussion: While there was a statistical significance in this study, there was no educational significance noticed. Our results from the overall test scores do not support the theory that educational setting will impact cognitive exam scores. The study results indicate no meaningful difference between non-academic, 2 year, and 4 year institutions on paramedics student success during cognitive summative exams.