How do you eliminate security concerns, ambiguous questions and biases while keeping exams fair?
IHM Academy in St. Louis uses the independent, validated exams offered by Fisdap, to thoroughly test student knowledge and readiness for the Registry exams.
IHM Academy of EMS is an EMS academy in St. Louis, MO, dedicated to the delivery of high-quality education in the field of emergency medical services. Joe May is the
EMS Program Director at IHM, and he has approximately 15 years of teaching experience between EMT and Paramedic classes.
Joe took some time to share with us his experiences using Fisdap for testing students:
What initially led you to considering using Fisdap for your courses?
We have been “Fisdap guinea pigs” for as long as I can remember going back to the early days of Fisdap. Even going back to when I was a student, the Scheduler and Skills Tracker components of Fisdap were very helpful. Once I got into a programmatic role at IHM, we looked to expand into the exam portion of Fisdap. We were on the phone daily with a developer from Fisdap learning how to make the most of Fisdap exams so that our students could be prepared for the Registry exams. Once Navigate began to tie in with Fisdap, it became a very regular part of our curriculum.
What sets Fisdap Exams apart from the competition?
Validation is the most valuable aspect of Fisdap exams, as it’s very hard to get access to truly validated exams. We’ve worked with Fisdap as part of the validation process and by understanding and being familiar with the validation process and how the exams are approved by industry professionals, it puts the exams on a level of their own. The validation process helps eliminate the “every answer is a right answer” attitude with carefully crafted questions and distractors to test student’s knowledge. If a student pays attention in class and works hard to learn the material, the Fisdap exam will help ensure that they’re prepared when it comes time to take the Registry exams.
What are your thoughts on Fisdap Exams’ security?
Fisdap takes exam security pretty seriously, with pass codes and proctoring required for them (excluding Study Tools) to ensure a fair testing environment. We were even able to successfully proctor and administer Fisdap exams virtually when we were running a hybrid program during COVID-19. It was interesting being able to watch which keys students were hitting, their facial expressions on camera, and which options their mouse would hover over. As long as people follow the directions given by Fisdap, the exams are secure and reliable, eliminating the ability to find answers online.
You mentioned you’ve been a part of the Fisdap validation process before. Are there any other benefits to the validation process you want to mention that weren’t previously discussed?
Another thing that the validation process helps with is the elimination of regional bias. Back before Fisdap, the questions for these exams were based largely on who showed up for validation sessions on a given day (i.e., rural vs suburban vs urban validators). With the Fisdap validation process, different people from across the country come together to best remove regional biases, while also keeping the exams fair.
What kind of success have you seen using Fisdap to prepare students for their registry exams?
In our student surveys, we consistently ask about the Fisdap exams throughout the program. The general consensus we get from students is that the exams are “tough, but fair.” Our program takes part in an “Earn to Learn” program, which requires students to achieve above a certain cut score to earn financial assistance. Operational managers wanted to set the cut score for candidates below Fisdap’s recommendation. However, argued that would lead to higher student attrition and it should remain at 65%. Based on the data we’ve collected, the Fisdap cutscore matches the average cutscore achieved on the entrance exam by our graduates and is a strong predictor of their success.
Are there any closing words you’d like to share with people considering using Fisdap for their programs?
We encourage the Jones and Bartlett Learning Public Safety Group to continue to develop additional Interactive Lectures for their line of fire, fire officer, and special operations textbooks. We’ve had great experiences with your products, and we look forward to seeing what you produce in the future.
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