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The Importance of Being Able to Modify Your Tests and Scenarios in EMS Education

his article was published in our May 2016 Newsletter, by the John Spencer, Medical Educator

Should you be able to modify your tests and scenarios? The answer to this question is yes, absolutely you should! Let’s take a look at why.

Having the ability to modify tests allows for flexibility in the course schedule.
Consider that you have just finished teaching module 1 and you are preparing to administer the module exam. As you are reviewing the exam, you realize that you did not teach Topic X in module 1 because you felt it would be a better fit in module 2 but your module 1 exam includes 4 questions on topic X. What do you do? If you are unable to modify the exam you will have to postpone the exam and teach Topic X before you can administer the exam. If you are able to modify the test, then you can simply remove those items from the module 1 exam and add them to the module 2 exam.

Modifying exams allows for flexibility in the test layout.
Maybe as an instructor your preference is to group questions on similar topics together or maybe your preference is to mix it up. Maybe you prefer to start with the easy questions and have the test progress to the more difficult options. Whatever your preference, without the ability to modify your tests you are at the mercy of the test builder.

Being able to modify tests is an essential part of the validation process.
Let’s say that you have just administered your Module 1 Exam and now you need to validate the results. You run your item analysis and make note that items 9, 10, 11, and 12 all have negative discrimination. You do a retrospective review to verify that the information was taught and taught correctly. You decide that the questions are not performing as intended. If you are able to modify your tests, you can fine tune the test by removing the questions that are not performing well and replacing them with new questions. If you are unable to modify your test, well, then you are stuck with a test that has poor performing items.

Adjusting scenarios provides flexibility in scenario deployment.
You have a scenario that calls for a 19-year-old female to be sitting in the bathroom complaining of abdominal pain. You only have male students in your class. If you are able to modify your scenarios, you can change the sex of the patient to match the simulated patients that you have available for that day. Maybe it’s the location that is causing you problems. Maybe you have a scenario for a patient with leg pain that has fallen down the stairs but your classroom does not have a way of simulating stairs. You could modify the scenario to change the mechanism to match something that you could simulate in your classroom.

Altering scenarios allows for numerous scenarios to be developed from one.
A single scenario can be modified in many ways to yield numerous new scenarios. For example, you can change the age and sex of the patient and/or the chief complaint to create alternate scenarios.

We recognize the importance of being able to modify tests and scenarios. That is why we allow for custom test creation in EMSTesting and for scenario modification in Platinum Planner. Please contact us at 616-818-7877 or email us if you have any questions on how you can modify your tests and scenarios.