Prior course experiences and academic achievement

Burk, Brian E.
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The poor performance on the NREMT-B exam by students that have successfully completed an EMT-B course may provide a unique insight as to what may best prepare students for new or difficult material covered in the course. The disturbing characteristic of the NREMT-B results is the numbers of students taking the exam for first time are the students that made it through their EMT-B course successfully. This number does not reflect the number of students that may have dropped out of the course, failed to meet the course criteria, or failed the course. Therefore the number of students taking the exam for the first time represents only the successful percentage of students. In an attempt to improve their EMT-B course results, Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC) has considered requiring prerequisite courses to better prepare their students for the demands of their course. In the EMT-B course taught at TAMC, the students are typically given time-off from their normal places of duty in order to take the EMT course. To minimize this time away from their daily jobs, the course, designed to meet the 110 hours of class time required by the U. S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), is given over a four week period. Their fast pace and long class days administered 5 days a week has resulted in 25% - 50% of the students failing out of the course over the last year. Therefore, the Department of Health Education and Training (DOHET) at TAMC was willing to offer their EMT-B course as the focus of a study. Though most EMT-B courses taught nationwide do not have any specific course prerequisites, al1 require that the students be currently certified as healthcare providers in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by the American Heart Association. Despite the USDOT's lack of additional prerequisite courses, the addition of prerequisite courses designed to better prepare the EMf -B students has been a common topic for discussion, but there is no clear consensus on what courses or experience would best prepare the students. Therefore, the purpose of the study would be to identify prior courses or experience that would best prepare the students for an EMT-B course. Though most of the students that take TAMC's EMT-B course typically have little or no college, the study population is expected to provide unique perspectives: (a) a number of the students will have previously taken an EMT-B course, and (b) a number of the students will have significant level of medical experience. Current attendance in this course by a student that has previously taken an EMT-B course is generally the result of one-of-three actions: The student failed to take the NREMT-B Exam, the student failed the exam, or the student passed the exam but had since allowed their certification to expire. The number of students with medical experience in the TAMC course may be the result of training in other branches of service for medical jobs that do not require EMT training. An example would include Navy Corpsmen, who provide basic medical care to sailors on ships and when deployed. Navy Corpsmen typically have training that is beyond that of the typical EMT-B, but may not necessarily have training specific to the pre-hospital training that is taught at the EMT-B level. While there may exist a variety of reasons behind students dropping out or failing an EMT-B course, performance and study habits can be valuable characteristics that could be studied to potentially identify types of prior knowledge and experience that may improve the students' success. Therefore, the focus of this study will be to investigate the following questions: Research Question #1: Do students who have previously completed an EMT-B course, have prior medical experience, or previous science courses outperform students without such experience on a multiple-choice assessment given as part of a pre-course and post-course assessment? Research Question #2: Does previous medical experience, prior science courses, or previous completion of an EMT-B course affect the amount of time spent studying for an EMT-B course when compared to students with no previous EMT-B or medical experience? Research Question #3: Does previous completion of an EMT-B course, medical experience, or prior science courses positively affect the perceived level of preparedness, difficulty, and confidence perceived and reported by the students as compared to students without such experience?
Thesis (M.Ed.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2006.
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