Published May 2018
On Jan. 1, 2019, ARRT will begin using a new cut score for the Radiation Therapy examination. Although we’ll continue to report the exam’s cut score as a scaled score of 75, the new cut score will require passing candidates to answer a few more questions correctly than they had to in the past.
The revised cut score reflects new performance expectations for entry-level radiation therapists. ARRT last updated the Radiation Therapy cut score in 1996.
A cut score is the number of correct answers needed to pass an exam. A passing score shows that a candidate has mastered sufficient knowledge to be deemed qualified to safely and effectively perform the role being tested.
Since 1996, the field of Radiation Therapy—and our Radiation Therapy content specifications—have changed significantly. Our psychometricians in turn conducted a standard-setting study to re-evaluate what level of performance should be necessary to pass an ARRT Radiation Therapy exam. Based on the results of our study, we determined that a new cut score would better reflect the skills and knowledge expected of entry-level radiation therapists today.
To determine appropriate cut scores, we convene a standard-setting advisory committee for the discipline in question. For Radiation Therapy, the committee included practicing radiation therapists, managers, educators, and physicists.
The committee members review each question from a representative version of the exam. Individually, they rate the likelihood that barely-passing candidates would answer each question correctly. The process requires multiple rounds and incorporates in-depth discussions with other committee members. The goal: determining what level of exam performance qualifies today’s candidates for an ARRT credential in that discipline.
The advisory committee ultimately submits their recommendations for the cut score to ARRT’s Board of Trustees. The Board reviews both the study information and the committee’s recommendations before determining whether to revise a cut score.
The standard-setting process helps to ensure that our exams appropriately measure who should and should not become certified and registered with ARRT. In this case, we anticipate that the new cut score and our new performance expectations may lead to a slight decrease in the percentage of candidates who pass the Radiation Therapy exam.
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