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New Vascular Interventional Radiography Content Specifications and Cut Score Coming in July 2017

In July 2017, ARRT will launch new Vascular Interventional (VI) Radiography content specifications and a newly revised VI examination based on these new content specifications. The VI exam will still consist of 160 scored questions and 50 pilot questions. The content of the exam will be organized into three main content areas; patient care, image production, and procedures. The new content specifications are based on the results of a recently completed practice analysis. Practice analysis is the process that ARRT uses to identify the job responsibilities of entry-level professionals who are working in the discipline. The practice analysis process takes place approximately every five years.

Whenever a full practice analysis is completed and a new exam form is launched, ARRT looks at the potential impact that the changes may have on the cut score used to decide whether a candidate has demonstrated sufficient mastery of the content to be certified and registered in that discipline. If the changes to content specifications are significant or it has been a long time since the cut score has been reviewed, a standard setting study is likely to be launched to evaluate the cut score on the exam. The cut score may also be reset periodically for statistical reasons or when expectations for performance change.

The cut score for VI was last updated in 2002. Since that time there have been large changes in the field of VI radiography and the VI content specifications, and because of these factors ARRT decided to conduct a standard setting study. Performing this study gives ARRT confidence that the newly revised exam based on the new content specifications will continue to be a valid measure of who should and should not be certified and registered in VI.

Conceptually, setting a cut score is a simple process — select a number that reflects mastery of sufficient knowledge to be deemed qualified to safely and effectively perform the role being credentialed. In practice, arriving at an appropriate number requires capturing the collective professional wisdom of a group of subject-matter experts who serve on the Standard Setting Advisory Committee and refining it through the policy expertise of the ARRT Board of Trustees. The VI Standard Setting Advisory Committee included practicing VI radiographers, managers, educators, and radiologists.

In practice, here's how the new cut score came about. Through a psychometrician-led process of standard setting, the VI Standard Setting Advisory Committee members reviewed each question from a representative form of the exam and individually rated the percentage of barely passing candidates who would answer the question correctly. The process is conducted in multiple rounds and incorporates extensive group discussion about what it means — in terms of performance on the exam — to have the requisite knowledge and skills to be certified and registered as an entry level VI radiographer. After collecting the standard setting ratings, committee members discussed the results and were asked to submit their final recommendation for the cut score that they thought was appropriate on the exam. Finally, all of the information from the standard setting study and the recommendation from the VI Standard Setting Advisory Committee were presented to the ARRT Board of Trustees, which adopted a revised cut score earlier this year.

The revised cut score on the VI exam will still be reported as a scaled score of 75. The adoption of this cut score reflects ARRT’s current expectations for professional performance at entry level for VI. The use of this cut score on the revised exam will continue to ensure that the VI exam can be used to decide who should and should not be certified and registered in VI. It is anticipated that the new cut score and new expectations for performance may lead to a slight increase in the percentage of candidates passing the revised VI exam.  

Learn more about how we score exams.