Practice analysis — also called job analysis — is the systematic study of a profession
to describe the job responsibilities of those employed at entry level in the profession.
This information is then used to identify the knowledge and skills required to effectively
carry out those responsibilities. ARRT uses the results of a practice analysis to
make informed decisions regarding educational requirements, determine clinical experience
requirements, and develop examination content specifications. Other types of organizations
might find the results of a practice analysis helpful in designing training materials,
educational curricula, job descriptions, and performance-rating instruments.
Practice analysis is now widely recognized as an essential component of a certification
program. Practice analysis is advocated by the Standards for Educational and Psychological
Testing, published jointly by the American Educational Research Associate, American
Psychological Association, and National Council on Measurement in Education. Boards
like the ARRT are required to conduct practice analyses to have their certification
programs recognized by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA) or the
American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
ARRT has been conducting practice analyses since 1980 and regularly completes
them for all of its certification programs. A practice analysis project for each
discipline usually involves administering a comprehensive survey to a national sample
of several hundred medical imaging professionals. Each project is overseen by ARRT
psychometricians and a panel of subject-matter experts who represent the discipline
being studied. Projects require from 12 to 24 months to complete, culminating in
a final report and other documentation as described below.
Task Inventory: The practice-analysis survey is used
to identify the responsibilities typically required of staff technologists at entry
into the discipline. To be included on the task inventory, an activity must be the
responsibility of at least 40 percent of staff technologists and be performed at least
daily or weekly by at least 20 percent of staff technologists. Occasionally, an
activity that does not meet the frequency criterion (i.e., less than 20 percent
of staff technologists perform the activity daily or weekly) is retained if there
is a sound rationale for doing so (e.g., the task is especially critical in some
settings, or the task is related to an emerging technology). Although the task inventory
is of limited use as a stand-alone document, it is the foundation for other certification
requirements. Check out some ARRT
task inventory documents.
Clinical competency requirements
for primary certification (or
clinical experience requirements
for post-primary certification) are based on the task inventory. For an activity
to be included as a mandatory requirement, survey results usually indicate that
it is performed by a vast majority of staff technologists. Activities performed
by fewer technologists, or which are carried out only in selected settings, are
often designated as elective requirements.
Content Specifications: The primary purpose of ARRT
examinations is to assess the knowledge and cognitive skills underlying the intelligent
performance of tasks typically required of the staff technologist at entry into
the profession. The
identify the topics covered on the exam. Only topics that can be directly linked
to one or more activities from the task inventory are included in the content specifications.
View recent practice analysis reports: