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Practice Analysis

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 Requirements: 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 content specifications 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:

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