Study objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability of two respiratory therapy self-assessment examinations: the written registry examination (WR), and the clinical simulation examination (CSE). We then used reliability coefficients to test the true correlation between the WR and CSE by employing the Spearman-Brown formula to attenuate for unreliability.
Design: This was a nonexperimental correlational study.
Setting: The study was conducted at respiratory therapy education programs located in four states.
Participants: Sixty advanced-level respiratory therapy students enrolled in the final semester of their programs.
Measurements and results: Fifty-eight students completed the WR, and 56 students completed the CSE. The reliability coefficient for the WR was 0.79. The reliability coefficient for the CSE when taken as a whole was 0.76. However, the CSE is separated into two sections, information gathering and decision making, which are scored separately. Cronbach α computed for the information-gathering section was 0.72, while the α coefficient for the decision-making section was only 0.64. The correlation between the WR and CSE was 0.86 after attenuation for reliability.
Conclusions: The estimate of the reliability for the CSE is less than that for the WR, and the two examinations are strongly correlated. This leads us to question whether the CSE adds to the validity or reliability in the testing of respiratory therapists.