The following abstract was developed during the 2011 Research Summit and presented at the 2011 NAEMSE Symposium in Reno, NV.

Is a Cut Score of 61 on the HOBET Still Cutting the Mustard?

Heather Davis, MS, NREMT-P; Steve Asche, E., MA; Todd Cage, M.Ed., NREMT-P; Pauline Van Meurs, MS, LP; David Waltz, BA, NREMT-P

Hypothesis: A cut score of 61 or greater will predict success in paramedic education programs.

Introduction: A pre-admission tool that could predict an applicant’s success in a paramedic education program would be of great use to candidates, employers, and program directors in allocating resources such as time, money, and limited seats in courses.

The Health Occupations Basic Entrance Test (HOBET—ATI Testing, Stilwell, KS) is a pre-screening tool, which measures essential skills in reading, math, and basic science for allied health education programs. A composite percentage cut score of 61 was identified by Davis in 1997 but has never been replicated.

Methods: Data from 220 students who passed the HOBET at the current cut score of 61 or higher were retrospectively analyzed to determine performance on the FISDAP® (Headwaters Software Inc, St. Paul, MN) comprehensive paramedic exam (CPE). Institutional Review Board exemption was received from Inver Hills Community College IRB. Only de-identified data from students who signed informed consent was included. The cut point on the HOBET was adjusted through a range of scores from 61-79 to determine what proportion of individuals would pass the CPE on the first attempt at increasingly higher HOBET cut scores (positive predictive value or PPV).

Results: At a HOBET cut score of >=61, 50% of students passed the CPE on the first attempt. For each one point increase in the HOBET cut score from 61-79, the proportion of individuals passing the CPE increases by 0.65% to a maximum PPV of 62% at a score of 79. Conclusion: The current HOBET cut score of >=61 has a positive predictive value sensitive enough to exclude students who are not likely to succeed in paramedic education programs. While it is possible to increase the sensitivity by 12% of the HOBET to be a predictor of success, doing so would have eliminated 102 students who ultimately did pass the CPE and the National Registry written exam but would never have been admitted using the most sensitive HOBET cut score of 79.