Item Writers

An Invitation To Become An Item Writer for exams in...

Entry-Level
Nuclear Cardiology
PET

The NMTCB is in need for certified nuclear medicine technologists, nuclear cardiology technologists and PET technologists to write items (questions) for the exams listed above. If you are interested, please see our Item Writer Packets page for Item Writer Guidelines, Components of Preparedness or Content Outlines and Item Writing Submission Forms.

If you have any questions, contact the office at (404) 315-1739 or e-mail 

Introduction

The NMTCB office staff is here to serve you. Please contact us with any questions, concerns, or comments regarding any of our services. Your input is important to ensure that we continue to meet your needs.

The Nuclear Medicine Technologist Certification Board was established in 1977 under the direction of the Society of Nuclear Medicine Technologist Section and the first exam administered in 1978.

Historically, the exam has been tailored toward entry-level competency assessment and most of the examinees were recent graduates of training programs. Consequently, a large pool of candidates sought examination in fall and another somewhat smaller group sought examination in the late spring since those were the main graduation times of most programs. Therefore the exam was only offered in September and June.

However, there were always people seeking to take the exam at other times. Also, in recent years, with a changing job market and most employers and many states requiring some sort of certification exam for beginning employment, more people began looking for examination dates throughout the year to help secure and keep employment opportunities.

The NMTCB responded by developing the first and only Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) for nuclear medicine technologists. One of the many advantages of the CAT exam is that it can be delivered at a date and time most convenient to an individual examinee. Another special advantage of the CAT is that should an individual not pass the exam, it is not necessary to wait months for the next fixed date exam.

All this has resulted in some changes in operational procedures for the NMTCB, especially in maintaining item writing cycles. Actually, there is now a continuous item writing cycle, it never stops!

Since our exams are administered throughout the year, we can continually monitor new pre-test items for performance and edit or replace items constantly. This is a great advantage but requires a constant flow of new item writing year round. We now offer a "write what you like best" and "send them in as you write them" opportunity ...

What kinds of items are needed?

All kinds! As you know, the exam has four main content areas: radiation safety, instrumentation, clinical procedures, and radiopharmacy. Just about anything you do in your daily job as a nuclear medicine technologist can become a test item. We perform critical task analysis surveys periodically and use other sources such as Essentials and Guidelines of Accredited Educational Programs for the Nuclear Medicine Technologist and Performance and Responsibility Guidelines for the Nuclear Medicine Technologist.

What kinds of questions work best?

The multiple-choice format is generally regarded as the most widely applicable and adaptable to the measurement of important learning objectives. The prior NMTCB linear paper and pencil exam used five options in order to take advantage of the Nedelsky method for setting a passing score. To maintain a seamless transition to the CAT exam, we have retained this strategy. Often, the most difficult part of item writing is developing that last option so we encourage all items to be submitted, even if incomplete. Then we can still use good items that only need some "finishing touches".

How difficult or easy should an item be?

We need items at all levels! Historically, our main emphasis has been on entry-level items suitable for the Perfectly Average Technologist (PAT). However, we anticipate a rapid and growing demand for other types of CAT test products such as advanced level certification or sub-tests such as instrumentation only or advanced cardiology or any combination. Developing and maintaining a "deep pool" of items on all subjects at all levels of difficulty, allows greater flexibility and quicker response in supplying a wide range of test products year round.

Can I submit images or other data even if I don't write an item?

Please do! Another advantage of the CAT exam is the ability to display higher quality visuals within the exam. We especially need high quality images on clear-base film or high quality paper. You may even send in a computer diskette of images, lightbox displays, etc. Don't worry about the format, we can use just about any file type from almost any major vendor. Remember to remove all patient and institution identification.

How do I know if my items are ok?

We'll let you know! Items are often placed into the pre-test pool with minor edits. Others may need more work or may be suitable for other uses, you can continue to write in the areas you feel most comfortable about.

How do I start?

If you are currently an item writer and want to try new areas, let us know. New writers are encouraged to attend an item writer workshop at a local or national meeting. You may also contact the NMTCB for a start-up package, including the new "Item Writing Guidelines For CAT". You can also go to the "Item Writing Guidelines" found at this website.

Contact Us

For more information on item writing assignments or other interests, please contact us at:

NMTCB
3558 Habersham at Northlake, Bldg. I
Tucker, GA 30084
Tel: 404/315-1739
FAX: 404/315-6502
E-mail: