The NBRC TMC Exam High Cut Score as a Measure of Exam-Based Program Outcomes

The NBRC Therapist Multiple Choice (TMC) Exam High Cut Score as a Measure of Exam-Based Program Outcomes
[Position Statement Approved by the CoARC Board on November 21, 2015]

[REVISED March 10, 2018 and November 10, 2018]

A key component of the mission of the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) is to ensure that accredited respiratory care education programs adequately prepare students for entry into the profession. CoARC Standard 3.01 requires all programs “to prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs).”
As an outcomes-based accreditor, the CoARC has relied on the results of a variety of program outcome measures, including the achievement of both the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credentials. With the advent of the National Board for Respiratory Care’s (NBRC’s) TMC Exam in January of 2015, all graduates seeking to earn an NBRC credential in order to enter the profession must take this examination. The NBRC utilizes two cut scores for the TMC exam; graduates attaining the low-cut score obtain the CRT credential. Achieving the high cut score means that, in addition to earning the CRT, a graduate is eligible to take the Clinical Simulation Exam (CSE). Graduates who pass the CSE earn the RRT credential.
Although in prior announcements the CoARC stated that this would occur in the spring of 2017, delays in the release of the new 2018 Annual Report of Current Status (RCS) and to recent changes in the NBRC TMC examination policies, the CoARC is postponing the establishment of a threshold until 2020. After the data from the 2019 RCS have been reviewed and a threshold established, all accredited programs will be informed.  Compliance with the TMC threshold will be required for the annual reports due July 1, 2020.  As with other outcome measures on the RCS, this threshold will define the minimum percentage of a program’s graduates that must achieve the high cut score on the TMC in a three-year reporting period for the program to avoid a citation.

Questions regarding this notice should be directed to Tom Smalling, Chief Executive Officer at (817) 283-2835 ext. 101, or by email at:

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