Keeping PATH Intl. members updated about the accreditation of the PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor  Certification
Trek to Accrediting
the PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor Certification
October 26, 2017
The Job Task Analysis
 
As PATH Intl. continues its march toward 3rd party accreditation of its registered therapeutic riding instructor certification, it is important to share the detailed final results of the 2016 job task analysis review of the registered therapeutic riding instructor job. These results will direct numerous decisions in the coming phases of our trek.

PATH Intl. Certified Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructors are recognized as having some level of knowledge and/or skill within a particular area of equine-assisted activities. The last time PATH Intl. conducted a review to define the actual job responsibilities of a registered-level therapeutic riding instructor was in the mid-nineties. In order to knowledgeably continue professionalization of the PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Certification as requested by the membership, PATH Intl. recognized the need to perform a systematic review to delineate the actual job responsibilities specifically of current certified registered-level therapeutic riding instructors. 

A highly effective approach to defining the components of a particular job or role is to conduct a job task analysis (JTA), under the guidance of a professional consultant.   The goals of a job task analysis are to:
1) Identify the essential tasks and major areas of responsibility of the job.
2) Define the knowledge and skills an individual must possess in order to competently perform the job (generally entry-level knowledge/skill).

Once the job tasks, knowledge and skills are identified, a framework can be established for valid evaluation of an individual's proficiency of relevant job tasks.

The most common way of conducting a JTA is to gather a panel of subject matter experts to conduct a survey of professionals in the field to verify what the job entails on a daily basis. This was the method used for the 2016 PATH Intl. JTA. Led by a professional consultant, a group of eight PATH Intl. certified professionals from varied backgrounds and geographic locations were assembled to define the primary areas of responsibility of a PATH Intl. Certified Registered Riding Instructor and the knowledge and skills pertaining to each area. A survey was then sent to all current PATH Intl. Certified Riding Instructors, to verify the areas of responsibility, knowledge and skills identified by the subject matter experts. The survey respondents were asked to identify:
  • How often they performed each of the tasks as part of their daily job.
  • The level of risk for negative consequences to any party involved if the task were performed incorrectly or not at all. 
The importance of the task as related to the overall job is then calculated by combining the average frequency the job task is performed with the level of criticality that the task is performed correctly. This calculation also represents the weight of the task. The weights define how much of the certification exam needs to cover each area of the job to adequately evaluate the proficiency of candidates. 

A summary of the responses is provided below:

Skills
Percentage of Exam
1.   Equine Management
14.9%
1.1 Identify unsoundness in an equine at the walk and trot
6.27%
1.2 Demonstrate the management of equine behavior in a lesson setting
6.32%
1.3 Identify basic equine anatomy
2.31%
2.   Participant and Volunteer Management
20.6%
2.1 Manage participant issues relating to their disabilities (e.g., behavioral, physical, sensory)
7.30%
2.2 Implement effective teaching techniques
6.41%
2.3 Manage volunteers by providing them with directions before, during and after the lesson
6.88%
3.   Lesson Management
24.3%
3.1 Assess participant suitability for activities
7.16%
3.2 Create a lesson plan and adjust throughout the lesson
5.28%
3.3 Track participant progress
4.42%
3.4 Fit equipment to equine and participant
7.40%
4.   Risk Management
21.9%
4.1 Conduct equipment safety checks during a lesson
8.33%
4.2 Perform croup mounts and dismounts with ambulatory participants
3.55%
4.3 Identify and correct participant body and alignment issues within a lesson setting
6.51%
4.4 Respond to emergencies (e.g., emergency dismounts, basic horse first aid issues) 
3.56%
5.   Riding
18.3%
5.1 Use basic skills to groom an equine
3.87%
5.2 Tack an equine safely and appropriately in preferred discipline
6.04%
5.3 Perform a walk, trot/jog, and canter/lope in each direction
2.02%
5.4 Demonstrate safe and appropriate arena etiquette
6.38%
TOTAL
100%













 
Based on the data, this chart reveals there are five core categories of a registered-level instructor's job. You will notice not all categories have the same percentage attached to them and this factor should be recognized in the certification examination design. These results show that the participant and volunteer management, lesson management and risk management skills involved in instruction comprise the bulk of the registered-level instructor job.  
 
Getting more task specific, let's take a look at how the weights of the individual tasks rank from highest to lowest:

4.1 Conduct equipment safety checks during a lesson
8.33%
3.4 Fit equipment to equine and participant
7.40%
2.1 Manage participant issues relating to their disabilities (e.g., behavioral, physical, sensory)
7.30%
3.1 Assess participant suitability for activities
7.16%
2.3 Manage volunteers by providing them with directions before, during and after the lesson
6.88%
4.3 Identify and correct participant body and alignment issues within a lesson setting
6.51%
2.2 Implement effective teaching techniques
6.41%
Subtotal
49.99%
5.4 Demonstrate safe and appropriate arena etiquette
6.38%
1.2 Demonstrate the management of equine behavior in a lesson setting
6.32%
1.1 Identify unsoundness in an equine at the walk and trot
6.27%
5.2 Tack an equine safely and appropriately in preferred discipline
6.04%
3.2 Create a lesson plan and adjust throughout the lesson
5.28%
Subtotal
30.29%
3.3 Track participant progress
4.42%
5.1 Use basic skills to groom an equine
3.87%
4.4 Respond to emergencies (e.g., emergency dismounts, basic horse first aid issues)
3.56%
4.2 Perform croup mounts and dismounts with ambulatory participants
3.55%
1.3 Identify basic equine anatomy
2.31%
5.3 Perform a walk, trot/jog, and canter/lope in each direction
2.02%
Subtotal
19.73%

Looking closer at the weights, some groupings become apparent. Notice that seven tasks comprise nearly 50% of the responsibilities of a registered level instructor. Not surprisingly, these are tasks performed during a therapeutic riding lesson and reflect key elements of conducting a safe and effective lesson.

The next five tasks comprise just over 30% of the responsibilities of a registered-level instructor and are tasks performed in and outside of a therapeutic riding lesson to further support a safe and effective lesson.

The remaining six tasks comprise less than 20% of the responsibilities of a registered-level instructor and include tasks in and outside of the arena, as well as demonstration of grooming and riding skills. Generally, a weight of less than five indicates a task that may not be important enough to be a standalone task and therefore should be omitted or combined with another existing task.

Now let's look even closer at the weights of the individual tasks. Not surprisingly, based on the frequency with which they are performed and the criticality that they are performed correctly, equipment safety checks have the greatest weight. This means that ensuring registered-level certification candidates know the steps for conducting a thorough tack check is imperative for them to meet the requirements of the job. The weights also show that implementing effective teaching techniques holds more weight than creating a lesson plan and adjusting it throughout the lesson , but lesson planning adjustment ranks higher than either grooming or performing a walk, trot/jog, and canter/lope in each direction. This data indicates registered-level candidates should have more competence in teaching techniques and lesson planning than  performing grooming or riding skills.

As the credentialing council moves forward with developing a certification exam that meets NCCA accreditation standards, these JTA results will remain at the core of every decision-from prerequisites to exam delivery and recertification procedures. As a result, members will be hearing frequent references to the JTA as we describe the PATH Intl. Credentialing Council's work. Please direct any comments or questions to Bret Maceyak.
 
Want to learn more about how JTAs can support the reputation of a profession? Read on!
 
JTAs are important to a profession because they provide:

A b asis for legally defensible certification examinations
The most fundamental consideration in developing an examination is the validity. V alidating an examination involves gathering evidence to provide a sound scientific basis for the evaluation of a candidate's proficiency and interpretation of the scores assigned to levels of performance.
 
Content for valid, practice-based examinations
By gathering information about the tasks, knowledge and skills required of individuals already performing the job in question, a certification examination can be developed reflecting the actual and current performance requirements in the field.
 
Direction for curriculum review
JTAs tell us the important job tasks linked to competent practice in a role or job and furthermore the knowledge and/or skills necessary for profi cient performance of those tasks. With knowledge of the skills required to perform a job, optional trainings and study guides can be developed to help candidates master proficiency of the necessary skills.
 
Data for asse ssing trends in practices within a profession
Capturing and analyzing the information collected from a JTA can help in tracking evolution of practices within a profession.
 
A foundation for accreditation and professional testing standards
JTAs provide a solid basis for developing proficiency examinations in compliance with respected accreditation and professional testing standards in support of public protection.


What's next?
The PATH Intl. Credentialing Council meeting at the international conference in November will yield accomplishments by the team. A summary will be shared post-conference.


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