Academy Curriculum Validation
Training academies are responsible for providing recruits with the necessary knowledge and skills which will enable recruits to perform the tasks required of firefighters. It is critical that the information being covered during training be related to the essential functions of the job, thereby preparing recruits for the demands of the firefighter’s job. Without establishing this link, academies run the risk of not preparing recruits in critical aspects of the job which could result in catastrophic consequences for the individual, the individual’s fire company, and the overall agency.
PSI can assist your agency in addressing the following issues with respect to academy training:
- Is the subject matter or training curriculum job-related?
- Do the recruits learn what they are taught during training?
- Does the learning that occurs during the Academy transfer to the job?
The review of the training curriculum involves ensuring that all important duties, tasks, and knowledge sources used on the job are covered during training, and that the emphasis or amount of time spent on each area approximates the importance of these areas to the job.
A job related curriculum means very little if the quizzes and tests used to evaluate recruits’ understanding of this instruction bear little relationship either to the instruction itself or the job. PSI can examine whether recruits are evaluated on material covered during the Academy, and can examine whether recruits are evaluated on material of relevance to the job of a firefighter. We can also identify areas of potential improvement in the construction and administration of the Academy tests and quizzes in terms of item format, administrative instructions, scoring procedures, record keeping, and item analysis and feedback.
The success of any training program is based on whether the knowledge and skills taught during the Academy transfer to the field. PSI can examine whether performance in the Academy translates to job performance by examining the relationship between test scores in the Academy and job performance measures such as performance appraisal ratings.
Although we bring our expertise to assess the current Academy training curriculum for completeness and appropriateness, we fully recognize that fire service agencies are uniquely qualified to develop or revise training curriculum themselves. We work with each agency’s training academy staff at every step of curriculum review but, once our review is completed, we provide training academy staff with the information or training necessary to incorporate the recommended changes themselves.