An analysis of the introduction and efficacy of a novel training programme for ERC basic life support assessors

Christopher J Thorne, Christopher M Jones, Philip Harvey, Jonathan Hulme, Andrew Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: Existing ERC BLS/AED accreditation procedures allow BLS instructors to assess the capability of BLS/AED providers, without undergoing additional training as an assessor. The reliability of instructor-based assessment has been questioned. This study sought to determine the efficacy of a simple training programme for BLS/AED instructors aimed at standardising assessment decisions.

METHODS: An Assessment Training Programme (ATP) which provides additional, assessment-focused tuition for BLS instructors was introduced. Eighteen ERC accredited instructors participated in the study. Nine received standard ERC training (instructors); nine received additional training through the ATP (assessors). The assessment of 73 students' BLS/AED capabilities was carried out by an assessor, ERC instructor and ERC instructor trainer concurrently. Participants independently completed an ERC assessment form. Decisions for instructors and assessors were compared to the instructor trainers' decisions; those not agreeing were deemed to be incorrect.

RESULTS: Instructors (49.3%) had lower raw pass rates than assessors (67.1%) and instructor trainers (64.4%). There was a significant difference in overall decisions between instructors and instructor trainers (p=0.035), and instructors and assessors (p=0.015). There was no difference between assessors and instructor trainers (p=0.824). Instructors were more prone to incorrectly failing candidates than assessors (sensitivities of 80.5% and 63.8% respectively, p=0.077). AED-capability decisions were significantly different from instructor trainers in both the instructor (p=0.007) and assessor groups (p=0.031).

CONCLUSION: BLS instructors incorrectly fail candidates for reasons that should not normally constitute a true assessment failure. The ATP is an effective intervention to reduce false-failure rates and improve compliance with an experienced instructor trainer's decision. Consideration should be made to integrate such programmes into current BLS instructor accreditation procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-9
Number of pages4
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Adult
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/education
  • Defibrillators
  • Educational Measurement
  • Faculty
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult


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