Joan Polancic, MSEd, MLS(ASCP)CM; Kyle Riding, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM
Entry Level Curriculum Revision Committee Co-Chairs
The Entry Level Curriculum was created to provide guidance as to the knowledge and skills a new graduate at the medical laboratory technologist (MLT) or medical laboratory scientist (MLS) level should possess upon entry into the workforce.
The first Entry Level Curriculum (ELC) was published in 2002 and created by educators and practitioners using the Body of Knowledge (BOK) published by ASCLS. The ELC was revised during the 2015-2016 year by a task force of the Committee for Educational Programs and Initiatives (CEPI), a sub-committee of the Education Scientific Assembly (ESA).
The two main goals for the 2016 revision were:
- Use the recently updated (2014 version) ASCLS BOK and personal expertise in entry level practice to update the curriculum by removing dated topics and adding new items.
- Ensure differentiation of the MLT and MLS curriculum based on the level of education required for each.
There were 4 rounds of revisions in 2015-2016 which provided opportunities for ASCLS members – educators and practitioners – to review and provide input:
- 1st revision reviewed by educators at CLEC 2016
- 2nd revision reviewed by ASCLS members
- 3rd revision to Board of Directors and 2016 House of Delegates
- 4th revision to ASCLS for publication
ELC committee members finalized all documents by applying the Beck/Moon algorithm introduced at CLEC 2016. The algorithm included three basic questions:
- Is it current practice?
- Is it entry level?
- Is it foundational?
In situations where conflicting comments were received, this algorithm provided the criteria for removing information from the documents.
The ELC is designed to
- Help develop the curriculum for a new program
- Assist the new instructor/professor with course development
- Update a current program or course
In addition, the document can provide guidance to other organizations for entry level knowledge and skills of the MLS or MLT graduate.
The curriculum format is delineated by discipline area within the MLS and MLT levels. Each discipline area is further delineated by major topics using a learning objective format which includes a sequence of concepts, principles/theories, and skills. Taxonomic levels (cognitive, psychomotor, affective) were included to assist new instructors and new programs.
It is understood that all listed technical items may not be available at each educational institution so that in some programs, only cognitive aspects (state, explain, describe) will be taught and at others the psychomotor may also be taught (perform or observe). The committee also expects that some programs will teach beyond what may be included, based upon regional needs of their graduates and availability of resources.
What’s New/What Changed?
New Additions: Molecular diagnostics is a new addition to the 2016 version of the ELC. Other changes included moving body fluids from the Chemistry section to create a new Urinalysis and Body Fluids section.
Cross referencing: Where there is overlap in some discipline areas, it is cross-referenced to another section within the ELC disciplines. For example, microscopic analysis in Hematology, Urinalysis and Body Fluids, and Microbiology are all cross-referenced to the more detailed microscope section in the General Practice document.
Differentiation in MLT vs MLS curriculum: Differentiation of the two levels was based on the background knowledge (pre-requisite and/or core courses) required. Different cognitive levels were reflected in the verbs used to elucidate the tasks or knowledge. For example:
MLT version – Identify basic concepts of spectrophotometry
MLS version - Recognize and explain basic concepts of spectrophotometry
In many instances, the verb levels and expectations were the same, for example in performing tests or identifying abnormal results.
List of Added and Deleted Topics: To assist educators in knowing which items were deleted from the previous edition of the ELCs and which items were added, a summary list is included at the end of each discipline section. This information could be useful when revising and updating course material.
Final Product Available
The updated versions of the Entry Level Curriculum for Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) and Entry Level Curriculum for Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) can purchased in the ASCLS Store at www.ascls.org/store. Each program is available in a variety of formats:
- Institutional Licensed Versions
- Single User Licensed Versions
- Curricula for Individual Disciplines
- Complete Set of MLS and MLT Curricula
The updated version of the ELC would not have been possible without a team of dedicated volunteers. Thank you to everyone who submitted comments. Your participation was tremendous in improving this resource. Thank you especially to the ELC committee members for your time, expertise and efforts. These volunteers enlisted innumerable hours to update, collate and review comments, and create final documents.
Going forward, the ELC will be updated every five years using the revised BOK. The newly established BOK Review Committee will guide this process.