Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice


Kathleen Kardaras

Committee Member

Hardwick S. Johnson


English as Second Language, False Cognates, National Board Exams, Nontraditional Students, Registered Respiratory Therapists


This applied dissertation was designed to provide information to respiratory therapy graduates from two-year associate in science programs, faculty, and administrators about the cognitive and noncognitive strategies employed by graduates to prepare and pass the CSE. To date, no available information on the role played by the lived experiences of Rt graduates while preparing to challenge the CSE. The researcher developed a questionnaire to conduct a qualitative phenomenological descriptive lived experience survey of ESL Hispanic nontraditional graduates from associate of science programs in South Florida who took the NBRC national board examinations between January 2015 and March 2022. An analysis of the data revealed individual strategies employed by ESL Hispanic nontraditional graduates for two-year respiratory therapy programs to pass the NBRC CSE. Among the prominent strategies were study time and translating the information from English to Spanish to comprehend concepts, then translating it back to English. The latter indirectly enhanced knowledge of the graduates' second language and helped them pass the CSE. This exam, the second needed to earn the registered respiratory therapist national credential, has in-depth patient scenarios. Respondents from the group above noted their discomfort in reading the patient scenarios' verbiage. Respondent suggestions included requests for a test-imbedded dictionary to help test-takers with complex English terms. The study uncovered a curricula weakness resulting from the advent of disposable respiratory equipment affecting infection control knowledge and techniques.

Available for download on Thursday, February 27, 2025