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J Prof Nurs. 2017 May - Jun;33(3):224-228. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2016.09.002. Epub 2016 Sep 23.

Standardized Testing Practices: Effect on Graduation and NCLEX® Pass Rates.

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Associate Director Education and Evidence-based Regulation, Arizona State Board of Nursing, Phoenix, AZ 85012. Electronic address:


The use standardized testing in pre-licensure nursing programs has been accompanied by conflicting reports of effective practices. The purpose of this project was to describe standardized testing practices in one states' nursing programs and discover if the use of a cut score or oversight of remediation had any effect on (a) first time NCLEX® pass rates, (b) on-time graduation (OTG) or (c) the combination of (a) and (b). Administrators of 38 nursing programs in one Southwest state were sent surveys; surveys were returned by 34 programs (89%). Survey responses were compared to each program's NCLEX pass rate and on-time graduation rate; t-tests were conducted for significant differences associated with a required minimum score (cut score) and oversight of remediation. There were no significant differences in NCLEX pass or on-time graduation rates related to establishment of a cut score. There was a significant difference when the NCLEX pass rate and on-time graduation rate were combined (Outcome Index "OI") with significantly higher program outcomes (P=.02.) for programs without cut-scores. There were no differences associated with faculty oversight of remediation. The results of this study do not support establishment of a cut-score when implementing a standardized testing.


Cut-score; NCLEX, on-time graduation; Outcome index; Standardized testing

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