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National League for Nursing Task Force Tackles High Stakes Testing

National League for Nursing Task Force Tackles High Stakes Testing

NLN Subgroup Explores Flawed Use of End-of-Program Testing to Determine Student Readiness to Take the RN Licensing Exam

Second NLN Subgroup Funded by Laerdal Begins Three-Year Project toCreate and Test Simulation Scenarios as Evaluation Tools


New York, NY — June 11, 2010 — From June 8 to 10, 2010, leaders in nursing education, nursing practice, health care, and higher education began to develop policy guidelines for use of end-of-program testing. "The NLN Presidential Task Force on High Stakes Testing," announced NLN CEO Dr. Beverly Malone, "explored current thinking about competency evaluation as a viable end-of-program testing method and made recommendations for high stakes testing policy guidelines and practices in nursing education programs."

A select subgroup ensuing from the taskforce will continue working throughout 2010 to determine principles to guide faculty who are developing or adopting end-of-program testing, NCLEX predictive testing, and policies for evaluation of student learning. Led by Dr. Cathleen Shultz, NLN president and Harding University professor and dean of nursing, and Dr. Christine Tanner, Youmans Spaulding Distinguished Professor Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing, this panel will review the literature related to the science of and ethical issues in high-stakes testing and assess testing methods and practices currently used in pre-licensure programs to determine students readiness to take the licensure examination.

A second subgroup began to lay the groundwork for the use of simulation for high stakes evaluation. Funded by a three-year grant from Laerdal Medical and led by Dr. Mary Anne Rizzolo, this team will identify program outcomes that can be evaluated using simulation, and during the next phase of the project, they will develop and pilot test simulation scenarios and evaluation tools at schools of nursing across the country. Explained Dr. Malone, "The NLN believes in multiple methods for assessment of students; no single test should be used, for example, as a determination for graduation eligibility."

"The recommendations emanating from the meeting of our Presidential Task Force on High Stakes Testing," concluded Dr. Shultz, "will incorporate the NLNs core values of caring, integrity, diversity, and excellence into a truly innovative exploration of assessment critical to the future education of the nursing workforce."

Reporters/Editors: For interview opportunities, please call Karen R. Klestzick, NLN chief communications officer, at 212-812-0376 or email

Dedicated to excellence in nursing, the National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. The NLN offers faculty development, networking opportunities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to its 31,000 individual and 1,200 institutional members who represent all types of nursing education programs.