Dialogue Reflection on: High-Stakes Testing


Reflection on: High-Stakes Testing
Submitted by: Lise Turner, RNC, MSN
Date Submitted: December 30, 2010

Once again we are looking at what is wrong with the product that we are turning out of our educational facilities. In order to ensure our pass rates stay acceptable we are putting the burden on the student to perform in a testing format that is not controlled.I believe that we need to look at the basic educational structure of nursing and the resulting product. If the product is not acceptable to the employer then it is the teaching facilities and/or the curriculum that needs to be examined. How is it that nursing can think that they can CRAM all the knowledge, critical thinking, and basic procedures into a graduates head, have them be a safe, competent, beginning practitioner by going through an accelerated RN program in 12-14 months?!!!Could you have done this?We need not dumb down our education to make it work but do away with accelerated programs and focus on producing a better product. I am saddened that the NLN refuses to discuss making there one entry point for the professional RN - the BSN. And sorry that they refuse to discuss the ADN degreee as a technical position. When are we going to ever control our education and practice? Nursing tries to be a people pleaser giving everyone, but the patient, what they want from nursing. Patients and physicians would like to feel confident that the RN caring for them can critically think, perform procedures correctly and be fully functional upon graduation.The NLN has muddied the educational water even more by allowing the DNP while most of the public and physicians just want to know if the nurse they are talking to just has their RN. Please, I beg of you, make our educational system stream line with one entry point for the technical nurse and one for the professional nurse and concentrate on making both products a safe, WELL EDUCATED NOT FAST TRACKED PRODUCT, for all of our sakes!

Reflection on: High-Stakes Testing
Submitted by: Dessie Levy, PhD, RN
Date Submitted: December 16, 2010

My comments are specifically for questions 2) "What national standards would both help faculty in your school determine progression and graduation policies and provide legal protection for all parties involved?"

Based on research findings, high-stakes testing can predict passing or failing (NCLEX-PN/RN). Educators must consider a variety of academic variables that the literature identifies as contributing to the spiral curriculum in nursing programs across the country.

It is important for national organizations to set national standards that "benchmark" consistent minimal final course grade expectations regardless to type of nursing program (LPN/ADN/BSN). Recent research established reviewing a combination of academic variables (pre-nln, final grade in anatomy and physiology, final grade in the nursing capstone course and exit exam cut-score) to determine the likelihood of NCLEX success.

Just as national nursing organizations continue to argue the "professional" entry level, we must use the same energy and passion to review the actual performance of our students in order to assure their success in our nursing programs. The review and assessment of students must be completed in a pre-program entry process versus waiting until the students are in the last semester of the nursing program and telling them they can not graduate because theyve failed the high-stakes exam. We must be honest and say "you are not ready".

Guidelines from national organizations would support colleges and universities in setting the expectations of the high-stakes testing. High-stakes testing has become prevalent based on the pressures of "first-time test takers" being the indication of a nursing programs performance and education of its students. If the national organizations and the colleges/universities can come together on this issue, it would certainly send a message to the communities we serve that our number one academic goal is to produce quality, SAFE, confident nurses.

Reflection on: High-Stakes Testing
Submitted by: Tim Bristol, PhD, RN, CNE
Date Submitted: December 16, 2010

Hi and thanks to the Task Force for this important report. Where can we find a list of the contributors to this report? Will further versions of the report include other uses for the standardized testing tools (clinical focus, customized lesson plans, learning contracts, early warning, etc.)? Also, would like to hear more on how the standardized test protects the students from poorly written exams (ie. those with no validity or reliability). I know for many years, I lacked skills related to determining exam validity and reliability. It wasnt until I took many additional graduate level courses that this was incorporated into my educational practice. Standardized exams give students access to fairly developed assessments that are carefully analyzed by faculty all over the country (not just the faculty team at their school). Many faculty are writing tests with little or no training or mentoring (a veteran told me I need to figure it out on my own). Faculty are making progression decisions and curricular adjustments based on these self-developed exams. I look forward to what the committee found in this area as well.





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