NCLEX passage rate--why not include 2nd try passers?

  1. Nursing schools in my state are expected to maintain a 80%+ pass rate on NCLEX. When students fail, it not only means that they suffer, it also affects the standing of the school. Schools are rewarded for culling students who, although otherwise competent, are poor test takers, or suffer from anxiety.

    But, as far as I can see, the student who passes the NCLEX on the second try is not less of a nurse, but more likely someone who finally has learned to deal with the test. (I know there are students who test unsuccessfully multiple times, and I suspect that they just don't have the knowledge or competence to be a nurse.)

    Does anyone have research to show that students who pass on the second try are less safe, or less likely to be successful in the profession?

    If not, then I wonder if it would be fair to include second time passers in evaluating NCLEX pass rates for schools of nursing, and maybe raise the standard to 90%.

    I can see pros and cons... what do you all think?
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    Joined: Apr '04; Posts: 361; Likes: 192


  3. by   PacoUSA
    I can see where you're going with this and I tend to agree, but I can see why they probably focus on 1st time passage data. Probably because publishing retaker passage rates may dilute the impact of 1st time pass candidates. The average person might see the stats and say "Retaker rates? Why so many had to retake at this school?" That was my first instinct. It basically comes down to the way the data is marketed, so as to not "cheapen" the quality of the curriculum that prepares one for the NCLEX. May be effective if presented properly, not sure.

    I took the state bar exam twice and passed on the 2nd try (my shining star about it is that I passed faster than JFK, Jr. did, lol) so I agree with you in that I am no less of a lawyer than one that passed on first try. But all that is kinda moot considering I am migrating into nursing
  4. by   Reno1978
    Sorry, but in my opinion, having a good 1st time pass rate indicates how well the nursing program did to prepare their graduates to pass the NCLEX. 2nd time pass rates indicate how well the graduate remediated themselves after being unprepared, probably without the help from their nursing school.
  5. by   dinah77
    Quote from Reno1978
    Sorry, but in my opinion, having a good 1st time pass rate indicates how well the nursing program did to prepare their graduates to pass the NCLEX. 2nd time pass rates indicate how well the graduate remediated themselves after being unprepared, probably without the help from their nursing school.

    I agree. While I understand the OP's point about what kind of nurse a person will be is not necessarily reflected by NCLEX, the school is judged by this I think failry. This view is purely about how well the school prepared students to pass the NCLEX- not about what type of nurses the students will be, which can be hard ot predict.
  6. by   guiltysins
    I agree to me personally a 2nd time passer indicates that they student needed more time to educate themselves and that the school must not have done a great job, I think a 2nd time passer looks good for the nurse but you know that person has since graduated, so whatever they are doing to prepare more is not coming from the school.
  7. by   caliotter3
    The first time rate better reflects how well the school prepared the students, which is the factor that the statistics are looking for, not how well the student remediated themselves.
  8. by   bookwormom
    I guess my thought is that students who pass on the second try have in fact been adequately prepared by the school. It is hard for me to believe that in the 6 weeks or so between tests that students can significantly improve on their basic educational preparation. But they can conquer anxiety, deal with non educational issues, and the like.

    (I have had several excellent students fail boards in recent years. When I say excellent, I mean academically and clinically. I'd trust them with my family.)

    I agree that we should teach students how to handle the NCLEX successfully, but I think that there is more to nursing education than that. The purpose of the NCLEX is to determine a minimum level of safe practice. It is not fundamentally designed to measure the educational quality of a nursing program.
  9. by   cherrybreeze
    Some new grads don't pass the NCLEX on the first try because they are nervous test-takers, had other things weighing on their mind that day, etc etc....there can be a variety of reasons that are not preparation related. Some new grads don't pass the NCLEX on their first try because they are unprepared to do so. 2nd time passers cannot be counted in passing stats because there is no way to determine why failure occurred the first time. The goal of nursing school is to at the end, have a nurse who can pass the NCLEX and be licensed. If they cannot (meaning, take the test the first time and pass), it cannot count. If Jane Doe didn't pass because she gets such anxiety taking tests that she couldn't think clearly, but John Doe didn't because he didn't know enough material, should Jane's passing the 2nd time count towards the school's passing rate, but John's not? Impossible to know the difference.
  10. by   P_RN
    I see where you are going with this, but overall the school has to compare with the rest of the country and "first time passers" is the statistic they have chosen.
  11. by   Jules A
    I don't think it is an ideal system but it is designed to be a decent indicator of basic knowledge. FWIW if someone has severe anxiety they really need to get a handle on it before hitting the floor, imo. I have worked with two older new graduates with anxiety who were barely able to function even after months of working the unit. It had nothing to do with their knowledge but instead their emotional state was the issue.
  12. by   dinah77
    Yes,how could you ever sort out who failed due to lack of prep and who was prepared but let their anxiety get the best of them?

    And while the NCLEX is nerve racking and terrible, to some degree you have to be able to suck it up for a few hours and not let it cloud your mind, resulting in failing? I do think that is a good measure of how the new nurse will react to the culture shock of being on the floor during the first year,.
  13. by   shiccy
    Ultimately these stats are completely ridiculous and cra*. That said, the rationale behind the first time passage of NCLEX rule is related to the fact that these places are suppose to be educating you to be nurses from the get-go out of nursing, and it wasn't happening to most state's satisfaction.

    The rationale in my mind is that most people will study for NCLEX, sure, but will NOT take extra courses/spend extra money the first time around for things like in classroom NCLEX reviews. I'd say probably a good portion that take it a second time have subscribed or taken in class nclex reviews or at least bought a few more testing packets from the store. This means that the school didn't do their job properly in preparing you for your licensing exam
  14. by   CrazierThanYou
    I know when I look at a school's pass rates, I want to know how many passed the NCLEX the FIRST time. I don't really want to know how many had to take it over and over and over.

    I just automatically think of the pass rate as the pass rate for first time takers.