my little analysis of the NCLEX - page 4

what do you think of this logic? wouldn't the chances of passing (if you felt you bombed) be higher if the test shut off at 80-90 questions? i think this only because from what i read there are 3... Read More

  1. by   chrysalus1003
    Quote from IMustBeCrazy
    My brain has to keep it simple. This is the way it was described to me, and works for me because I am a visual learner.



    ________________HIGH DIFFICULTY________________

    ________________MODERATE DIFFICULTY___________

    _______________MINIMUM PASSING STANDARD_______

    _______________BELOW STANDARD_________________

    _______________COMPLETELY UNSAFE______________




    Each answer you give will place you somewhere on the continuum, above. If you fail to answer a question, you will then get a follow up question with lesser difficulty. The idea is to get more questions right above the Minimum passing standard than below it. Whether it is this 'simple', I'm not sure, but I liked the explanation anyway.
    And this, my friend, is on my wavelength. Thanks
  2. by   RNIAM
    Quote from BamaGirlRN
    www.ncsbn.org/testing/candidates_info_cat.asp


    text:
    Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) Overview

    Computerized adaptive testing (CAT) is a method for administering tests which uses current computer technology and measurement theory. The NCLEX examination administered via CAT uses standard NCLEX examination multiple-choice questions. With CAT, each candidate's test is unique: it is assembled interactively as the individual is tested. As the candidate answers each question, the computer calculates an ability estimate based on all earlier answers. The test questions, which are stored in a large item bank and classified by test plan area and level of difficulty, are then scanned and the one determined to measure the candidate most precisely in the appropriate test plan area is selected and presented on the computer screen. This process is repeated for each question, creating an examination tailored to the individual's knowledge and skills while fulfilling all NCLEX test plan requirements. The examination continues in this way until a pass or fail decision is made. CAT provides greater measurement efficiency, as it administers only those questions which will offer the best measurement of the candidate's ability.

    The way a CAT examination works is very similar to the way an educator might administer an oral examination. After a candidate's response to the first question asked, the educator assesses the candidate's ability level, then asks another question, based on this preliminary assessment. The candidate's answer to this second question provides the educator more information about the candidate's ability, and the educator's assessment is becoming more precise. This process continues, with the educator asking either easier or more difficult questions, based on the candidate's responses. This type of examination, like a CAT examination, is tailored to each individual candidate, and only those questions which will measure the candidate's ability the best are administered. During an oral examination, the educator makes an assessment of the candidate's ability, then chooses the appropriate level of difficulty for each question administered. In a CAT examination, this process is built into the computer system.

    NCLEX examination decisions are not based solely on how many questions a candidate answers correctly, but also on the difficulty of the questions a candidate answers correctly. CAT administers questions with difficulty levels so that each candidate will answer about half correctly; these questions provide the most information. Thus, all candidates answer about 50 percent correctly: passing candidates answer 50 percent of more difficult questions correctly, and failing candidates answer 50 percent of easier questions correctly.

    Even though candidates may answer different questions and different numbers of questions, the NCLEX examination administered using CAT is fair to every candidate. All examinations conform to either the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN Test Plan which controls inclusion of important nursing content, and all candidates have ample opportunity to demonstrate their ability, as the examination won't end until stability of the pass/fail result is assured or time runs out.

    How CAT Works: A Candidate Primer


    The goal of computerized adaptive testing, or CAT, is to determine your ability, based on the difficulty of questions you can answer correctly, not how many questions you can answer correctly. This is a fundamentally different approach than is used on paper-and-pencil tests, where everyone receives the same questions. CAT examinations are individualized.

    We know the exact difficulty of the approximately 1500 questions in each operational NCLEX examination item pool because each has been taken as a pretest question by hundreds of candidates and then statistically analyzed. Picture the questions all lined up, from easiest to hardest. If we asked you the easiest questions, you'd get most of them right. If we asked you the hardest, you'd probably get most wrong. As we move from easy to hard, there will come a point where you go from getting more right to getting more wrong. This is the point where you are answering 50 percent correctly. Questions harder than that you would probably answer incorrectly (you'd get some right, but more wrong); questions easier than that, you would probably answer correctly. The goal of CAT is to find that point for you. That point is different for everyone. Nursing experts could probably answer at least one-half of the hardest questions we could ask. We'd have to ask beginning nursing students the very easiest ones before they could answer even one-half correctly. You probably fall somewhere between those two points.

    First, the computer asks a relatively easy question, and if you answer it correctly, it asks a somewhat harder question. As you continue answering correctly, the questions get harder and harder. When you start missing questions, they get easier until you start answering them right again, then they get a little harder. Each time you answer one correctly, the next is harder. Each time you answer one incorrectly, the next is easier. This process continues as it zigzags, narrowing in on the point where you answer 50 percent correctly, e.g., one right, then one wrong. That point represents your ability level. This is why everyone ends up correctly answering about 50 percent of the questions he or she is asked.

    After you have answered the minimum number of questions, the computer compares your estimated ability level to the passing standard and makes one of three decisions:

    One, if you are clearly above the passing standard, you pass and the examination ends.
    Two, if you are clearly below the passing standard, you fail and the examination ends.
    Three, if your ability estimate is close enough to the passing standard that it's still not clear whether you should pass or not, the computer continues to ask you questions.

    "Clearly" passing or failing is defined as when the "gray zone" around your ability level falls entirely above or below the passing standard. The gray zone is the region within which your estimate might vary if you answer more questions. The gray zone shrinks a little after each question because your estimate is based on more information.

    After each question, your ability level and the gray zone are recomputed, adding your new response to all of your previous answers. When the gray zone is entirely on one side or the other of the passing standard, you've clearly passed or failed and the examination ends.

    Of course, some people's ability level is very close to the passing standard. For some of these people, all the questions in the item pool still might not be enough to make it "clear" whether they should pass or fail. When a candidate's ability level is very close to the passing standard, the computer continues to administer questions to them until the maximum number of items is reached. At this point, the computer disregards the gray zone and simply looks at whether the final ability estimate, based on every question answered, is above or below passing. If you are above it, you pass. If not, you fail.

    I love this explanation of how the test works. It makes sense to me now! Thank you for posting this. I passed at 75 questions.
  3. by   Sahara311
    ok, just took the d@m thing...it shut off at 90 or so....scared the daylights outta me, the screen just went white then gray then blue.... I can only hope...my state anticipates early results, too....thank god my unit has internet, you can bet I will be checking that thing every hour or so for the next couple of days...
    the questions, to me, seemed to bounce all over the radar... I only had 1 math problem...
    I quit smoking a month ago, I bought a pack today dang the nerves!!!!
  4. by   BORI-BSNRN
    Sahara311 hi. what is that about that the screen just went white, gray & blue? it's like that? what it mean?
    Thanks in advance!!

    Bori
  5. by   KatieBell
    Quote from BORI-BSNRN
    Sahara311 hi. what is that about that the screen just went white, gray & blue? it's like that? what it mean?
    Thanks in advance!!

    Bori
    Thats pretty much what happened to me, at 75. It just stopped. My screen went grey and then some message came up to see the proctor, who made some sort of comment about how short a time I took (about 40 minutes with a break)I was entirely surprised and sort of wanted more questions.


    I get that the origianl part of the thread was supposed to be funny, but please keep in mind many people take everything hey read about NCLEX seriously, simley face or not.
  6. by   JKDON
    It's been awhile, but we were told before taking boards (computerized), that the first 15 or so questions are designed to assess your reading competency level for questions. When you miss a question of a particular level, other questions will come forth that are at a different reading level. If you shut off at 75, the minimum #, you got enough right to determine minimum competency, I think we were told 60% correct answers. Throughout the test as you miss questions, the computer continues to change the reading level of questions and as it does and determines the level of questioning you need it shoots more questions to determine competency until you reach 60% correct answers. Hence the rational for people having all kinds of numbers of questions.
    I just think it is scary to imagine getting my license to practice based on only 60 questions.
  7. by   nursemomruns
    Quote from JKDON
    It's been awhile, but we were told before taking boards (computerized), that the first 15 or so questions are designed to assess your reading competency level for questions. When you miss a question of a particular level, other questions will come forth that are at a different reading level. If you shut off at 75, the minimum #, you got enough right to determine minimum competency, I think we were told 60% correct answers. Throughout the test as you miss questions, the computer continues to change the reading level of questions and as it does and determines the level of questioning you need it shoots more questions to determine competency until you reach 60% correct answers. Hence the rational for people having all kinds of numbers of questions.
    I just think it is scary to imagine getting my license to practice based on only 60 questions.
    It is the difficulty level, not the reading level that the computer uses. The reading level is pretty consistent throughout the exams.
  8. by   adcheek12
    Hi I just took the test yesterday. I ended with 125, I didn't get a lot of priority questions and I didn't get a lot of them in a row. I did get the last question right, do you all think I passed?
  9. by   adcheek12
    Hi I just took the test yesterday. I ended with 125, I didn't get a lot of priority questions and I didn't get a lot of them in a row. I did get the last question right, do you all think I passed?
  10. by   mgalloLPN
    [font=book antiqua]i found this letter that was written by accident. i was just looking for info on the nclex and this is what i got. the letter was written to someone that had failed the nclex.

    [font=book antiqua]hope it helps.



    [font=book antiqua]dear ms. garrison:

    [font=book antiqua]i am writing in response to your letter concerning computerized adaptive testing for nclex.

    [font=book antiqua]perhaps i can explain how computerized adaptive testing for the nclex works. the goal of computerized adaptive testing or cat, is to determine your competence, based on the difficulty of questions you can answer correctly, not how many questions you can answer correctly. this is a fundamentally different approach than is used on paper-and-pencil tests, where everyone receives the same questions. cat examinations are individualized.

    [font=book antiqua]we know the exact difficulty of each of the approximately 3,000 questions in the pool, because each has been taken as a tryout question by thousands of candidates and then statistically analyzed. picture the questions all lined up, from easiest to hardest. if we asked you the easiest questions, you'd get most of them right. if we asked you the hardest, you would probably get most wrong. as we move from easy to hard, there will come a point where you go from getting more right...to...getting more wrong. this is the point where you are answering 50% correctly. questions harder than that, you would probably answer incorrectly (you'd get some right, but more wrong); questions easier than that, you would probably answer correctly. that point is different for everyone. nursing experts could probably answer at least one-half of the hardest questions we could ask. whereas, we'd have to ask beginning nursing students the very easiest ones before they could answer even one-half correctly. you probably fall somewhere between those two points. the goal of cat is to find that point for you. your competence level is related to the difficulty level of the questions at the point where you can answer half of the questions correctly.

    [font=book antiqua]first, the computer asks a relatively easy question, and if you answer it correctly, it asks a somewhat harder question. as you continue answering correctly, the questions get harder and harder. when you start missing questions, they get easier until you start answering them right again, then they get a little harder. each time you answer one correctly, the next is harder. each time you answer one incorrectly, the next is easier. this process continues as it zig-zags, narrowing in on the point where you answer 50% correctly, e.g., one right, then one wrong. that point represents your competence level. this is why everyone ends up correctly answering 50% of the questions they are asked.

    [font=book antiqua]after you have answered the minimum number of questions, the computer compares your competence level to the passing standard amd makes one of three decisions:

    [font=book antiqua]*if you are clearly above the passing standard, you pass and the examination ends.
    [font=book antiqua]*if you are clearly below the passing standard, then you fail and the examination ends.
    [font=book antiqua]*if your competence level is close enought to the passing standard that it's still not clear whether you should pass or not, then the computer continues to ask you questions.

    [font=book antiqua]"clearly" passing or failing is defined as when the "gray zone" around your competence level falls entirely above or below the passing standard. the gray zone is the region within which your competence level might vary if you answer more questions. the gray zone shrinks a little after each question because your competence level is based on more information.

    [font=book antiqua]if you can answer the difficult questions correctly, there's no point in wasting your time giving you a lot of easy questions. or, if you can't answer the easy ones correctly, then you won't be able to answer the difficult ones. in fact, the computer often could make a decision after less than the minimum of 60 questions, but 60 is necessary to ensure coverage of the nclex test plan. it is improtant you get the opportunity to answer several questions in each of the nclex test plan content areas in case you have particular strengths or weaknesses.

    [font=book antiqua]after each question, your competence level and the gray zone are recomputed, adding your new response to all of your previous answers. when the gray zone in entirely on one side or the other of the passing standard, you've clearly passed or failed and the examination ends.

    [font=book antiqua]of course, some people's competence level is very close to the passing standard. for some of these people, all 3,000 questions in the item pool still might not be enought to make it "clear" whether they should pass or fail. these are the people who take the maximum number of questions. at this point, the computer disregards the gray zone and simply looks at whether the final competence level, based on every question answered, is above or below passing. if you are above it, you pass. if not, you do not pass.

    [font=book antiqua]therefore, a candidate's final competence estimate is not determined by the number of questions she/he can answer correctly. this is a fundamentally different approach than is used on paper-and-pencil tests, where everyone receives the same questions. cat examinations are individualized. the examination continues until the difficulty level is found where you are answering about half of the questions correctly. this corresponds to your competence level. if the level is above the passing standard, then you pass; if not, you do not pass.

    [font=book antiqua]because the examination continues until it finds the level where you are consistently answering about 50% of the questions right, in the end everyone gets 50% right. what differs is the difficulty of the questions they were able to answer correctly half of the time. the pass/fail decision is based on the competence level corresponding to that difficulty, not on a percentange correct.

    [font=book antiqua]each examination is designed to meet all requirements of the nclex test plan with a certain percentage of questions in each test plan area. it is not designed to administer a rephrased questions for questions you answered incorrectly. each question is selected randomly from the item pool and any similarity between items is a coincidence.

    [font=book antiqua]you are not allowed to skip questions or go back to review or change previous answers because the heart of the cat methodology, adaptive branching through the examination, makes skipping or revising earlier answers logically invalid. once a answer is recorded, all subsequent questions administered depend, to an extent, on that response. if that response had been different, you would have received different questions. skipping and returning to earlier questions my be appropriate stategies for taking a conventional paper-and pencil examination; they do not make sense for a cat examination. you are not being disavantaged by the inability to skip questions or to go back to change previous answers. if you are uncertain of an answer and make an incorrect guess, your competence level is calculated to be slightly lower than it was just before the last question was administered. the next question presented to you will be easier, making it more likely you will answer correctly. thus, you will not "dig yourself into a hole" from which you cannot return, since computerized adaptive testing has a built-in, self-correcting mechanism.

    [font=book antiqua]test anxiety is indeed a problem for many people. in fact, it was part of the motivation for going to computerized testing, where a candidate may test on the time and day of their choice, in a more private and peaceful environment than a crowded gymnasium with hundreds of other worried candidates. the sample questions give you an opportunity to "settle in" to the testing situation and to practice with the necessary keyboard strokes. if the first 10 "real" questions did not count towards your score,...{which you have suggested}...they would not be "real" anymore, and we would simply have 13 sample questions. the tutorial and sample questions provoide extensive practice with the system. additional sample questions probably would not help.

    [font=book antiqua]all legal and psychometric studies, and field test of computerized adative testing (cat) methodology indicate it is valid, reliable, fair, and defensible. as series of studies were conducted on over 11,000 candidates before the decision was made to implement cat. the studies consistently showed that nclex using cat provided comparable candidate performance to paper-and-pencil nclex. in addition, pass rates from the first year of cat were practically identical to those from the last year of paper-and pencil.....

    [font=book antiqua]i hope this information will assist you....

    [font=book antiqua]sincerely,

    [font=book antiqua]ellen julian, ph.d. psychometrician





    http://caring4you.net/concept.html
    Last edit by mgalloLPN on Jul 2, '07 : Reason: Computer problem
  11. by   luv2shopp85
    In the STAT nursing review course we had at school the instructor told us that you must consistently have 60 questions in a ROW above the passing standard. That doesn't mean they all have to be right, but you just can't drop below the passing standard. Once you do then you start back at 1 and have to achieve 59 more above the passing standard.
  12. by   ohmeowzer RN
    my friend took the nclex first he failed at 76 then he took it again and passed at 76 .. weird huh?
  13. by   abhsman
    i took my nclex yesterday had 75 questions. a lot of pick all that apply and a lot of priority. i also had 4-5 med questions. is this a good or bad sign?

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