Imagine a high-jump bar. Initially, the bar is set at a medium level, then the athlete will try to jump over it without touching. If successful, then the bar is raised; if not, then it is lowered.
The bar is lowered down or raised up to the level where the athlete is able to almost alternately successfully-unsuccessfully jumps over the bar after several tries. That level is the athlete's competence level. The height of the bar is the difficulty level. If the athlete's competence level is equal or above the height set for a newbie athlete, then he passes.
Comparing to NCLEX CAT, it looks for the candidate's competence at what level of difficulty. The passing mark is set according to the level of difficulty required of newbie nurse to implement effective nursing care safely. After several questions of almost same level of difficulty are given and the candidates were able to answer 50% correctly, then that level of difficulty is the nurse's competency.
If that is outside +/-2.5% of the passing mark, the computer automatically shuts down because it already achieves 95% confidence level. If within the limit, then it will continue to give questions until 265 or until time runs out.
Aug 10, '06
Good explanation! It's amazing how few people read the NCLEX information published by the NCSBN, like the 2006 Candidate Bulletin
. If more people understood that both passers and failers tended to score around 50%, a lot of tears might be avoided.
Aug 10, '06
Perfectly makes sense ..... :spin: