Controversy over nursing exit exam

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  2. 88 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    I honestly don't get what the fuss is about. I have taken three HESI exams so far Entrance and term 1 and 2 exit exams. The HESI and the way the questions are asked were a lot easier than any questions we had in tests during class and a lot easier than any of the practice nclex. Most people did better on the HESI than they did overall in the class.
    kalevra and ohgoodnessgracious like this.
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    The big underlying point of controversy in the use of the HESI test as an exit exam is that schools that do a really lousy job of educating the students are using the exam to "hide" the fact that their students are not prepared to pass the NCLEX when they finish their coursework. The schools are passing the students along (taking their money) and not teaching the students what they need to know to succeed in nursing.

    Because most people look at the NCLEX pass rate as an indication of the quality of a school ... and many State Boards will actually close a school that does not maintain an acceptable pass rate ... the bad schools can't allow the students to take the NCLEX. So, they use the HESI to screen out those most likely to fail the NCLEX. thus maintaining an acceptable NCLEX pass rate and stay open.

    So ... the students are the big losers. They pay money to the school that does not provide good education. At the end, they have "college credit," but no diploma and no endorsement to take the NCLEX. The school takes the money and has no need to improve the education provided because the NCLEX pass rate is acceptable.

    It's happening at 2 schools in my area. A third school does't use HESI (I don't think), but gives frequent tests and works the students very hard. They definitely weed out people who are less likely to pass the NCLEX, but don't do a good job of providing education -- particularly on the clinical aspects of nursing. Lots of students either quit the program or flunk out -- but of course by then, the school has collected a lot of money from them.

    It's a shame -- but it's not really illegal or anything. These schools are providing a gateway for people to enter the nursing profession -- but a gateway that only works for people who are good test-takers. These schools are not doing a good job of education, but they are providing a service to those who choose to go to their programs. If you can pass the classes (and the tests), they will endorse you to take the NCLEX. For someone who is a strong independent learner, it works.

    But for students who need to be nurtured a bit and actively TAUGHT nursing, these programs do a lousy job. And if the students don't realize what they are signing up for when they enroll in such a program .... well ... as the old saying goes, "buyer beware." The attitude is: The students are adults who should research the program before investing their time and money. I don't like it and I am hoping that such schools start losing their NLN and/or AACN accreditations as it becomes more apparent what is actually happening.
    Last edit by llg on Feb 27, '09
    DizzyLizzyNurse, TheChair1, VICEDRN, and 32 others like this.
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    I can understand that. Well I guess I am grateful for the fact that my school despite being an expensive trade school teaches us critical thinking enough that the HESI is not an obstacle
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    There were a lot of people in my class who should have been dropped but the instructors kept adjusting the grades so people could pass. Out of 44(day and evening classes) people, only 2 passed. Some people complained nonstop so they lowered the passing score to 750. That still only helped a handful of people. The rest of the class took it again last week and still it sounds like maybe 5 passed.
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    I'm on my third attempt coming up here in mid April on the HESI. At our school, we take the first HESI attempt near the end of our third semester, and then one we just took last week, then the third attempt in mid April.
    If we don't pass the third attempt, we can still walk and be pinned with our class (gee, I love fake graduation and pinning ceremonies), but our transcript has an "I" and we get like 2-3 more chances to pass it I think. Only then can we take the NCLEX.

    I mean I guess we could have it rougher, since we actually still get to be "pinned" and "Graduate", and not flunk out altogether. We knew all along we were taking a HESI, but I dont think any of us grasped how much more different and HARDER the questions were. We felt fine doing NCLEX questions from various review courses, only to get our brains handed to us in the HESI.

    Our first test, out of 60 some odd students, only 5 passed. Our second attempt, maybe another 5-8 passed. The rest of us are on our third try. A few students even dropped 120-140 points and the class average dropped a whole 70 points on the second version of the test!! I mean what does this tell you?

    Before our second HESI, we cancelled a Friday class and had a "review" day.... which consisted of some test taking strategies on a power point we already knew, and looking at 20 questions and answering them, from a monotonous lecturer reading them also from a power point..... wow. I guess they did this to cover themselves so they could say they had done a review? NO remediation, NO practice HESIs in the difficulty and format, NOTHING.

    You know that gut feeling they say nurses eventually develop when they KNOW something just isnt right? I mean I feel like I've already developed it for this situation. I don't consider myself a dumb student by any means. If all of our hard work over the past two years is going to be judged by a third party exam, shouldn't we be getting specific review for it? Can't they order review material from the company for us instead of hanging us out to dry?

    Anyone else feel my pain? All I can do is study harder I suppose. It just doesn't seem right, especially with the nursing shortage. I feel like I should go to our interim director and discuss this, because I know a lot of the other students are in the same boat.

    Any suggestions?
    Orca and Cree8ive1 like this.
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    My school requires passage of the Exit Hesi as well, with a score of 850. In the 2 years that I have been in this NS, they've had a 20% pass rate on Exit Hesi.

    Starting in 1st semester, we've had a mini-Hesi at the end of each semester, related to the subject matter taught in that semester (med-surge 1, pedi, mental, ob, etc). Fairly simple exams that were worth 10% of our course grade.

    Now, in a graduating class of over 100, with many many "A" students that pass the mini's each semester with no problems, you'd think they'd prepared us for the Exit, right?

    Apparently not, however, as I said: 20% pass rate on the first attempt in the last 2-4 graduating classes.

    A week or two ago, our 4th level instructors informed us that we're still going to take the Hesi on exit, and 850 is still passing. However, starting with us, they are also going to administer the NLN Exit exam (which they've promised to meet with us for a bit of orientation to this exam), which is pass/fail.

    Basically, we have to pass either the Hesi with 850, OR the NLN exam with "pass", in order to move on to practicum/preceptorship and then graduation/NCLEX.

    NOT both. One or the other. Apparently, the NLN is much easier than the Hesi. I guess they got tired of trying to justify that 80% fail rate on Hesi.

    As I've stated to them several times: If 10% - 20% of your class is failing, you can blame that on the students not studying or working hard enough or whatever. If 70% - 80% of your class is failing, you need to look at the instruction being given.

    I'm pretty much an "A" student (damn you, OB) so far, with just 3-4 months to go. Here's hoping I can pass one of the two!
    DizzyLizzyNurse and Orca like this.
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    Quote from BortaZinTx
    My school requires passage of the Exit Hesi as well, with a score of 850. In the 2 years that I have been in this NS, they've had a 20% pass rate on Exit Hesi.

    Starting in 1st semester, we've had a mini-Hesi at the end of each semester, related to the subject matter taught in that semester (med-surge 1, pedi, mental, ob, etc). Fairly simple exams that were worth 10% of our course grade.

    Now, in a graduating class of over 100, with many many "A" students that pass the mini's each semester with no problems, you'd think they'd prepared us for the Exit, right?

    Apparently not, however, as I said: 20% pass rate on the first attempt in the last 2-4 graduating classes.

    A week or two ago, our 4th level instructors informed us that we're still going to take the Hesi on exit, and 850 is still passing. However, starting with us, they are also going to administer the NLN Exit exam (which they've promised to meet with us for a bit of orientation to this exam), which is pass/fail.

    Basically, we have to pass either the Hesi with 850, OR the NLN exam with "pass", in order to move on to practicum/preceptorship and then graduation/NCLEX.

    NOT both. One or the other. Apparently, the NLN is much easier than the Hesi. I guess they got tired of trying to justify that 80% fail rate on Hesi.

    As I've stated to them several times: If 10% - 20% of your class is failing, you can blame that on the students not studying or working hard enough or whatever. If 70% - 80% of your class is failing, you need to look at the instruction being given.

    I'm pretty much an "A" student (damn you, OB) so far, with just 3-4 months to go. Here's hoping I can pass one of the two!
    and they didnt like hearing it, did they!!....lol, but true, none the less
    DizzyLizzyNurse, Orca, Dianacabana, and 2 others like this.
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    No, they didn't. If looks could kill...
  11. 3
    Quote from BortaZinTx
    No, they didn't. If looks could kill...
    sometimes the truth hurts....however, someone with an educators background/education, would know this......and recognize the issue.
    sharpeimom, NRSKarenRN, and Bortaz, RN like this.


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