Hi I really need help with this situation. I'm taking fundamentals of nursing and my professors makes her own NCLEX style test questions, that require critical thinking and using test taking skills, such as eliminating the distractors and breaking down the question. Now, the problem with her test is that she never has right and wrong answer choices, making it more difficult for students. Another problem is that the questions she uses are not reviewed like the NCLEX questions, which makes them pretty much useless. After every test the majority of the students, have to challenge questions and she ends up curving the test by 10 points or more. Is this fair? Should she be able to pick and choose who passes the class based on her improper test questions that dont have just one right and three wrong answer choices. Its really becoming annoying that we have to challenge her questions at the end of every test and I dont know what to do because this class is the first class of my nursing program. I wish she would use the professors version of the text book to reinforce her teaching because some of the questions she makes up are not even relavent to what we are learning in the book. So Im asking, if you all have these kinds of problems, or is this something that I have to deal with?
Jun 19, '09
Quote from NewTheoryRC
Should she be able to pick and choose who passes the class based on her improper test questions that dont have just one right and three wrong answer choices.
Questions you will encounter on your state boards will often have more than one right answer, you have to pick which one is "most correct." They test your critical thinking ability.
Jun 19, '09
when taking tests you always must remember the abc's, airway, breathing, circulation. when i first started i found that i didn't like the questions either. you may want to get a copy of fundamentals success, or an nclex study guide that's divided by body systems, and topics with questions to practice with. these helped me tremendously. i also use reviews and rationales.
nursing school is a completely different world than other college classes. we were told when we started, that if it was mentioned in class, on our powerpoints, a reference referred to on either of the last two, or in the assigned reading (including all the little tables or boxes) it was fair game for a test question.)
as well, it's one thing to question a test question based on evidence/legality, it's another thing to be the student who whines about the tests repeatedly without anything to back it up (sorry if that sounds harsh). i've just seen the students who are the "high maintainence" students become the overly scrutinized students.
there's one i can think of right now. she's not in my class, but i had heard some things from other students about her. i'm not one to listen to others opinions and just accept them. since she's older like me, she sometimes comes and sits near me at lunch at the hospital. i've listened to her, she talks a lot (i'm extremely quiet at lunch preferring to just rest every muscle in my body including my mouth, this gives talkers great openings). apparently, every instructor she's ever had hates her in her opinion. they all pick on her and expect too much of her. admittedly, i've had one who i couldn't mesh with, but never all of them. i'd love to be able to tell her: "did you ever think that maybe it's you and the fact that you run your mouth non stop about insignificant carp diddly constantly, and that it makes you look incompetent? therefore they are going to be on your tush to make sure they don't graduate an incompetent nurse."
Jun 19, '09
It's fully appropriate for the teacher to be the one who decides "who passes and who fails." That is what you are paying them for. When you "buy" education, you buy the opportunity to learn from the teacher and to be the recipient of that teacher's expertise and judgments. If the teacher only repeats what it is in the book and only tests using standard questions from a bank ... then the students aren't getting the full benefit of what that teacher has to offer. They may as well simply read the book and take standardized online tests.
It's the teacher's job to evaluate whether or not the students have learned the material that she is trying to teach. That job includes the writing of test questions and making decisions as to the quality of those questions based on any input she receives. Be happy you have a teacher who is willing to listen to the students and reconsider particular questions based on their input.
The questions in the test banks that come with some of the textbooks are not necessarily better questions. Most have not been selected based on some indepth pocess of question development and testing. Many are simply the ones written by the person who wrote the book -- unlike the actual NCLEX that undergoes rigorous development procedures and testing for validity and reliability. Textbooks can be wrong and so can their accompaying test questions.
Also ... not all books come with test banks. And even those that do can not possibly include questions that take what may have been said in class into consideration.
The situation the OP describes is not by itself indicative of any problem with the class -- though it may be an annoyance for her.
Jun 19, '09
your instructor is giving you test questions to examine what she wanted you to learn about the specific content of the material and not particularly what the professors version of the text book was. that is only appropriate and her right as your teacher. how else can your instructor know if you have learned the concepts she wanted you to master? the textbook version of the test, like the nclex, is going to cover what the textbook writers felt you needed to learn and covers material important to the widest range of learners. they are often only skeletal frameworks.
i think what you are missing is that your instructor is using her tests and the discussion afterward to help sharpen your critical thinking skills. i'm sure she doesn't intentionally mean for each test question to become controversial. what is happening is that after the test you are being exposed to some of that review process and being allowed to exercise some critical thinking that perhaps your instructor failed to consider when composing her tests. none of us is completely perfect or fair and we all have something to learn including you and your instructor. take some pride in knowing that you are having a part in the development of these tests.
as far as nclex is concerned, nclex questions are designed for a very broad population of test takers and is a test of your minimum knowledge of nursing. questions on the nclex are carefully checked for fairness and that they don't delve too deeply into specifics that one school might teach while another might not. medical and nursing treatment also varies from area to area of the u.s. each nclex question undergoes a rigorous process of being reviewed by boards of many, many people to assure this fairness before it even makes it onto the actual test that someone takes. your instructor doesn't have that available to her, but she has you students and your thoughts to help her fine tune her test questions.
the majority of nursing students enter nursing school not understanding what critical thinking is. it has always been the dilemma of nursing educators of how to teach nursing students to rationalize out solutions to problems. most students have to be dragged kicking and screaming into learning critical thinking. however, as rns we have to be able to solve problems and manage patient care on a daily basis and being able to think critically is a huge part of that.
it is unfortunate that you dislike scrambling for points on a test. if i asked you in a job interview to tell me about a situation in which you disagreed with how your instructors handled something and you told me about this i would immediately make a connection to patient advocacy and say to you, "as an rn you will be a patient advocate and many times you will need to seek out discussion with doctors or other healthcare professionals with regard to the care your patients are, or are not, getting. how will you handle a doctor who you will need to continually call because he fails to order something for your patients you feel is necessary or writes orders you don't feel are necessary?"
Jun 19, '09
Well the main point I try to emphasize is a test is used not only for the teacher to evaluate the students understanding of the material, but for students to know if they are learning they right material. I guess your right when you say I should be lucky that we get to challenge the questions but that just makes the process of learning more difficult because she doesn't explain the rationale behind the right answer. I believe there is a problem somewhere in the learning process and its not right to assume the professor is always right, maybe there is a shortage of nursing instructors for a reason. It could be its not an easy job and theres a fine line between a good/bad professor, not all schools have a desirable NCLEX pass rate. Scrambling for points on the test is fine, not knowing if im learning the material.. nonsense!
Last edit by NewTheoryRC on Jun 19, '09
Jun 19, '09
Perhaps you should schedule a meeting with the instructor and explain that you are not sure if you are learning the material as well as you are expected to. Ask her for a more indepth assessment of your progress in her class.
... Or perhaps ... you can judge for yourself how well you are doing by comparing your grades to those of your classmates. If your grades are consistently above average, you are probably doing OK. If not, then you probably have some weak areas you should focus on.
Also, review the course objectives. How well do YOU think you are meeting those objectives? What knowledge and skills do you have now that you did not have at the beginning of the class? What things are coming easy for you? What things are you struggling with? Combine this type of information with a comparison of your grades and that should give you a pretty good idea as to your learning.
Jun 19, '09
Nursing exams typically don't have three wrong answers and one right. Quite often all will be right and you will need to choose the best one.I encountered many tests like this and we were told that this would prepare us for our licensing exams at the end. Material covered in the tests came from many different sources than the text.Even something discussed in class(usually an experience from the teachers own nursing experience) was fair game.
Jun 20, '09
I wish I had this type of exam in Fundamentals! Knowledge-based questions will only get you through the first semester of nursing school. Everything after that is 4 or 5 correct answers and you have to select the "most correct".
I know it must be frustrating (I can definitely see your point) BUT you will be grateful when you get to Med-Surg.
See your professor...get some study tips or other resources she might recommend.
Wishing you the best of luck!
Jun 20, '09
Thanks for your feedback everyone! I appreciate it and hope to be as helpful as you in the future..
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