Minimum Scores for Boards

  1. Hello,

    I was speaking with family members the other day about my board certification exam. I plan to take the ANCC for FNP and have been studying diligently for it. A family member asked what the minimum score for passing was, and I said I was not sure, but I was pretty sure it was either 65% or 75%. This baffled them, and they stated that they sure hope that it's 75%, because it would be scary to have a practitioner that "barely" passed at 65%. This intrigued me, and I have be searching to see what the minimum scores are for other professions. For physicians, USMLE Step 1 minimum is roughly 55-60%, but then Step 2 and Step 3 increases vaguely in terms of the minimum score to pass. PANCE also comes out to be approximately 65% minimum score, but each question is weighed differently.

    What do you think? Do you think it is too low of a minimum score for the profession, or that it is appropriately scored and weighed?
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  2. Poll: Is the minimum passing score of nurse practitioner certification exams too low?

    • Yes

      66.67% 2
    • No

      33.33% 1
    3 Votes
  3. 8 Comments

  4. by   lwsoccjs
    Difference between USLME and ours would be yes low initial pass but need to score high to get any decent residency so take that with consideration. Yes the minimum standard is very low. NP schools want a 84 to pass school but only a low 60s to practice. Hmm seems set up to benefit everyone except the general public we treat.
  5. by   stickit34
    Quote from lwsoccjs
    Difference between USLME and ours would be yes low initial pass but need to score high to get any decent residency so take that with consideration. Yes the minimum standard is very low. NP schools want a 84 to pass school but only a low 60s to practice. Hmm seems set up to benefit everyone except the general public we treat.
    I do find that funny. My program required a B to pass, and anything less would result in dismissal from the program. But when it comes to national certification, a basically failing score is acceptable. I don't understand how it can be acceptable, or how it ensures the quality of nurse practitioners entering into practice.
  6. by   meanmaryjean
    Angoff scoring probably plays into this. Wherein a 'pass' or 'cut' score seems to be expressed as a percentage, but really isn't.
  7. by   lwsoccjs
    The the Angoff scoring with their use of the "subject experts" that make the ultimate decision are still setting the bar low at 500/800 to pass at 62.5%.
  8. by   meanmaryjean
    But all such exams (including NCLEX) are designed to measure minimum competency to practice.
  9. by   lwsoccjs
    Again minimum, which to the OP's question is indeed to low atleast in my opinion. To each their own I guess. Like I said it benefits share holders in the profession, students etc just not the public because of the low standards.
  10. by   stickit34
    I guess I find it disturbing that there is such a low passing score for both board certification exams for FNPs, and I see and hear so many students fail one exam or both exams. It makes me think about what quality of an education they're receiving at their programs, or if there needs to be further regulation as to the academic requirements for entry into programs. I'm not saying someone can't be a horrible test taker; I'm a person who scored below average on the SATs while having a 3.85 GPA in college prep in high school. But it definitely concerns me that a roughly 25% (according to Fitzgerald) of NP students do not pass their certification exams. Compare this to the 94% of PA students who passed the PANCE on their first try. It definitely makes us look inferior and unprepared.

    I wonder if the NP certification boards had to publicly post their results, how quickly the educational programs and regulations would change...
  11. by   lwsoccjs
    If it makes you feel better you are not alone. I honestly feel if people thought about it objectively most would be disturbed. But many have a foot in the race so they rationalize that it isn't that bad. Or they use the excuse of that's how we have always done it etc etc etc. Change is a difficult subject especially when it requires more work from individuals and doesn't exactly benefit themselves.

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