HESI, ATI, KAPLAN?

Posted

It looks to me like just about every nursing school is using tests like these. I have two questions:

1) Do any nursing schools eschew standardized testing?

2) Do faculty find one particular testing product especially "faculty and student friendly"?

Thanks!

kubivern

kubivern

Specializes in CNS, PMHNP, EMS, ER, Instructor. 52 Posts

I do not know of any schools that do not use some form of standardized testing in order to provide a baseline for both past and current academic performance and knowledge. Our school for example has used both ATI and Kaplan as a portion of the entrance requirements - the test, and portions of the test, account for approximately 40% of the total "score" each potential student receives. Overall GPA, prerequisite course GPA, years experience, and recommendation values round out the total "score" each potential student receives to determine program entry.

In using both the ATI and Kaplan, I believe that each provide valid data and are similar in their ability to predict success - both have a good statistical validity. ATI's TEAS seems to be the most popular in our area (Idaho).

dorimar

dorimar, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Education. Has 25 years experience. 635 Posts

We use HESI entrance exams for our candidates applying for entry into our program, and we also have always used the HESI exams throughout our program (worth 10% of their exam grade for the various nursing courses), and then we require a score of 850 on the Exit HESI in the final semester to graduate (with multiple chances). This has always been a point of contention with the students and a part of teaching with which I have struggled. I questioned the validity of these standardized tests and doubted whether they truly measured entry level competency (and still do). However, I am learning that these standardized tests really do prepare the students for NCLEX. I have only been formally teaching a couple of years, but recently had several students who graduated tell me the HESI's were a great preparation for the NCLEX and that they appreciated them. I have been at the bedside for a long time, and when I came to teach in the classroom, I knew I could really help prepare them for practice (and I mean good quality practice), but worried about my ability to prepare them for these standardized tests that I felt (and still sort of feel) are not really a measure of good practice. However, I have seen a true correlation in students ability to pass these standardized tests and pass NCLEX (whether I think passing NCLEX means they are ready for entry level practice is a whole n'other can of worms).

I am not preaching HESI only, but that is the only standardized testing that I have worked with, and I do feel to prepare students to pass NCLEX, the routine standardized testing helps (be that HESI, or KAPLAN, or ATI, etc.). In fact, in our upcoming program revision, we will be using both HESI & Kapaln focused tests throughout our program to compare the two.

But, I also feel that to prepare them for practice, and to prepare them to catch and prevent bad things from happening in real practice, we need to teach current real practice. Everyone talks about the gap between theory & practice, and I honestly feel that comes from the workload on faculty. It is honestly not possible for me to work any bedside hours right now with the class load and work load given to faculty that are staff (not adjunct). I put in about 60-70 hours/week prepping for class, revising curriculum, sitting on committees, etc.... Even Registry is not much of an option for me because our local big healthcare system has their own registry and they require at least 3 days/month of work (which is just about every weekend). I did not go into to teaching to leave the bedside. I loved the bedside, but I feel pushed away from the bedside in order to be faculty....

Anyway, that is going off on a tangent from standardized testing.

bookwormom

bookwormom

358 Posts

Thanks for these comments. I concur that the HESI predicts NCLEX success. But I do have concerns.

One is that testing(especially testing scores required for graduation) adds a lot of anxiety for students.

There is also the possibility of good students not meeting the minimum requirements. (I don't know how common this really is, but from student comments on this site, it does appear to be a possibility.) It seems to me that if students with decent grades do not meet the benchmarks, then the problem may be in the structure of the curriculum, which no amount of preparation or remediation by the student can fully address.

But my larger concern is that proprietary companies may be driving the structure of nursing curriculum. I think this works against innovation.

When I was in college, (long ago!!) I just loved learning everything in the nursing courses I took. It was so interesting to me. I was good student, I think, and I had no trouble with boards. But my motivation was that I loved learning, and I believed that everything I was learning would help me really care for others. Do students now have that joy? I'm so glad I didn't have the spector of testing hanging over my head.

dorimar

dorimar, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Education. Has 25 years experience. 635 Posts

I agree with your concerns about the make or break test requirement to graduate. This has been a big struggle for me. I do see however, that the only students of mine in the past two years (very few) who failed NCLEX did have to take the Exit HESI multiple times. However, my feeling has always been that if we passed them through a program all the way to the end, we should not prevent graduation if they can't pass one test made by an outside company... I guess if they made it to the end, if it is a requirement for them to pass the Exit and they can't pass it, then maybe we didn' t do our job? Not sure, but it is a troubling. I do really like that we use the HESIs in every class though. I do believe it really does prepare the students.

I hear that the NCSBN is now discouraging nursing schools for requiring an Exit Test to graduate... I am interested to see how this pans out.

bookwormom

bookwormom

358 Posts

I would like to know more about NCSBN discouraging Exit Tests. Do you know where I could read more about this?

dorimar

dorimar, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Education. Has 25 years experience. 635 Posts

I don't know much, I just know that my director told me the corporate director would like to set up a phone conference with all the nursing directors from schools in our parent company across the nation to discuss changes in our Exit HESI policy based on this new directive from the NCSBN. I am pretty excited about it. But again, I do think we should still give the HESIs throughout the program including at Exit. I just don't feel it should be make or break.