HESI exit exam as a requirement to graduate from the Rhode Island College Nursing Program


Hello, I am a nursing student at Rhode Island College in Providence, RI. I have just recently been denied graduating and receiving my degree from the RIC School of Nursing due to being unable to reach a set cut-score, or benchmark, set by the college on a Progression Policy, high-stakes, standardized comprehensive exit exam called the HESI. I made it all the way to the end of the four-year program, with honors in Sigma Theta Tau and a 3.527 GPA, just to be told that I cannot receive my degree because I didn't reach this benchmark set by the college. This is not a national exam, and in some literature, the HESI exit exam has been proven to be an inaccurate predictor of who would pass or fail the NCLEX examination. It has also been said that schools who use the HESI as a requirement to graduate from their programs are just using this measure in order to "protect their NCLEX pass rate". In my opinion, the schools should be providing a sufficient education to their students for them to be able to pass the NCLEX and not have to rely on a third-party vendor test making company to prepare its students for the NCLEX. This is an injustice being done to myself, other students at the college, and many other students throughout the country. We have all spent thousands of dollars and years of our lives devoted to these nursing programs, just to be denied our degree and graduating due one test that has nothing to do with the curriculum provided by the program. Not to mention, myself and all of my classmates were completely unaware of the HESI until we were at least half-way through the program. This sneaky, underhanded practice needs to stop, so I have attached the link to a petition that I have just started to stop the HES exit exam as a requirement to graduate from Rhode Island College's Nursing Program. Maybe if I can make a difference at my school the effects will reach other schools and we can all put an end to this problem. We all deserve a chance to fulfill our dreams of becoming nurses and don't deserve to be robbed of this right by these nursing programs. Thanks for reading and please help by signing my petition!! You can be anonymous, and its free!! Thanks!!!

Stop the HESI exit exam at Rhode Island College!

This is the link to the petition. Thanks for signing!!!!

Stop the HESI exit exam at Rhode Island College! Petition

You state that the school's progression policy was defined and part of that policy was a benchmark score on the exit HESI in order to graduate.. you also say that you were not made aware of this policy until 1/2 way into your program.. was the policy there the entire time and you simply did not read it or did they not enact it until after your start of the program?

either way I'm not sure you have a valid defense since taking into consideration that most nursing programs are 2 years.. this means that you had at least 1 year notice of this policy and exam... also if any cohorts ahead of you took the exam that lessens any possible argument you may have.

And I'm not exactly sure what you would wish to accomplish with your petition.. how could people from anywhere in the world that are not even involved with your school signing your petition possibly influence your school to alter their policy??

That being said.. I do feel for your situation.. in my program I have to take the exit HESI a total of 3 times and the graduation requirement is (1) the average of all the scores must be 76% or higher AND (2) at least one of the scores must be => 900. Trust me when I tell you that I'm using every opportunity that I have between now and my takes to brush up on content as well practice questions...

Best of luck to you.


12 Posts

203bravo, I am simply trying to bring awareness to an issue that not many people know about.

NICUmiiki, DNP, NP

1,774 Posts

Specializes in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Has 8 years experience.

Yea... I just can't sign that. Did you start a petition half-way through the program when you first found out about having to take the HESI to graduate? It wasn't grossly unfair enough to start a petition then?

Other than that, I just don't think having a comprehensive test as required by your school's policy is that unfair.


12 Posts

Miiki, I'm guessing, like the majority of nurses out there, that you didn't have to take a third-party vendor progressive, high-stakes exit exam like the HESI in order to receive your degree and sit for the boards...

NICUmiiki, DNP, NP

1,774 Posts

Specializes in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Has 8 years experience.


One of my classes in the last semester was a Pass/Fail course. You must have passed the HESI E2 in order to pass the class.

You don't pass the HESI = you don't pass the course = you don't meet the requirements to graduate.

My school also incorporated at least 2 HESI subject exams every semester.

Every school in my area requires their students to pass a comprehensive final, either HESI or ATI.

Specializes in Ambulatory Care-Family Medicine. Has 12 years experience.

We had to take the HESI exit in order for our director to send our paperwork to the board of nursing to sit for the nclex. We could graduate but sit for boards until we passed the HESI all the schools in this area are like that. This is not new.


1,761 Posts

Specializes in Neuro, Telemetry. Has 8 years experience.

This is a LOT more common then you think and most relatively new nurses had to take and pass such exams. Not all schools require it for matriculation and graduation. But most at least use the test for grading. If they don't use HESI, they use some other form of exit exam like ATI or whatever. And I agree that getting signatures from random people not affiliated with your school, will do nothing to help your cause. You need to petition from within your schools students and alumni to see any result.

So do I agree that students can pass an entire nursing course and then be denied graduation based on HESI? Definitely not. But I do question why you only started to care when you did not pass. To get more credit, this should have been petitioned when you first learned of the requirement. Not after you failed as it is similar to getting fired from a job and attempting to take down other other employees in the way out. Lastly, since you were aware of this 1-2 years before the end of the program, you agreed to it being used as an exit/graduation exam.

This is totally sucks and I feel for you truly. But there not much you can do to change this requirement. If not HESI, then other exam will be used.

Specializes in ICU.

We do ATI. I have ATI tests for every class I take and a big one at the end. We have to score a level 2 or above. This is not an uncommon practice. The whole reason schools have to protect their NCLEX pass rates is so they can remain accredited. It's pretty simple reasoning. You knew about this test a year in advance. So essentially what you are saying is that if you had known about the test from the beginning (and I assume this was in some kind of paperwork you got the first day and lost), you would have chosen not to go to this school because of it's policy? I'm thinking no, you still would have gone to this program.

I will not sign a petition because a student fails to meet the requirements of a program and then screams it's not fair. It sounds like a toddler tantrum.

JustBeachyNurse, LPN

1 Article; 13,952 Posts

Specializes in Complex pedi to LTC/SA & now a manager. Has 13 years experience.

You don't have a right to graduate unless you meet the requirements therefore you are not being "robbed" of this "right". Education post high school is a privilege not a right. How are the signatures of random anonymous strangers from a public, internationally read message board going to have any impact on your cause at one school in Rhode Island?

I doubt administration or the BoN cares about any of our thoughts.

springchick1, ADN, RN

1 Article; 1,769 Posts

You didn't meet the requirements of graduation, which you more than likely knew long before graduation, so your going to start a petition? Really?

I guess I don't understand what the petition is supposed to do. Why don't you spend all that time and energy studying for HESI? Then you can pass, graduate, and take the NCLEX. Seems like a much better use of your time n


993 Posts

I personally think that requirement kinda sucks.

My school gives us the exit HESI as a diagnostic tool, to see what areas we have to improve in before taking NCLEX.

I can't think of a valid reason other then the school to use it that way other than to protect their NCLEX pass rate. So I think it's pretty crap that you can't get your degree, after you completed all your course work.

But then again OP, if you can't pass the HESI after multiple attempts... Do you believe you could pass the NCLEX? You'd still be in the same predicament, unable to practice as an RN.