When I took boards in 1993,(back when it was still pen to paper) was taking the test for the third time, so it was happening then, to some extent. 100% of our class passed, 100% of our class that started semester 1, finished. Took 6 weeks to get results of NCLEX. Didn't have one doubt in my mind that I would pass.
One of my coworkers is in nursing school now. Started with 30, and by semester 3, they are down to 18. (for-profit school)