Jump to content

So what is the problem with the passing rates?

NCLEX   (2,436 Views 15 Comments)
by HeartsOpenWide HeartsOpenWide, RN (Member)

HeartsOpenWide is a RN and specializes in Ante-Intra-Postpartum, Post Gyne.

2 Articles; 26,485 Profile Views; 2,889 Posts

I see so many people on here talking about how they failed the NCLEX; some more than once or twice! I just don't get it. They make it hard to get high grades at my school because they say "what is the point of getting your degree if you can not pass the boards?" Why are so many people failing? Is it the school? Is it the person, did they barely pass nursing school anyway? At our school they try to always use NCLEX style questions for tests. Where to you think the problem lies?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

21 Posts; 760 Profile Views

For me, the first time I took the exam, I'm going to have to say that I failed due to major test anxiety and not picking out the stem of the question before picking the answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

EricJRN has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

6,663 Posts; 27,708 Profile Views

For US-educated candidates, we have an ~85% first-time pass rate. That compares favorably to the pass rates for licensure in most other professions. Some people do get stuck in a rut and it can become a psychological/anxiety issue though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

120 Posts; 1,199 Profile Views

The pass rate is very misleading. It is taken from graduating students vs. those who pass NCLEX, not from those who took that first prerequisite course to those that make it to NCLEX. Those numbers wouldn’t look so favorable.

You’re not talking about x amount of people attempted and succeeded. Your talking about x amount of people were able to make it through the various weeding out hurdles, pass the course, then pass NCLEX.

And yes it only makes sense to want highly capable people enter this field, but, to meet those requirements, graduate and have to tell your family you can’t earn a living is just so wrong.

NCLEX does not reflect nursing school. If it did you wouldn’t have to spend an extra three or four hundred dollars on courses to teach you how to take a test!

Just read the forum. It wouldn’t exist if NCLEX wasn’t such a beast.

And yes "What's the point of earning a degree if you can't pass boards" is probably what everyone including myself who fails wants to know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

EricJRN has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

6,663 Posts; 27,708 Profile Views

I think the OP's question was concerning the pass rate for graduates, unrelated to the issue of nursing/pre-nursing attrition rates. We're confusing two issues here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HeartsOpenWide is a RN and specializes in Ante-Intra-Postpartum, Post Gyne.

2 Articles; 2,889 Posts; 26,485 Profile Views

I think the OP's question was concerning the pass rate for graduates, unrelated to the issue of nursing/pre-nursing attrition rates. We're confusing two issues here.

Yes, this is what I ment, passing the NCLEX after getting a degree, not normal courses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

llg has 40 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

5 Followers; 13,097 Posts; 58,289 Profile Views

New graduates who fail the NCLEX do so for a variety of reasons. For some, it was because they became so anxious that they couldn't think clearly. For others, it's because they are/were weak in critical thinking skills to begin with. For some students, it's because they went to a school that passed them through their courses when they should have never been allowed to graduate. For others, it's because they had an "off day" due to not feeling well, not sleeping well, etc.

etc. etc. etc.

As schools try to prevent the situation in which a student graduates and then fails NCLEX, they find themselves in a no-win situation. No matter what course of action they take to prevent that sad situation, they will be criticized. For example:

1. If the school raises it's admission standards so that they only admit students who have a great chance of passing NCLEX on the first try (based on standardized test scores and previous grades), they are accused of being elitist, being unfair to "good people who would make great nurses who just made a few bad choices when they were younger." That's politically difficult for a state supported school to do. Most people expect state schools to give the "average" person a chance.

2. If the school maintains very high performance standards and gives failing grades to students who don't meet those standards, then the school as a whole and individual faculty members are faced with the wrath of those students who get the bad grades. "I paid good money to take this class and if you didn't teach me well enough to get a good grade, then it is YOUR fault. You'll be hearing from my lawyer." That's a bad place for a school to be in because it forces them into having to spend lots of time, effort, and money constantly defending itself from these accusations and threats. The need for the school and the faculty members to protect themselves from the failing students begins to dominate the culture and it begins to interfer with the learning.

3. If the school uses tests such as the HESI to help predict who is likely to pass NCLEX and who is not -- either as a requirement for advancement in the program or as a "final exam" for graduation -- then people attack the exam and use the same arguments that were made in #1 and #2 above.

4. If the school nurtures people through the program, giving lots of remedial coaching and possibilities for "extra credit points" and "second chances" that allow people performing at a borderline level to pass -- then the school is popular with the students at the time, but the number of students who squeak through the classes who are at risk for failing the NCLEX increases. The students are grateful for the extra help and second chances while they are passing their courses, but are hurt and angry when they fail the NCLEX.

So ... what's a school to do? Most try to find a balance between all four approaches above. They set some admissions standards that give as many people a chance as they reasonably can given the available resources and institutional mission. They try to weed out the weakest of the students -- and give some support to those with a borderline performance. They use standardized tests (e.g. HESI) to measure the students' progress along the way. A good school tries to find a balance that will give people a chance to succeed knowing that not all will actually succeed on the first try. That's what 2nd chances are for.

A school with really low passing rates is probably not doing its job in one of the areas mentioned above. A school with an exceptionally high passing rate is probably very demanding on one of more of those things mentioned above. Anyone looking at schools should be finding out what strategies are being used by a particular school and to what extent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

120 Posts; 1,199 Profile Views

Hear that NCLEX failers? You either had an off day or your school screwed up and you shouldn't have passed. You slipped through. So just in case you don't feel depressed enough, it was all your fault in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

EricJRN has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

6,663 Posts; 27,708 Profile Views

So just in case you don't feel depressed enough, it was all your fault in the first place.

I don't think anyone is trying to place blame here. We can't possibly know the underlying reasons for a failed NCLEX in any particular student and no one has made that claim so far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

EricJRN has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

6,663 Posts; 27,708 Profile Views

I think llg has a unique perspective on a complex issue, but I can virtually assure you that no one here is trying to make anyone feel inferior. There is simply no way to discuss solutions to NCLEX failures, even if we attack things like test methodology, without mentioning the student's role in the situation. I believe that llg does that quite tactfully.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

pagandeva2000 is a LPN and specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

7,984 Posts; 25,769 Profile Views

New graduates who fail the NCLEX do so for a variety of reasons. For some, it was because they became so anxious that they couldn't think clearly. For others, it's because they are/were weak in critical thinking skills to begin with. For some students, it's because they went to a school that passed them through their courses when they should have never been allowed to graduate. For others, it's because they had an "off day" due to not feeling well, not sleeping well, etc.

etc. etc. etc.

As schools try to prevent the situation in which a student graduates and then fails NCLEX, they find themselves in a no-win situation. No matter what course of action they take to prevent that sad situation, they will be criticized. For example:

1. If the school raises it's admission standards so that they only admit students who have a great chance of passing NCLEX on the first try (based on standardized test scores and previous grades), they are accused of being elitist, being unfair to "good people who would make great nurses who just made a few bad choices when they were younger." That's politically difficult for a state supported school to do. Most people expect state schools to give the "average" person a chance.

2. If the school maintains very high performance standards and gives failing grades to students who don't meet those standards, then the school as a whole and individual faculty members are faced with the wrath of those students who get the bad grades. "I paid good money to take this class and if you didn't teach me well enough to get a good grade, then it is YOUR fault. You'll be hearing from my lawyer." That's a bad place for a school to be in because it forces them into having to spend lots of time, effort, and money constantly defending itself from these accusations and threats. The need for the school and the faculty members to protect themselves from the failing students begins to dominate the culture and it begins to interfer with the learning.

3. If the school uses tests such as the HESI to help predict who is likely to pass NCLEX and who is not -- either as a requirement for advancement in the program or as a "final exam" for graduation -- then people attack the exam and use the same arguments that were made in #1 and #2 above.

4. If the school nurtures people through the program, giving lots of remedial coaching and possibilities for "extra credit points" and "second chances" that allow people performing at a borderline level to pass -- then the school is popular with the students at the time, but the number of students who squeak through the classes who are at risk for failing the NCLEX increases. The students are grateful for the extra help and second chances while they are passing their courses, but are hurt and angry when they fail the NCLEX.

So ... what's a school to do? Most try to find a balance between all four approaches above. They set some admissions standards that give as many people a chance as they reasonably can given the available resources and institutional mission. They try to weed out the weakest of the students -- and give some support to those with a borderline performance. They use standardized tests (e.g. HESI) to measure the students' progress along the way. A good school tries to find a balance that will give people a chance to succeed knowing that not all will actually succeed on the first try. That's what 2nd chances are for.

A school with really low passing rates is probably not doing its job in one of the areas mentioned above. A school with an exceptionally high passing rate is probably very demanding on one of more of those things mentioned above. Anyone looking at schools should be finding out what strategies are being used by a particular school and to what extent.

You brought up some good points here. My LPN school had a situation where they gave MANY group projects and they were heavily weighted...as much as 25-30% of our grades. Many students who were not even C students passed the courses with Bs because of this mess. I never went for it, personally. What I would do is check out the syllabus each semester to see what the group project focus was on and do it within the first two weeks, and move the heck on to the material needed to pass the exams and NCLEX. It was so disgusting to me that I stayed to myself during the whole time I was in nursing school. My focus was to master the material, not the group because I didn't hear of anyone going to NCLEX to take a group test. Funny, most did pass, I heard, but I was not going to take a chance.

What is interesting to me is that no matter how it is packaged, nursing school really didn't give me much to work in the real world and NCLEX does not assure that the person that passed will actually be a consciensous nurse. It meant that we were able to regurgitate the mess they wanted to hear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×