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University changing cirriculum mid year HELP!!

kwagner_51 kwagner_51 (Member)

Specializes in Geriatrics, Pediatrics, Home Health.

A good friend of mine called last night madder than h***. She is getting ready to take the final in peds and was ORDERED to go to a manditory meeting on the 15th or she won't get her grade. Her final is on the 12th.

It appears as though the School of Nursing is requiring ALL nursing student to take the Assessment Technologies Institute test and PASS before they can go to the next course!! :angryfire

My friend is one semester away from graduation and has earned A's in ALL her classes. So my question is, can a school change the courses w/o prior notification? I graduated from this school last year and we were not required to take this test. If I understand right, they are replacing the HESI with this one.

Is this legal? Can they change w/o informing the class? If they can't who does she need to talk to about this?

Thanks!!

____________________________________

In His Grace,

Karen

Failure is NOT an option!!

Sure, they can change the test at any time. A student is accepted to a school, the school is required to provide an appropriate curriculum for them, if they decide that this is a better exam, then that is what they can do. That is not considered changing your program.

I agree with Suzanne. This does not seem to constitute changing a required course but rather an assessment tool. If a student is having trouble mastering a particular area of nursing subject matter, better to find out now and repeat a course than to pass and fail the NCLEX, possibly more than once. Just my 2 cents but it sounds legit.

kwagner_51

Specializes in Geriatrics, Pediatrics, Home Health.

If it was just an assessment tool, I wouldn't have a problem with it. However, they are REQUIRING te students to pass the test BEFORE they can take the next class. In other words, it doens't matter if she gets an A in peds and in M/S if she/they doesn't pass this newly required test, she can't take M/S 3 or Psych UNTIL she/they does pass the test!!

I do NOT think that it is right to tell these seniors that no matter how good they did in the class if they fail this test, they can't go on UNTIL they pass it!! Like she said, she has $20,000.00 invested in her education and it isn't fair to throw this at them with one semester left before graduation!!

Thanks!!

__________________________

In His Grace,

Karen

Failure is NOT an option!!

Jolie, BSN

Has 34 years experience. Specializes in Maternal - Child Health.

There have been previous threads on this subject, and I'll reply as I did then. It is my understanding that a college catalog basically constitutes a contract between the school and the student. The college can not (unilaterally) add requirements once a student has been accepted to a program and is making satisfactory progress toward graduation according to the requirements of the catalog under which s/he enrolled. Any changes may affect subsequent classes of students, but are not retro-actively applied to students already in the program and making satisfactory progress toward completion.

Furthermore, I can't begin to comprehend all of the ridiculous standardized tests that are used these days under the guise of NCLEX preparation. Such testing did not exist in years past, and I daresay that students were better prepared for NCLEX because they were held to high standards academically and clinically. Our school prepared us for NCLEX thru a rigorous curriculum, not by relying on the "test of the day". Schools that rely on tests to ensuregood pass rates are not doing their job very well, in my opinion.

Jerico, BSN, RN

Has 2 years experience. Specializes in ER, NICU.

Our school prepared us for NCLEX thru a rigorous curriculum, not by relying on the "test of the day". Schools that rely on tests to ensuregood pass rates are not doing their job very well, in my opinion.

Could not agree with this statement more. When school teach to the test, they don't teach THINKING and ANALYZING complex situations.

A good friend of mine called last night madder than h***. She is getting ready to take the final in peds and was ORDERED to go to a manditory meeting on the 15th or she won't get her grade. Her final is on the 12th.

It appears as though the School of Nursing is requiring ALL nursing student to take the Assessment Technologies Institute test and PASS before they can go to the next course!! :angryfire

My friend is one semester away from graduation and has earned A's in ALL her classes. So my question is, can a school change the courses w/o prior notification? I graduated from this school last year and we were not required to take this test. If I understand right, they are replacing the HESI with this one.

Is this legal? Can they change w/o informing the class? If they can't who does she need to talk to about this?

Thanks!!

____________________________________

We were required to take the ATI exam before getting admitted to nursing school. It was part of the acceptance or denial process. I thought it was stupid then and I agree with you here. Also in South Dakota we are required to take a proficiency exam before we can graduate from any university here which I think is possibly the most retarded thing I have ever heard of. I think I need to go back to Ohio! :rotfl:

veegeern, BSN, RN

Specializes in Internal Medicine Unit.

My state requires all university students to pass a Regent's exam that is taken in the junior year. If you don't pass, then you take remedial courses. My school of nursing required us to take a standardized test every semester. During our second (senior) year, they made passing the test a requirement for progression, and we had to pass a comprehensive test to graduate. The university supported the nursing school when we appealed, but we were given the opportunity to re-take the test if we failed the first time. No, from the reports I got, it wasn't the exact same test. Our experience was that the students who had A's and B's passed the first time. Those who had C's all passed the second time. Needless to say, if you had a "D" you were failing anyway...

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

Sure, they can change the test at any time. A student is accepted to a school, the school is required to provide an appropriate curriculum for them, if they decide that this is a better exam, then that is what they can do. That is not considered changing your program.

Agree w/Suzanne. Sounds like the faculty have determined that the ATI requirement is a better fit w/the overall curriculum than the HESI at this time, simple as that.

Maybe I'm not understanding your position, but I don't understand the suggestion of taking legal action? On what grounds? If you want to graduate from XYZ Institution, then you must meet XYZ Institution's requirements, IMHO.

My school requires students to pass HESI at the end of the junior year in order to matriculate to senior status. We had three attempts. To be eligible to sit for NCLEX, we had to take HESI (after we graduated) and pass within three attempts.

HESI came to my school several years before I entered in response to the state nursing board that mandated schools have a first time NCLEX pass rate of at least 75%. Otherwise, schools could lose accreditation. Administration informed me that prior to HESI, some schools had pass rates in the 60s. Last year I believe, the lowest rate was in the upper 80s.

Does HESI benefit students, schools, or the public? All have time and money invested. The sad part of reality is that weaker students (as usually indicated by grades, HESI results, etc.) most likely will always struggle which sometimes extends to on the job/floor. Do the exams help struggling students face reality earlier thus saving them time, money, and perhaps ultimately patients lives? Tough questions. Many emotions. Many concerns for all interested.

Is it "legal" to change requirements midstream. Some courts in some states would recognize a handbook as a contract. The problem quickly becomes one of money, time, and concern--lawyers, testing deadline rapidly approaching, getting a court date, and apathy usually from other students who are "doing ok" and personally know it. Additionally a lot of students won't protest or try making changes under any guise because they are younger, still used to taking orders from elders or those in position of power, or don't want to "rock the boat"--less assertive.

During school, I highlighted/raised hell/didn't back down on several issues that I deemed important. I often became the only one complaining or the loudest of them. I made some progress or drew positive attention occasionally. I paid some prices for my actions. Still, I feel I did the right things and garnered some private accolades from classmates.

Long and short to the original poster, I hear you and understand your concerns. I had to repeat a class, retake HESI, and sweat out passing HESI in my senior year to be eligible for NCLEX. It all worked out. It might help your friend to keep things in statistical perspective. If she is receiving As and Bs, she'll probably do ok. My class lost about half its size mostly to poor grades, not supplemental assessment testing. I remember maybe four being dropped, not bad in the grand scheme of things though it "sucked" for the individuals. I can't remember the exact number lost, but all were academically weaker than me. Hope my thoughts and observations are helpful.

kwagner_51

Specializes in Geriatrics, Pediatrics, Home Health.

Agree w/Suzanne. Sounds like the faculty have determined that the ATI requirement is a better fit w/the overall curriculum than the HESI at this time, simple as that.

Maybe I'm not understanding your position, but I don't understand the suggestion of taking legal action? On what grounds? If you want to graduate from XYZ Institution, then you must meet XYZ Institution's requirements, IMHO.

If the requirement had been there 1 1/2 yrs ago when she started, fine, no problems. When I took HESI it was an assessment tool to let me know where I was weak. It DID NOT affect whether we continued with our courses.

With this new test, if a person DOES NOT pass the test, they can NOT go on, REGARDLESS of their grades!! :angryfire Let's say, she has an A in M/S 2, one of her kids gets sick and she can't study for this test. When she takes the test, she is sick, having caught it from her kids. She FAILS the test. Now, the A in M/S means squat, she can not go into M/S 3 in January 2006, BECAUSE she failed a test that wasn't required when she was accepted into the program 1 1/2 yrs ago!!

Is this a better explaination? I graduated from this program in May of this year. She was a Freshman in the Program. Now they are trying to hurt the good students because some of MY class can't pass boards!!

Thanks!!

_________________________________________

In His Grace,

Karen

Failure is NOT an option!!

P_RN, ADN, RN

Has 30 years experience. Specializes in ORTHOPAEDICS-CERTIFIED SINCE 89.

I agree with Suzanne. This is not a change in curriculum. Schools have a bulletin which outlines the order or number of courses needed for graduation. Each course is amended as new information comes around. A different assessment tool is no different than a new bit of information to be learned. You must pass that assessment/test/exam/procedure before you can advance. That's the bottom line.

mitchsmom

Specializes in OB, lactation.

I am curious about this, too - whether a school can change what is outlined in the catalog as required for graduation. I didn't think they were supposed to change things until a new class and hence new catalog came in.

That said, my school of nursing has done it several times. I think it is wrong. People make plans for the years of their schooling based on what the catalog describes. Changes are fine, just start it with a new group of students and put it in their catalog so they may plan accordingly.

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

I agree with Suzanne. This is not a change in curriculum. Schools have a bulletin which outlines the order or number of courses needed for graduation. Each course is amended as new information comes around. A different assessment tool is no different than a new bit of information to be learned. You must pass that assessment/test/exam/procedure before you can advance. That's the bottom line.

Agree. Curricula can and should change when appropriate. My school also required NLN tests at the end of each term. I don't know anyone who studied specifically for them - they were standardized tests of our accumulated knowledge up until that point.

Best wishes to your friend as she continues her studies. :)

mitchsmom

Specializes in OB, lactation.

I think content of a course should certainly change as new information is available, but adding a whole new requirement for graduation is different.

RosesrReder, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

Has 18 years experience.

Yes, they can do it. At my school we are to sign a waiver that says that they have the right to adjust the curriculum at anytime.

mitchsmom

Specializes in OB, lactation.

Yes, they can do it. At my school we are to sign a waiver that says that they have the right to adjust the curriculum at anytime.

Would they be able to if you didn't sign a waiver though?

I don't get the big issue. If they changed the final exam for a course or added a different type of project, it would be the same thing. I don't see why they can't change courses as they see fit to best prepare their graduates. That seems to be the most important thing.

mitchsmom

Specializes in OB, lactation.

I don't get the big issue. If they changed the final exam for a course or added a different type of project, it would be the same thing. I don't see why they can't change courses as they see fit to best prepare their graduates. That seems to be the most important thing.

At my school, they added ERI tests as a requisite for graduation, that are not really part of the courses (you just take them after each appropriate class is done of course because you just learned the material). My school has done other things too, like for example, adding a required NCLEX review course (hundreds of dollars and a full week of every day instruction that is difficult for part-timers, that was not planned for). Another example that has been very difficult for me, is my school really recruited me by touting how friendly it was for distance and part-time learners, but has since changed many of the virtual courses to on-campus courses, and has also made some classes have more clinical days - VERY difficult when I live 110 miles away, (one-way) and I chose that school based on those things that were in place and promised when I applied and started.

From reading this thread, it seems like students are more bothered by this issue than teachers or people who are already out of school. Would it be a fair comparison to think about it this way - how would you feel if your place of work violated the contract or conditions under which you were hired for your job? (I know there's no perfect comparison but I'm trying to think of something).

Even if it is considered legal, I don't think it's good business practice (just as it may technically be legal to hire someone for a job and then change things that were promised, but then that business would probably not have a good reputation). I am mostly happy with other aspects of my program at school but I would not recommend it to someone else based on this. My 2 cents FWIW.

Jolie, BSN

Has 34 years experience. Specializes in Maternal - Child Health.

My school has done other things too, like for example, adding a required NCLEX review course (hundreds of dollars and a full week of every day instruction that is difficult for part-timers, that was not planned for).

Even if it is considered legal, I don't think it's good business practice...

REQUIRED you to take an NCLEX review course? This is insane! What in the world did you pay tuition for, if your own school doesn't have confidence in the abilities of its graduates to pass NCLEX?

I am not convinced that mid-stream curriculum changes are legal. I would consider consulting an attorney if my school did this to me. Fortunately, I graduated 20 years ago, and knew no one who wasted money on an NCLEX review. And our class had a 97% pass rate.

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