Passing Standard for NCLEX-RN Raised

CHICAGO – The National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN) voted on Dec. 10, 2009, to raise the passing standard for the NCLEX-RN Examination (the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses). The new passing standard is -0.16 logits on the NCLEX-RN logistic scale, 0.05 logits higher than the previous standard of -0.21. The new passing standard will take effect on April 1, 2010, in conjunction with the 2010 NCLEX-RN Test Plan.

After consideration of all available information, the NCSBN Board of Directors determined that safe and effective entry-level RN practice requires a greater level of knowledge, skills, and abilities than was required in 2007, when NCSBN implemented the current standard. The passing standard was increased in response to changes in U.S. health care delivery and nursing practice that have resulted in the greater acuity of clients seen by entry-level RNs.

The Board of Directors used multiple sources of information to guide its evaluation and discussion regarding the change in passing standard. As part of this process, NCSBN convened an expert panel of nine nurses to perform a criterion-referenced standard setting procedure. The panel’s findings supported the creation of a higher passing standard. NCSBN also considered the results of national surveys of nursing professionals including nursing educators, directors of nursing in acute care settings and administrators of long-term care facilities.

In accordance with a motion adopted by the 1989 NCSBN Delegate Assembly, the NCSBN Board of Directors evaluates the passing standard for the NCLEX-RN examination every three years to protect the public by ensuring minimal competence for entry-level RNs. NCSBN coordinates the passing standard analysis with the three-year cycle of test plan evaluation.  This three-year cycle was developed to keep the test plan and passing standard current. A PDF of the 2010 NCLEX-RN Test Plan is available free of charge from the NCSBN Web site


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