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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Sharon Leech Hofland


The problem under investigation in this study was: To what extent will associate degree nursing student scores on standardized examinations given before admission and during the program and a student's age correlate with graduate's scores on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)? The majority of research related to predicting student achievement on the registered nursing licensure examination was completed during the late 1960's and early 1970's. The present significance of determining validity and reliability of standardized examinations and age as predictors of NCLEX success has been related to several issues. First, the licensure examination itself has undergone significant changes; second, several standardized examinations have been revised; third, student population demographics have shifted; and fourth, cost containment has become a major issue within the system preparing health professionals. Always of significance has been a program's responsibility to identify a student's strengths and weaknesses, especially those students at risk. Prior to the use of the National Council Licensure Examination in 1982, the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBE or SBTPE) was used for registered nursing licensure. This test was comprised of five separate examinations: Medical Nursing. Surgical Nursing, Obstetrical Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing, and Nursing of Children. In 1982, five separate examinations were integrated into a battery of tests labeled the NCLEX-RN, i.e. National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurse Licensure. The NCLEX was created as an integrated examination organized around the nursing process. The old examination was norm referenced; the revised examination was criterion-referenced. These substantial changes required that nursing education revalidate previous claimed predictive relationships to licensure examination results. The National League for Nursing's (NLN) standardized examinations have been consistently presented in the literature as one of, if not the strongest, predictors of RN-licensure examination results. In 1982, a new edition of NLN's Comprehensive Nursing Achievement examination test became available for administration; in 1985, the NLN Psychiatric Nursing examination was changed. Research should now collaborate NLN 's data which indicates continuing strong correlation between a student's performance on these tests and that student’s NCLEX-RN performance.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nursing -- Examinations

Nursing -- Ability testing


Nursing students



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University