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How Will NCSBN Decide on the Next Generation NCLEX?

Oct 17, 2018, 15:08 PM
<1-min. read> The knowledge is now widespread: The NCSBN has embarked on a groundbreaking study to determine whether to launch the Next Generation NCLEX.


Phil Dickison, PhD, RN, Chief Officer, operations and examinations, of NCSBN, says the organization is currently testing new item types after research pointed to clinical judgment as a public-protection issue.

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But that doesn’t mean it’s a certainty the group will make changes to the NCLEX. 

Fidelity will be key in testing clinical judgment

Despite the years and funds NCSBN is investing in its effort toward creating Next Generation NCLEX, Dr. Dickison says, “We will go where the evidence takes us." In other words, NCSBN will only move forward with a clinical judgment-focused exam if research proves it will produce valid results.

“I’ve heard stories that we’re going to implement this in 2019. I can tell you, no, that’s not true. The research plan takes us out to a point somewhere, we hope, around mid-2019 to have enough information to make what I’ll call a ‘go/no go’ decision mode.”

Making a final decision of revising NCLEX

What exactly does that mean? Dr. Dickison explains that, if the research supports accurate — and feasible — testing, then the test will be a “go.” If the evidence proves otherwise? A Next Generation version of the NCLEX will be a “no go.”  

Research must show that NCSBN can accurately measure clinical judgment — “that we can have a scoring model that precisely separates those who can from those who can’t,” Dr. Dickison says, referring to the student nurses who take the NCLEX. He wants a test, he emphasizes, that separates novice students who have strong clinical judgment and are “safe” versus those who are “unsafe.”
In addition, he says NCSBN will base the decision on whether it can deliver the test using existing technology or whether new technology must be built.

“All of those things are a ‘go/no go’ in my world,” he says.

Provide feedback about the Next Generation NCLEX to the National Council of the State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) at:

  • Mail: 111 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2900, Chicago, IL 60601-4277
  • Phone: 312.525.3600
  • International phone: 011 1 312 525 3600
  • Fax: 312.279.1032
  • Email: [email protected].

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