The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) voted on Dec. 17, 2012, to raise the passing standard for the NCLEX-RN Examination (the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses). The passing standard will be revised from the current -0.16 logits* to 0.00 logit beginning April 1, 2013, with the implementation of the 2013 NCLEX-RN Test Plan. The new passing standard will remain in effect through March 31, 2016.
After consideration of all available information, the NCSBN BOD determined that safe and effective entry-level registered nurse (RN) practice requires a greater level of knowledge, skills, and abilities than was required in 2009 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 BOD 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 12 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 BOD 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 2013 NCLEX-RN Test Plan is available free of charge from the NCSBN website.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is a not-for-profit organization whose members include the boards of nursing in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories — American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands. There are also 12 associate members.
Mission: NCSBN provides education, service and research through collaborative leadership to promote evidence-based regulatory excellence for patient safety and public protection.
Media inquiries may be directed to the contact listed above. Technical inquiries about the NCLEX examination may be directed to the NCLEX information line at 1.866.293.9600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The statements and opinions expressed are those of NCSBN and not the individual member state or territorial boards of nursing.
*A logit is defined as a unit of measurement to report relative differences between candidate ability estimates and item difficulties.