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2015 NCLEX results

CCRNR releases full-year data

​posted March 31, 2016

The Canadian Council of Registered Nurse Regulators (CCRNR) today released the NCLEX results for 2015.

The NCLEX was introduced in January 2015 as the entry-to-practice exam for nurses across Canada. B.C. nursing students are among the highest in the country with an average pass rate of 87%. 

F​or Canada-wide results, visit the CCRNR website.

 NCLEX information

Why was NCLEX chosen to replace Canada’s previous entry to practice exam?

Prior to the current exam (NCLEX), the entry to practice exam for nurses was the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam (CRNE). This exam was written, maintained, and developed by the Canadian Nurses’ Association (CNA).

Concerns about the exam were raised over a number of years, and included incidents of cheating, infrequent exam sittings (three days per year), limited venues in which to write the exam, an antiquated item bank, and a paper and pencil methodology. The nursing regulators across the country requested a more robust exam and examination process, employing modern testing methods and technologies.

In 2011, the nursing country’s regulators, through their national body, the Canadian Council of Registered Nurse Regulators (CCRNR)*, issued a Request for Proposal RFP, inviting all interested parties, including CNA, to submit proposals. In addition to the regulators, an independent assessment of the final proposals was done by a Canadian psychometric expert.

In 2012, CCRNR selected the proposal from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). NCSBN’s exam—the NCLEX—offered the strongest testing option, and a proven ability to meet the needs and expectations of the Canadian regulators. The CRNBC Board then made the decision to adopt the NCLEX as the entry-to-practice exam for B.C.

To ensure the exam met Canadian requirements, representatives from the Canadian regulators participated, and continue to participate, in oversight of the exam development and administration. This included a thorough study of RN practice and entry-level competencies in Canada and input from Canadian nursing experts and practising nurses.

What is computer adaptive testing (CAT) and how does NCLEX benefit from this technology?

Computerized adaptive testing (CAT) is a form of computer-based test that adapts to the examinee's ability level. Writers of the NCLEX-RN exam receive from a minimum of 75 questions to a maximum of 265 questions. For most writers, the computer program will stop asking questions once the program has calculated with 95% certainty that the writer is clearly above or below the passing standard.

Because each test is different, drawn from a pool of 25,000 possible questions, the NCLEX reduces item exposure and subsequent security risks, virtually eliminating the possibility of cheating. The question bank has been reviewed extensively by both US and Canadian nurses and other experts. In each review, no evidence has been found of questions relating specifically to the U.S. health care system—or to anything specifically “American” or “Canadian” at all.

One of the most important benefits of an exam administered by a large, established organization is the significant number of detailed resources freely available to students, administrators, and educators to help them prepare for the test. Test plans, tips for writing questions, breakdowns of questions types— are all easily accessible on the NCSBN website.

What is the effectiveness of the NCLEX after one year?

Canadian nursing students began writing the NCLEX in January 2015, meaning the exam has been in place for just over a year. CCRNR and NCSBN have been diligent in reviewing all of the questions in the exam bank to ensure there is no U.S.-or Canadian-specific content or questions.

Overall pass rates for Canadian-educated students over this first year of the exam sits at about 85%.

The NCLEX has proven clear benefits:

  • Secure electronic delivery
  • Multiple testing venues enabling nurses from across the country to access the exam
  • Multiple offerings, ensuring nurses can write when they are ready
  • Huge item bank, ensuring additional security
  • Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) platform, which provides a stronger assessment of competence
  • Opportunity for Canadian nurses and regulator to participate in exam development
  • Reasonable cost to nursing candidates
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