Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

What Goes into a Decision? How Nursing Faculty Decide Which Best Practices to Use for Classroom Testing

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

What Goes into a Decision? How Nursing Faculty Decide Which Best Practices to Use for Classroom Testing

Article excerpt

Abstract

AIM To explore the decision-making process of BSN faculty when determining which best practices to use for classroom testing.

METHOD A descriptive, correlational study was conducted with a national sample (N = 127) of full-time BSN faculty. Participants completed a web-based survey incorporating instruments that measured beliefs about evaluation, decision-making, and best practices for item analysis and constructing and revising classroom tests. results Study participants represented 31 states and were primarily middle-aged white women. In multiple linear regression analyses, faculty beliefs, contextual factors for decision-making, and decision-making processes accounted for statistically significant amounts of the variance in item analysis and test construction and revision. Strong faculty beliefs that rules were important when evaluating students was a significant predictor of increased use of best practices.

CONCLUSION Results support that understanding faculty beliefs around classroom testing is important in promoting the use of best practices.

KEY WORDS

Classroom Testing--Nursing Education Best Practices--Decision-Making

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The evaluation of a nursing student by faculty members determines the progression of the student, serves as a predictor of success on licensure examinations, and provides evidence of the ability to provide safe nursing care (Downing & Haladyna, 1997; Masters et ah, 2001; National League for Nursing [NLN], 2012). According to the statement of the Southern Regional Education Board (2002) on the competencies of nurse educators, nursing faculty must be accountable for using appropriate evaluation techniques to provide fair and accurate evaluations of their students throughout all aspects of the nursing program.

Common assessment methods used in nursing education programs include classroom testing, group projects, presentations, papers, case study analysis, and discussion postings (Oermann, Saewert, Charasika, & Yarbrough, 2009). Despite the variety of assessment methods identified, a 2007 national survey of nursing education programs in the United States performed by the Evaluation of Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) of the NLN identified classroom examinations as the most influential form of assessment toward summative course grades (Oermann et ah). The emphasis on classroom examinations as the single most influential form of assessment mandates that nurse educators be competent in designing, administering, and interpreting the results of these examinations (Oermann et al).

Classroom examinations are in widespread use, so a great need exists for research on current practices among nurse educators regarding this form of assessment. However, the literature on nursing education contains scant research on best practices regarding the construction, analysis, and revision of such classroom examinations.

The purpose of this study was to explore the decision-making process of BSN faculty for determining which best practices to use for classroom testing in the areas of test construction, item analysis, and test revision. Specifically, the study addressed two research questions:

1. What best practices do BSN faculty use during test construction, item analysis, and revision?

2. Do the beliefs of BSN faculty about evaluation, context for decision-making, and decision-making processes predict which best practices they will use for their classroom testing?

LITERATURE REVIEW

Standards for Education and Psychological Testing

Since the 1950s, test construction and evaluation have been important topics in education and psychology (Downing & Haladyna, 1997). The major producers of research on best practices for test construction, item analysis, and revision have been scholars in the fields of education and educational psychology.

In 1999, the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) published standards for educational and psychological testing (AERA, APA, & NCME, 1999). …

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