Magazine article American Nurse Today

Writing and Reviewing NCLEX Test Questions: Find out How You Can Participate in Creating or Reviewing Questions

Magazine article American Nurse Today

Writing and Reviewing NCLEX Test Questions: Find out How You Can Participate in Creating or Reviewing Questions

Article excerpt

All nurses can recall their experience taking the nursing licensure examination, whether they did it the old-fashioned way (paper and pencil) or used today's computer-adaptive testing method. This important rite of passage helps ensure competent individuals are entering practice as new graduate nurses.

Nurse educators are astutely aware of student preparation for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN[R]) and the National Council Licensure Examination for Practice Nurses (NCLEX-PN[R]). But you may not know about the many ways licensed nurses can contribute to creating and reviewing NCLEX test items.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN[R]) routinely analyzes the topic areas of most relevance to the practice of newly licensed RNs. It performs a practice analysis every 3 years through paper and electronic survey distribution, eliciting feedback on 139 nursing activities. The 2014 NCLEX-RN practice analysis survey was sent to 12,000 newly licensed RNs with an average of 3 months' work-force experience as an RN. Survey results are used to make changes to the test plan that guides content distribution of items on the licensure exams.

Participation of practicing nurses in the item-writing process is vital. Although Pearson Vue (the company that develops and administers NCLEX) has a professional editorial staff that works with the items created, practicing nurses' knowledge and expertise are essential to the process.

How to participate

Are you interested in writing or reviewing questions for the NCLEX exam? Experienced nurses can participate on an itemdevelopment panel as either an item writer or an item reviewer by completing a volunteer application on the NCSBN website (ncsbn.org/exam-volunteer-opportunities.htm). Item writers create questions for the NCLEX exam. Item reviewers examine test items for relevance and appropriateness for an entry-level practitioner.

Requirements

Basic qualifications for item writers and reviewers include:

* current licensure RN for the NCLEX-RN exam or LPN/LVN (licensed practical/vocational nurse) for the NCLEX-PN exam

* employment in the jurisdiction where they practice

* current knowledge of entrylevel practice

* at least 2 years' experience working as an RN or LPN/LVN.

Item writers must have a master's degree or higher and must teach basic or undergraduate education students in the clinical setting. Item reviewers must be practicing nurses who work directly with new graduates in the clinical setting as preceptors or who serve in a supervisory role. …

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