2020 NCLEX Conference Summary

by Susan Sanders, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Vice President of Kaplan Nursing | September 23, 2020

NCSBN held the virtual 2020 NCLEX Conference on September 14th & 15th, during which important updates regarding the current NCLEX as well as Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) were discussed. Please read on to learn more about the updates, as well as Kaplan’s plans to support our nursing programs through the change.

October 1st NCLEX Changes

The following changes are planned to remain in place until implementation of Next Generation NCLEX— April 2023 at the earliest.

*Given the changes to the maximum exam length and the testing time, the current Run Out of Time (R.O.O.T) scoring rule is no longer applicable. Run-out-of-time (R.O.O.T.) Rule: If a candidate runs out of time before reaching the maximum number of items, the computer has not been able to decide whether the candidate passed or failed with 95% certainty. 

Therefore, an alternate rule must be used:

If the candidate has not answered the minimum number of items, the result will be a failing exam.

If the candidate has answered the minimum number of items, then the exam is scored by using the final ability estimate computed from responses to all completed items.

  • If the final ability estimate is above the passing standard, the exam is a pass.
  • If the final ability estimate is at or below the passing standard, the exam is a fail.

**The NCLEX Tutorial will be replaced with a general guide and test taking tips. All candidates are strongly encouraged to take the online tutorial to practice with the item types prior to sitting for the exam.

Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) 

As noted above, the NCLEX-RN & NCLEX-PN test plans and passing standards will remain the same until NGN implementation—April 2023 at the earliest. 

The test will continue to be a variable length computer adaptive test (CAT) with “traditional” NCLEX-style items, plus case studies (scenarios) with 6 test items associated with each case. Items will assess the 6 domains of the Clinical Judgment Measurement Model from NCSBN: 

  1. Recognizing Cues
  2. Analyzing Cues
  3. Generating Hypotheses
  4. Generating Solutions
  5. Taking Actions
  6. Evaluating Outcomes

NGN Scoring Updates

  • The overall difficulty level of an NGN “set” is based on the average difficulty level of all items within the “set.” The CAT will deliver the “set” after determining the student’s performance on each “set” and/or individual items. 

  • Select All That Apply (SATA) items will move to partial credit when NGN is implemented. This will apply to all SATA items in cases and current stand-alone questions. NGN SATA items can be up to 10 options, with one to all being correct. 

  • Two new item types were introduced, the bow tie and trend. These are “standalone cases” that may require some or all of the Clinical Judgment Tasks within one question type. No examples or information on the “trend” item type were discussed, however it was stated that the “bow tie” item type will be similar to the “drag and drop” type (see below) but with a case scenario. 

  • Laboratory Reference Ranges will be included in the cases. (Generic medication names will continue.)

Please refer to NCSBN.org for further information and clarification.

Our Plan

At Kaplan, we continuously work to evolve our programs to align with the most current updates from NCSBN. Thus, our NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN courses are being updated to reflect the October 1st changes in number of items and time for testing. 

Since outcome data is based on the previous number of items, we will need to collect new data and outcomes before reducing the number of items on resources such as our Question Trainer practice tests. But rest assured, we’ll be making the change as soon as we have new outcome data collected.

We have already begun writing NGN items, and will continue to do so as we develop the technology to deliver and score the newer item types. We also intentionally developed our i-Human Patients virtual patient encounters to be aligned with the NCSBN’s Clinical Judgment Measurement Model, to help nurse educators build and assess the clinical judgment skills necessary for their students’ success on NGN.

We would love to hear from you about your thoughts and concerns about NGN. Complete this 5 minute survey to let us know what you think so we can continue to develop resources to support you and your students.

NCLEX®is a registered trademark of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. Test names are the property of the respective trademark holders, none of whom endorse or are affiliated with Kaplan.

As Vice President of Kaplan Nursing, Dr. Sanders, oversees the vision and strategy surrounding product development, research and consulting for the company’s full suite of nursing products.  The nursing team has expanded Kaplan’s NCLEX prep business into benchmark testing and remediation with the addition of service and consulting. She has focused on student, faculty, staff and program development through an emphasis on outcomes. She is experienced in delivering presentations to regional and national audiences. She has gained additional leadership expertise as president of the state nurses association, through professional memberships, and through board certification as an Advanced Nurse Executive (NEA-BC).

See more posts by Susan Sanders, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Vice President of Kaplan Nursing