NLN Test Policy and Procedures
There is an increasing awareness and concern in the country today regarding the problem of test security. The National League for Nursing has built into its testing program a number of measures designed to protect the integrity and security of its exams. The repercussions from a test breach affect other institutions administering the same exams and compromise the utility of the test for future administrations. Interpretation of exam results canalso be jeopardized.
When administering any version of an NLN test – whether in experimental or final form – the test administrator becomes responsible for protecting and maintaining a test’s security. Instructions are provided with every purchase for maintaining test security during the storage, administration, proctoring, and return of NLN tests. We depend on all test users to safeguard the NLN’s exams by incorporating security measures in their settings and following NLN instructions and procedures. Here are some key points of NLN procedures:
Test Use and Misuse
Each NLN Achievement Test is constructed with a specific purpose in mind. Some tests are designed to be a measure of the student’s knowledge in a specific content area, and would normally be given after completing the unit of instruction covering that content. Other tests, for example Comprehensives, are designed to measure over-all achievement at the end of the curriculum. Still others, (e.g. the Profiles), are designed to assist nursing programs in making advanced placement decisions.
NLN Achievement Tests are not designed for use in selecting applicants for admission to a program. Nor should achieving a certain score on a standardized test be considered to be a minimum requirement for awarding a course grade, for graduation, or for awarding a degree. Using a test for purposes other than those for which it was designed is inappropriate, and is likely to provide misleading information about that student. If a test is used for another purpose, it is the user’s responsibility to conduct a study to validate the test for that use.
Because of the diversity in nursing programs and curricula, it is extremely unlikely that any one standardized test reflects totally the content and objectives of any one course or curriculum. Therefore, a given test, like any other standardized test, should be considered to be just one source of data about the student, and should be used in conjunction with other sources of information when making judgements about the student’s ability in the content domain covered by that test.
Caution is urged in the use of data from the analysis of students’ responses and review of test questions. It is important that faculty consider the questions in their broad context and not attempt to “teach to the test,” remembering that the questions are only a sample of all that might have been included from the field being tested. The purpose of the NLN Achievement Tests is to help the school evaluate the extent to which its students are attaining the generally accepted objectives of nursing education in the subject matter covered by the test. NLN Achievement Tests are not intended for use in setting educational objectives within any program.
Some of the tests contain experimental questions included for future test development purposes only. These questions are neither scored nor reported; nor are they included in the analysis of responses mentioned elsewhere in this guide.
Repeating a Test
Any test is only a sampling of the hundreds of questions that might have been asked on the subject matter of the test. For this reason, no useful purpose is served by having a student repeat an examination to improve his/her score. Learning the answers to the specific test questions might raise a student’s score, but this would not necessarily indicate an increase in the student’s knowledge of the total subject matter sampled by the test. A higher score on the second testing would therefore have little meaning.
In our efforts to maintain confidentiality, scores will not be given to students by phone, fax, or email.
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING PAPER-BASED TESTS (PBT)
Storage of Test Materials
Take measures to properly keep tests and supplemental materials in locked facilities until they are used. Allow only limited and authorized individuals to review the test and perform administration or proctoring duties. After a test is issued, be sure to collect all tests.
The test administrator is accountable for every test booklet that is sent to the institution, even if the test is unused. Be sure every examinee that is issued a test booklet returns it before being dismissed from the testing session.
Test proctors must also focus on ensuring the security of test booklets as they oversee examinees during a testing session. Should an examinee take a break during a test or exit the test room for any reason, test booklets, answer sheets, and scrap paper must always be held by the proctor until she/he returns. Never allow examinees to take the test materials out of the secure test setting.
All tests – whether used or unused – are to be returned immediately after administration by a traceable shipping method. Always use a traceable shipping method when returning test booklets and answer sheets to the NLN, and take measures to ensure that tests are secure during the packing and mailing procedure. Test booklets are sent to a separate address than answer sheets for destruction.
All materials remain the property of the NLN and must be returned unless otherwise stated. Be sure to follow directions and procedures outlined in the Order Process and Test Policy notice that accompany your exams.
Thank you for taking the time to read through our test policy and procedures on test security. Your participation in helping to better safeguard the exams you purchase is crucial for continued usefulness of these assessment tools. Your continued support and assistance in protecting the security of exams is necessary and appreciated.
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