HOW DID THE PANDEMIC IMPACT THE NEXT GEN NCLEX'S DEVELOPMENT?
THE ORIGINAL LAUNCH DATE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION NCLEX WAS 2023. DID COVID DELAY THAT DATE?2023. That was the tentative year identified by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing as the launch date of the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN). But that was before COVID-19 swept the world and brought everything to a standstill.
So what’s the status of NGN now? We got the answer from Phil Dickison, PhD, RN, NCSBN’s Chief Officer, Operations & Examinations. He recently joined hundreds of ATI clients to answer queries and share the latest news about NGN during a session of “The ATI Talk.”
First, some background:
THE VIRUS CLOSED NCLEX TEST CENTERS.This was a problem because more nurses were needed than ever before. The priority, then, shifted from NGN to getting test centers back open so nurses could get licensed. To do that safely meant making changes to the exam.
NCSBN PUT NGN ON HOLD (KINDA).To allow test centers to open safely, NCSBN worked to shorten the exam so test-takers and proctors spent less time in enclosed rooms where virus spread was increased. To do so, they removed the Special Research Section, as well as shortening the overall exam after running simulations to ensure test validity. But while NCSBN was no longer receiving data on the sample item types, staffers were able to continue working on other aspects of the exam, such as evaluation and technology needs.
NCSBN CONCLUDED ADDITIONAL DATA WAS NEEDED SOONER THAN LATER.By October 2020, NCSBN knew its launch schedule for NGN was in jeopardy if it didn’t add the Special Research Section back into the NCLEX. It especially needed data from PNs. Luckily, the organization’s simulations had proven that the shortened exam was fully credible. Thus, NCSBN was able to resume including the Special Research Section with NGN items at the end of the RN exam; candidates who finished their tests, once again, were offered the additional items to answer, and the organization began doing the same for PN test-takers. (More than 680,000 RN candidates and 13,000 PNs have so far answered the NGN item types.)
THE RESULT? THE NGN IS STILL ON SCHEDULE.Ultimately, the pandemic had no negative impact on the NGN’s timeline, Dr. Dickison emphasized. The technology build, scoring model, test design, and research all remain on schedule.
AND IT WILL LAUNCH IN 2023.
In previous conversations, Dr. Dickison had identified 2023 or “sometime soon after” as the launch date of the NGN. In his recent conversation with ATI, he was much more definitive. 2023 will be the year nursing graduates will begin taking the new version of the exam, he said.