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Vital information you need from experts you trust about the next generation NCLEX

The National Council of the State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) will launch a new version of the NCLEX — called the Next Generation NCLEX — in April 2023. Its purpose? To better measure candidates’ clinical judgment ability, a proven necessity for entry-level nurses.

The new test will require more complex item types, which will change scoring methods. But you needn’t panic about preparing for these changes. Resources are already available to help you. Explore this NGN Resource Center to:

GET EXPERT GUIDANCE ON THE NEXT GENERATION NCLEX (NGN):

  • Learn from the latest information and resources available
  • Stay up to date with how new information on the Next Generation NCLEX affects you via video updates from ATI Chief Nursing Officer Sheryl Sommer, PhD, RN, CNE
  • Read up on foundational information to understand how NCSBN came to the decision to create a new test.
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LEARN ABOUT CLINICAL JUDGMENT, THE BACKBONE OF THE NEXT GENERATIN NCLEX:

  • Read a guide created by nurse educator experts to assist you in developing and implementing learning materials
  • Discover how simulation can help build clinical judgment skills
  • Learn how the NCSBN defines clinical judgment.
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GET UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION FROM NCSBN ABOUT THE NEXT GEN NCLEX:

  • Discover what the Clinical Judgment Measurement Model is
  • Explore new item types that will appear on the new version of the NCLEX
  • Introduce yourself to NCSBN's early discussions and explanations on the Next Generation NCLEX.
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ATI Next Gen NCLEX Tools

Find products and tools to incorporate into your lessons and prepare students for the Next Generation NCLEX.

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NEED-TO-KNOW DETAILS ABOUT THE NEXT GENERATION NCLEX

THE NEXT GEN NCLEX WILL COVER MORE THAN JUST CLINICAL JUDGMENT.

When you read or hear about the Next Generation NCLEX, the emphasis is typically on the measurement of clinical judgment, because that’s what’s changing.

But the NGN won’t focus solely on assessing clinical judgment. It will continue to include knowledge items, just like the current NCLEX.

(Note: Knowledge items is a term the NCSBN has used to refer to current NCLEX items. The organization may eventually choose a different term.)

Assessing knowledge continues to be important. After all, clinical judgment — in and of itself — is not nursing; nursing is a combination of having the knowledge and the clinical judgment to care for clients safely and effectively. 

Remind students that the new test is not designed to trick them or measure whether they are master nurses. Its purpose is to produce more fidelity on how the graduate will act as a new nurse in real-life practice vs. simply measuring the graduate's memory-based, stand-alone knowledge.

THE LENGTH OF THE NEW EXAM WILL BE SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT THAN THE CURRENT NCLEX.

The NGN will present 70-135 scored items based on the test-taker’s ability.

  • Case studies measuring clinical judgment:

Every candidate will respond to 3 case studies (see page 54). Each case study will present 6 items designed to assess clinical judgment. 3 x 6 = 18 clinical judgment items.

  • Knowledge:

Every candidate also will answer a minimum of 52 knowledge-focused items. Total: 18 clinical judgment items + 52 knowledge-focused items = 70 items

  • Unscored items:

Students also will be asked 15 items that will not be scored and will be used for future item development.

REMINDERS ABOUT THE NCLEX

THE CUT SCORE

This is the "cut point" along an ability range that marks the minimum aptitude required to safely and effectively practice nursing at the entry-level. Because both the current NCLEX and the NGN are computer-adaptive, the computer stops administering items when it is 95% certain the candidate's ability is either clearly above or clearly below the passing standard.

After answering the initial 70 items, if a student is close to the cut score (see next page), he or she will be asked additional questions. Most of these will be knowledge-based, but about 10% will focus on clinical judgment in the form of standalone items (see page 59). The maximum number of questions, then, will be 135 (+15 unscored items).

COMPUTER ADAPTIVE TESTING (CAT)

This method of administering both the NCLEX and the NGN combines computer technology with measurement theory to conduct exams more efficiently.

  • When an item is answered, the computer re-estimates the candidate's ability based on all the previous answers and the difficulty of those items.
  • The computer selects the next item the candidate should have a 50% chance of answering correctly.
  • The computer's estimate of the candidate's ability becomes more precise as more items are answered.
  • When the computer establishes the candidate's ability, the examination ends.

PEOPLE ALSO ASK ...

What is the Next Generation NCLEX?

The Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) is a new version of the NCLEX that is designed to assess clinical judgment in nursing candidates. It will include unique new item types that measure whether future nurses can think critically about how to care for clients. NCSBN considers the development of the new exam to be a matter of public safety.

Is the NCLEX changing in 2021?

No. The National Council of State boards of Nursing (NCSBN) continues to collect data on new item types it will introduce on the Next Generation NCLEX. It is also building the necessary technology to support the unique item types that will assess clinical judgment. The new version of the NCLEX will officially launch in April 2023.

Is the NCLEX changing in 2022?

No, but the NCSBN will begin beta testing in 2022. The organization will invite "friends and family" to test out the features of the new exam in April 2022. Then, in December 2022, the NCSBN will invite nursing students who are expected to graduate in April 2023 to test out the Next Generation NCLEX; their scores will not count.

Is the NCLEX changing in 2023?

Yes. Referred to as the Next Generation NCLEX, this new version of the exam is expected to launch in April 2023.

 

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