Methods: An ex post facto descriptive correlational and comparative design was used to assess the correlation of the specialty exams with the exit exam and the pass rates for each of the scoring intervals on the specialty and exit exams. Electronic surveys were mailed to directors of 114 graduate nursing schools that administered the APN exam for Family and/or Adult Gerontology to APN students during the 2009 - 2015 academic years. Data were collected regarding students APN national certification examination outcomes and the schools’ implementation strategies and policies.
Results: Certification outcomes were reported for 631 APN students. Students with scores ranging from 700 to 1168 accurately predicted certification exam pass rates 99.5% of the time. Few schools had exit policies, established benchmark scores, or included the standardized exam as part of course grades. The most frequently cited remediation strategy was tutoring either by live review courses or faculty developed review sessions.
Conclusion: Results from a national, multi-site, U.S. sample of graduate programs indicated that electronic standardized end of program assessments are highly accurate at predicting APN certification success. End of course APN specialty exams are utilized by faculty to determine their students’ standings compared to the national sample. These findings are consistent with preliminary benchmark setting studies for this APN exam which set minimum scores of 750 or higher. Testing summary reports provide faculty with an opportunity for input into curricular evaluation. Faculty’s top reported implementation strategies, steps in policy development, and strategies for curricular evaluation will be discussed.