Lenburg's COPA Model-Based Grading Rubric: Impact on Nursing Student Clinical Engagement and Competency

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Paula Ponder, RN, BS, MSN1
Kathy C. Virone, RN, BA, MSN2
Terry Hill, RN, BS, MSN2
JoAnn D. Long, RN, PhD, NEA-BC3
(1)Senior level, Covenant School of Nursing, Lubbock, TX
(2)Senior Level, Covenant School of Nursing, Lubbock, TX
(3)Department of Nursing, Lubbock Christian University, Lubbock, TX

Learning Objective 1: 1) Discuss the application of Lenburg’s Competency Outcomes and Performance Assessment (COPA) model to enhance the clinical evaluation process;

Learning Objective 2: 2) Discuss the process of developing and implementing an evidence-based (EB) tool for clinical evaluation.

Purpose: Amidst the global shortage of nurses, patient acuity is rising and data suggests nursing competency has declined (AHRQ, 2004). Evidence-based strategies for evaluating nursing clinical competencies are needed. The purpose of this project was to integrate Lenburg’s COPA model and an EB assessment tool into a clinical grading rubric and evaluate the impact on senior nursing students’ clinical engagement and competency. 

Methods: A mixed-method descriptive design was used in the project. A literature review of educational assessment research across disciplines was conducted to identify EB student evaluation tools, processes, and methods. Unit-specific rubrics based on Lenburg’s COPA model were developed and implemented by instructors as clinical evaluation tools for senior-level students. Research questions for the study are 1) Does the use of the evaluation tool increase student clinical engagement and competency measured by faculty evaluation through course and clinical grades? 2) Does the use of the evaluation tool increase student self-reported engagement, competency, and attainment of course outcomes?

Results: Data was collected from a population of students (n=250) over a two-year period in a diploma nursing program. After implementation of the grading rubrics, clinical grades increased from an average score of 93.7% to 97.2%.  Overall course grades increased from 85.0% to 85.2%.  Likert-type responses indicated 89.4% of students believed the new evaluation method motivated them to be more engaged in the clinical setting.  Narrative course evaluation questions elicited themes of increased motivation to excel, greater proficiency, and clearer expectations.  

Conclusion: Innovative use of evidence-based evaluation methods in the clinical setting is needed.  Utilizing a grading rubric based on Lenburg’s COPA model for evaluating student clinical experience suggests increased engagement, competency, and attainment of course outcomes. Further research is merited.