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The NCLEX-PN(R) Examination Passing Standard Revised for Public Safety


CHICAGO, IL -- 12/22/2004 -- The National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN) voted at its November 29 - December 1, 2004 meeting to raise the passing standard for the NCLEX-PNŽ examination, the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses. The new passing standard is -0.4200 logits on the NCLEX-PN logistic scale, 0.050 logits higher than the previous standard of -0.4700. It will take effect on April 1, 2005, in conjunction with the new 2005 NCLEX-PN Test Plan.

NCSBN increased the passing standard in response to changes in U.S. health care delivery and nursing practice that have resulted in the increased acuity of clients seen by entry-level PNs. After considering all available information, the Board of Directors determined that safe and effective entry-level PN practice requires a greater level of knowledge, skills, and abilities than was required in 2002, when NCSBN established the current standard.

The NCSBN Board of Directors used multiple sources of information to guide its evaluation and discussion regarding the change in passing standard. As part of this process, NCSBN convened an expert panel of nine nurses to perform a criterion-referenced standard setting procedure. The panel’s findings supported the creation of a higher passing standard. NCSBN also considered the results of a national survey of nursing professionals including nursing educators, directors of nursing in acute care settings, and administrators of long-term care facilities.

In accordance with a motion adopted by the 1989 Delegate Assembly of the NCSBN, the NCSBN Board of Directors evaluates the passing standard for the NCLEX-PN examination every three years to protect the public by ensuring minimal competence for entry-level PNs. NCSBN coordinates the passing standard analysis with the three-year cycle of test plan content evaluation, conducted using a practice analysis of entry-level PNs. This three-year cycle was developed to keep the test content and passing standard current with entry-level practice. The 2005 NCLEX-PN Test Plan is available now free of charge electronically for download or in hard copy for purchase via the NCSBN web site (

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN) is a not-for-profit organization whose membership comprises the boards of nursing in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five United States territories -- American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Mission: The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), composed of Member Boards, provides leadership to advance regulatory excellence for public protection.

Media inquiries may be directed to the contact listed above. Technical inquiries about the NCLEX examination may be directed to the NCLEX information line at 1.866.293.9600 or


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