Test blueprinting is a vital piece of writing an excellent nursing exams for students. For students to be successful on the NCLEX, the nurse educator must prepare and give exams that genuinely assess the student learning at the level needed to pass the NCLEX exam. Test blueprints help in this process.
Here are nine reasons to implement test blueprinting:
- Test blueprinting ensures consistency and alignment of course objectives to course assessments. The blueprinting process allows for a true assessment of knowledge with appropriate exam questions. It guarantees the level of cognitive process needed to answer the question is the same as the level of cognitive process it took to learn the content (Kubisyn & Borich, 2003; Worthen et al., 1999).
- Students will know what subject matter will be covered on the nursing exam and how the exams relate to course objectives. The test blueprint should be shared with students, making the assessment process transparent so they can understand expectations and what the instructor sees as the most important topics.
- Test blueprinting avoids under-representation of coverage of objectives, NCLEX categories or topics presented during the learning experiences.
- Biases are possible when writing exams, but are avoidable by employing a test blueprint.
- Test blueprinting – when using commercial software programs – allows each question to be “tagged.” This tagging enables statistics to show if the course objectives are genuinely appropriate to meet the desired outcomes (Coderre, 2009).
- Each course objective should measure rigorous cognitive levels. A test blueprint allows the test developer to determine if the students can only answer the easier questions.
- Alignment to other standards such as NCLEX test plan categories, end of program outcomes or national accreditation standards can occur when using a test blueprint.
- Test blueprints allow for the development of multiple items and arrangement of questions covering a variety of topics. This safeguards the test developer from writing too many questions of one objective and not including other topics or objectives.
- The test blueprint can contain the weighting of each item and the number of questions that will be developed across any one topic. The blueprint will allow the test developer to ensure lecture time is appropriately allotted. The most heavily covered topics should have more questions than the topics that were not covered in depth. Be sure to classify each question according to the topics outlined in the blueprint.
Preparing students to take the NCLEX is one of the essential goals of the nursing program. A test blueprint is similar to a map and directs the learner and the instructor toward a well-developed educational sound exam. To learn more about test blueprints and how Intellistem Writer can work for you, contact us today.
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- National Board of Medical Examiners. “Test Blueprinting I: Selecting an Assessment Method”. 2019.
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- US Department of Education. “Assessment Blueprint.” Adapted from the Ohio Department of Education. 2013. Weber State University. “Create Test Blueprint.” Instructional Design Series Workshop.
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