Best Practices in Assessment for Graduate-Level Nursing Programs

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Preparing advanced-level postgraduate nurse educators, managers, and leaders is no easy task for any graduate nursing program. Graduate nursing programs have to manage and plan student assessment outlines, course design, rubric creation, rubric grading, exam creation, exam delivery, and exam grading and provide student feedback on assignment and exam performance—all while making sure that graduate nursing students are held accountable to student code of conduct standards. Graduate nursing education is a colossal undertaking.

The good news is that ExamSoft’s user-friendly, all-in-one platform was specifically designed for graduate nursing student assessment, rubric creation, rubric grading, exam delivery, exam grading, and exam reporting.

Strategic Assessment

Whether a graduate nursing program is trying to measure Bloom’s Taxonomy, pharmacogenomics, or advanced pathopharmacology, ExamSoft can help. ExamSoft’s embedded-assessment tool makes creating an exam blueprint a breeze by giving faculty the power to create and “tag” specific questions to categorical learning outcomes, course objectives, or even accreditation standards. Desired categories can be easily added, refined, and collaborated on, making curriculum design and mapping easy for faculty. Finally, real-time, easily digestible reports from selected and measured question categories can be easily created to provide critical performance feedback to graduate nursing students, faculty, and even program administrators.

“Math calculations are a huge thing. I can see in that reporting what they were doing wrong. Are they consistently making the same error on these math questions? Then what I see after those remediation sessions is that…those students are more successful because we can identify those problems, fix them, and then they can do better on future tests.”
Katy Trotty, MSN, RN, Clinical Instructor
Richard and Lucille DeWitt School of Nursing, Stephen F. Austin State University

Observational Examination Rubrics

Clinicals, objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), oral presentations, essays, and project reporting represent only some of the ways that graduate nursing students are tested. Enter ExamSoft Rubrics. ExamSoft’s ExamSCORE OSCE tool makes grading observational and artifact assessments simple. Dr. Sarah B. Zahl, the Assistant Dean for Accreditation Logistics and Advancement at the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, describes how rubrics can help faculty “to assess a student’s ability to deal with emotions, values, and feelings in order to ensure that he/she will be able to develop personally and professionally when dealing with patients.”

Just as with traditional exam types, rubric dimensions can also be “tagged” to the measured categories mentioned in the earlier section. Tagging rubric dimensions to desired learning outcomes helps identify strength and improvement opportunities for graduate nursing students. With question tagging and rubric assessment tools, 360 degrees of student performance becomes available for graduate nursing faculty to act upon.

A Secure, Offline Testing Platform

The importance of healthcare for families and individuals makes testing extremely high stakes for any graduate nursing program. This is why having a secure, stable testing application that is not reliant on Wi-Fi and available on iPads, Surface Pros, Mac laptops, and PC laptops is so important. Exam day stress can be mitigated without the frustrating internet issues wreaking havoc on both students and staff.

With ExamSoft’s cutting-edge, evidence-based assessment tools and incredible offline testing platform, Examplify, graduate nursing programs will be able to reach their assessment goals and desired learning outcomes. Why wait? Request a consultation today to learn how we can build a custom solution to fit your needs.

Published: March 6, 2019

Updated: January 19, 2023

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