Comparison of native versus nonnative English-speaking nurses on critical thinking assessments at entry and exit.

Abstract

Diversity of language among healthcare employees and nursing students is growing as diversity increases among the general population. Institutions have begun to develop systems to accommodate diversity and to assimilate workers. One barrier to nonnative English-speaking nurse hires may be posed by readiness for the licensure exam and the critical thinking assessments that are now an expected outcome of nursing programs, and act as a gatekeeper to graduation and to employment. To assist in preparing for high-stakes testing, the Assessment Technologies Institute Critical Thinking Assessment was developed in compliance with credentialing bodies' educational outcomes criteria. This pilot study of 209 nursing students was designed to reveal any possible language bias that might act as a barrier to nonnative English speakers. Nursing students were entered as whole classes to the study to control for selection bias. A sample representative of national nursing enrollment was obtained from 21 universities, with 192 (92%) native English-speaking students and 17 (8%) nonnative English speakers participating in the study. All students were given the Assessment Technologies Institute Critical Thinking Assessment at entry and exit to their nursing program. Average scores on entry were 66% for nonnative speakers and 72% for native speakers. At exit, the nonnative speakers had closed the gap in academic outcomes. They had an average score of 72% compared to 73% for native speakers. The study found that the slight differences between the native and nonnative speakers on 2 exit outcome measures-National Council licensure examination (NCLEX-RN) pass rates and Critical Thinking Assessment-were not statistically significant, demonstrating that nonnative English speakers achieved parity with native English-speaking peers on the Critical Thinking Assessment tool, which is often believed to be related to employment readiness.

Cite this paper

@article{Whitehead2006ComparisonON, title={Comparison of native versus nonnative English-speaking nurses on critical thinking assessments at entry and exit.}, author={Tanya D Whitehead}, journal={Nursing administration quarterly}, year={2006}, volume={30 3}, pages={285-90} }