Standardized Testing and Interactive Learning System (STILS) Policy for BSN and ELMSN Pre-licensure

The School of Nursing at Pacific Lutheran University uses the Kaplan Testing Program as a comprehensive tool for testing, remediation, and program evaluation. Use of the testing program begins in the Junior I semester, with course specific tests and resources integrated throughout each semester of the nursing program. As a comprehensive program, the resources offered can help students prepare more efficiently for NCLEX as well as course exams. All students enrolled in the BSN and ELMSN program tracks have access to Kaplan resources throughout the curriculum and for 90 days post-graduation.

The Kaplan Integrated Testing Program is comprised of a series of secure proctored online tests designed to evaluate the knowledge of students in a pre-licensure nursing curriculum leading to RN licensure. The tests are timed according to the same requirements allowed on the NCLEX-RN® exam, which is 83 seconds per question. Student performance on the exams assists in the identification of knowledge/ concept deficits in specific content areas, so that early remediation can be implemented.

Students should be aware that their ability to pass the NCLEX-RN® is strengthened by their ability to pass each series of tests at the suggested number of correct answers and at the required percentile ranking. Students should prepare for each Kaplan “Integrated Test” by reviewing related content outlined in The Basic Book (Kaplan Review Book), complete “Focused un-proctored tests” as assigned for each course, and review content presented in the theory courses.

Students will be scheduled for a three-day Kaplan Review Course upon graduation. The SoN office will arrange for the specific dates and will register students for this course during their Senior II semester. Once the dates are set and the students are registered, students may coordinate with Kaplan if different course dates are required. Students are expected to prioritize attendance to the scheduled review course if at all possible.

Kaplan Integrated Tests will be given in the semesters as outlined below. Students are required to complete all Integrated Tests assigned, including students who are repeating a course.

Kaplan Integrated Test Schedule

Fundamentals (306)Med Surg I (314)Med Surg 2 (401)Med Surg Comprehensive (406)
Wellness/Physical Assessment (307)Mental Health (315)Pharmacology (402)Readiness (483)


Kaplan Integrated Tests are scored using the statistical Roush probabilistic model which expresses both item difficulty and test-taker ability on the same scale.

Students receive both a total percent correct score (total percent score is strictly the number of questions answered correctly out of the total questions) and a percentile rank (the percentile score is the percentage of individuals in the total norm group who achieve scores at or below the individual’s score). An individual’s percentile rank describes the student’s exact position as compared with the norm group. The higher the percentile rank, the better the student has performed on the test. Percentile Rank is a more accurate indicator of performance than the raw percentage to determine students’ success on individual tests, because it takes into account the difficulty level of that test.

Course Grade

Integrated tests are graded and count toward the course grade. The following grading scale will be used for all of the integrated tests to contribute toward course grade, based on the percentile ranking the student achieves on the exam. Students who score below the 50th percentile on Integrated Proctored Tests will be required to take the Integrated Repeat Test assigned to the course. The average of the two scores will be used in calculating the final course grade.

Percentile RankingCourse Grade (Out of 100 points)
70th or higher94 (A)
60th – 69th90 (A-)
50th – 59th87 (B+)
40th – 49th84 (B)
30th – 39th80 (B-)
Below 30th76 (C)

Senior II Semester

Secured Predictor Test A: Integrated Tests will be graded at 20% of the course grade in NURS 483. Pharmacological/Parenteral Integrated Test A will be graded at 10% of the course grade. Predictor Tests have only raw percent scores. The grading scale used for the integrated tests with predictive scores will be posted in the NURS 483 syllabus and Sakai.

Students who score below the recommended threshold for Secured Predictor Test A will be issued a Performance Progression Alert and referred to their academic advisor for further analysis of test performance. In addition to the required remediation (see Remediation below), a written reflection to questions provided by NURS 483 faculty will be submitted to the course faculty and the student’s advisor. Students will also be expected to create a study plan for NCLEX success. The reflection and study plan will be placed in the student’s file.

Kaplan NCLEX-RN Review Course (Senior II Semester)

The “Kaplan NCLEX-RN® Review Course” is a live 3-day review course, typically scheduled the week after finals week. Students will have online access to Kaplan resources after completing the review course for 90 days. It is strongly recommended that the NCLEX-RN® licensing examination be completed as soon as possible after graduation. Students must complete the Diagnostic A Test on their own time prior to attending the NCLEX-RN® Review Course. Students will not be allowed to attend the course if proof of Diagnostic A is not provided to the course instructor.

Kaplan Focused Review Tests

The “Focused Review Tests” (e.g. Kaplan) are un-proctored practice tests associated with course content and assigned during each pre-licensure semester. These tests review basic nursing content and provide topical retest opportunities. The tests are designed to coach students through specific content. Each test provides rationale for correct and incorrect answers and comprehensive remediation, as well as alternative question stems to enhance student comprehension of the written questions.

The purpose of the Focused Review Tests is for students to have practice with NCLEX style questions and to increase student knowledge. The Focused Review Tests are not to be used to evaluate student knowledge.  Each semester students will have specific focused review tests assigned.

  • Each Focused Review Test consists of approximately 30 questions.
  • Tests are specifically placed in the curriculum to coincide with concepts being taught in that course. However, not all content questions on the focused review test will be taught in the course. Faculty should require students to complete all of the assigned Focused Review Tests to qualify to take the Integrated Secure Proctored Tests.
  • Students who repeat a course are required to complete all focused review tests assigned in that semester in order to take the Integrated Tests for that Semester.
  • Students must pass the Focused Review Tests at 90% in order to take the RN Integrated (secured and proctored) exam(s) at the end of the semester.
  • Students must complete all the Focused Review Tests assigned in the course to receive a course grade.
  • Students may take the Focused Review Tests, remediate, and retake Focused Review Tests as many times as desired to learn course content.
  • Students take these tests on their own time in preparation for taking the secured proctored test at the end of the semester.
  • Students will not be given extra credit in the course for completing these tests. Students take these tests on their own time in preparation for taking the secured proctored test at the end of the semester.


It is highly recommended that all students participate in remediation for both the Focused Review Un-proctored Tests (in preparation for the end of course Kaplan Integrated Test) and the Integrated Proctored Tests (as preparation for the Kaplan Secured Predictor and the Pharmacological/Parenteral Therapies A Integrated Assessments during the Senior II semester). Students are required to meet with their faculty advisor during their Junior II Review and Senior I semester to review scores, and trends, and to discuss suggestions in preparation for the NCLEX-RN®.

What is remediation?

  • The intentional study of content to improve student learning.
  • There is a difference between review and remediation. Review is “going over,” whereas remediation is taking the time to understand what you didn’t know.
  • Remediation is the process of improving or correcting a situation.
  • Remediation in this sense is a way of conducting self-feedback and evaluation to improve knowledge. Remediation confirms that you understand the information.

When should I remediate?

  • Remediation should happen immediately after completing a test
  • Review the question until you understand why the correct answer is the best answer, and why the other choices are wrong.
  • Remediation is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in multiple formats so students can correct knowledge deficits. Remediation tools include:
        1. Online remediation explanations with links to essential content from Kaplan Nursing and various nursing textbooks
        2. The Kaplan Basic Book
        3. Kaplan PowerPoint review and videos
  • Reference the document “Analyzing & Remediating your Kaplan Integrated Tests” on your course website for specific instructions.

Remediation for Focused Review Un-Proctored Tests

  • Students are required to participate in remediation of all questions on the Focused Review Tests.
  • Students can view their results and access remediation by clicking on “review results” on their homepage.
  • The question will appear followed by rationale for each possible answer to the question.
  • Topic Review: there may be up to 3 bolded areas:
    • Kaplan Overview – general information on the topic
    • Essential Nursing Care – more in-depth information that includes assessment, implementation, and outcomes
    • Background for Nursing Care – additional information on patient teaching, pathophysiology, and complications

Secured Predictor and Integrated Assessment (scheduled at the end of the semester)

Students must successfully complete all Focused Review Tests achieving a score of 90% or higher to qualify to take the Integrated & Secure Predictor Assessment examinations. Successful completion is demonstrated through taking the exam and completing all appropriate remediation. Faculty can verify successful completion, number of exam attempts, time spent in examinations, remediated content and time spent in remediation.

  • The Integrated Exams can be repeated once. Students failing to meet the national standard must complete remediation prior to retaking the exam.
  • The Predictor Assessment Examination is taken once in the final semester of the program.

Integrated Exams Percentile Ranking and Course Grade Points Scale

Percentile RankingCourse Grade (Out of 5% or 5 points)
90th or higher5
80th – 89th4.5
70th – 79th4.3
60th – 69th4.2
50th – 59th4.0
40th – 49th3.8
30th – 39th3.6
20th – 29th3.4
10th –19th3.2
Below 10th3.0

Analysis and Remediation of Integrated and Predictor Assessments

Students will receive a detailed test summary report after completing the Integrated Test. This report includes important information for analysis of your performance. The percentile rank (on Integrated Tests) is positioned above the overall or raw percent correct on the screen. The number correct, the number incorrect, and the number of test items not completed. If there are questions students did not reach, it is because the student ran out of time or quit the test before completing it. Answer-changing behavior is detailed on the right mid-screen.

On the detailed test summary report, students will not see test questions. Students will be shown information about specific content the question focused on and level of difficulty. A student’s performance according to level of difficulty, nursing process, clinical concept, demographic, and client need category is provided in bar graphs. Checkmarks indicate the number of questions that were answered correctly. Blue lines indicate the number of questions omitted. “N” indicates the total number of questions for each category.

Students not passing the Integrated exam must review the test analysis and meet with their advisor to discuss their remediation plan. Remediation will include retaking focused exams and completing content remediation sections for all incorrect and unanswered question content. Use the “Analyzing & Remediating your Kaplan Integrated Tests” document on your course website to assist in reviewing your test analysis and preparing your remediation plan.
The dates for retaking the Integrated Exams will be scheduled by the School of Nursing dependent upon proctor availability and occur prior to the start of the subsequent semester. Students must submit proof of remediation prior to the retake.

The Predictor Assessment Examination will be utilized by students to identify areas where they should focus their attention prior to sitting for the NCLEX-RN.

Overall Faculty Responsibilities for Creating a Climate of Success

      • Course leads are encouraged to take the Integrated Proctored Test assigned to their course and review remediation tools associated with the test.
      • Course leads and new faculty are encouraged to attend a training session with a Kaplan Nurse Educator.
      • Course leads are encouraged to attend an annual update of “Kaplan Live” session when organized by and held at the School of Nursing. The review session will be led by a Kaplan Nurse Educator. Course leads may also set up a personal online review session with a Kaplan Nurse Educator in lieu of attending the live course.
      • Documentation of completion of the review session should be provided by the faculty member and included with their annual review.

New Nursing Student Orientation

      • Provide incoming nursing students with an introduction to Kaplan with a presentation by Kaplan Nurse Educator. This will occur in N306 during the Junior I semester.
      • Provide students with SON policy for Standardized Testing and Interactive Learning System as found in the student handbook.
      • Brief intro to NCLEX. Emphasize it is an individual exam, computerized, multiple question formats, and  math calculations using an online screen, that tests content knowledge and critical thinking.
      • Stress and anxiety management need to be practiced throughout the Nursing program, not just in relation to NCLEX preparation/testing.
      • Provide students with username/password and brief overview of website.

Faculty/Academic Advisor Responsibilities:

      • Review Kaplan website each academic year to stay current with changes and new resources available for faculty and students. Resources include Mid-Fidelity and Essential Nursing Skills Simulation Videos, as well as NCLEX Prep Resources.
      • Attend or schedule online yearly Kaplan Review
      • Encourage use of Kaplan tools and resources
      • Encourage commitment to Focus Tests assigned by semester
      • Encourage commitment to test remediation after Focus and Integrated Tests. Discuss methods to remediation in courses (written analysis, tracking weak content areas, focused/quality time spent remediating)
      • Be available to meet with advisees to discuss Kaplan scores, study plans, and available resources
      • Discuss NCLEX test preparation in advising sessions
      • Integrate teaching/learning strategies in course and clinical that promote critical thinking and content application
      • Build NCLEX practice questions into evaluation methods (i.e. exams, lectures)

 Student Responsibilities

    • Develop a specific study plan for test preparation and adhere to it.
    • Commit to completing Focused Review Tests in preparation for Integrated Proctored Tests at the end of semester.
    • Meetings with advisors should occur during Sophomore II and Junior II semesters. Additional meetings should be scheduled based on individual need.
    • Commit to completing a test remediation plan that best suits individual learning and understanding.
    • Utilize Kaplan resources to reinforce learning (Mid-Fidelity and Essential Nursing Skills Simulation Videos).
    • Seek assistance through Office of Accessibility and Accommodation (OAA) for study and test-taking support if needed.
    • Students must request Alternative Testing Accommodations through OAA at the beginning of each semester.
    • Students should meet with professors at the beginning of the semester to discuss accommodations and the test schedule for each course.
    • Maintain a positive attitude and a vision of the goal (program completion and first-time success on the NCLEX).
    • Maintain personal wellness through healthy eating, adequate sleep, physical activity, healthy and responsible social activities.
    • Engage in anxiety control and stress reduction/management strategies as necessary before and during tests (centering, guided imagery, breathing, meditation, visualization, exercise, faith-based or cultural approaches, other relaxation techniques).
    • Self-identify to your academic advisor or course faculty if concerned about Kaplan/NCLEX success.
    • Accept personal responsibility for program success.