Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT)
Candidate ability - The level of entry-level nursing knowledge, skills and abilities that the candidate has.
Ability estimate - The level of entry-level nursing knowledge, skills and abilities that the computer has determined that the candidate has.
Passing standard - A cut point along an ability range that marks the minimum ability level requirement. For the NCLEX, it is the minimum ability required to safely and effectively practice nursing at the entry-level. Learn more about the passing standard here.
Logit - A unit of measurement to report relative differences between candidate ability estimates and item difficulties.
The NCLEX uses CAT to administer the exam. CAT is a method for administering exams that merges computer technology with modern measurement theory to increase the efficiency of the exam process.
NCLEX Using CAT
CAT is used for the NCLEX because it:
- Reduces the number of “easy” items that high-ability candidates receive; “easy” items tell little about a high performing candidate’s ability
Reduces the number of “difficult” items low-ability candidates receive; candidates tend to guess on items that are too difficult which can skew results
- Reduces item exposure and subsequent security risks
- Improves precision of measurement of the NCLEX candidate's ability related to nursing and
- Provides a valid and reliable measurement of nursing competence
Item Selection Video
The computer decides whether you passed or failed the NCLEX using one of three rules: