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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An examination of grade distribution patterns and grade inflation at a baccalaureate nursing program
by Zellner, Kathleen M., Ph.D., Capella University, 2008, 159; 3304475
Abstract (Summary)

Grade inflation has been repeatedly examined in general higher education, and thought to be particularly problematic in liberal education. While science majors and professional programs with heavy emphasis on mathematics and science have been considered to be exempt from grade inflation, little rigorous work has been done to either prove or disprove this theory. Information is particularly scanty regarding the existence of grade inflation in nursing. This study explored grade distribution patterns in a baccalaureate college of nursing where heavy emphasis is placed on success in science courses, and looked specifically at the effects of a curriculum change on grading patterns. A secondary exploration was conducted to determine the effects of grades and grading patterns on graduate nurse success on the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX). Additionally, an attempt was made to identify admission and progression characteristics that carry significance in predicting NCLEX success. Two hundred and thirty-eight transcripts were reviewed, and grades were documented and analyzed. Grades and grading patterns remained consistent over the time frame studied. While a slight increase in cumulative college and cumulative nursing GPAs was noted, these increases coincided with a similar increase in a singular admitting characteristic, the ACT composite score, leading to the conclusion that aptitude may have also increased. No differences were found between gender groups, or between the cohort groups examined. While 15 of 17 nursing courses examined held high predictability, none stood out as a defining course.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kozoll, Charles
Commitee: Bronner, Julia, Misite, Phyllis
School: Capella University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 69/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Nursing, Higher education, Health education
Keywords: Accelerated program, Baccalaureate nursing, Curriculum change, Grade distribution patterns, Grade inflation, Grading trends, NCLEX success, Nursing, Nursing education
Publication Number: 3304475
ISBN: 978-0-549-53848-6
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