Examining Student Preparation for Certification Examination: An Exploratory Case Study
TAYLOR, HELEN CATHERINE
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This research paper explores three university-level programs with mandatory licensing exams for graduates who wish to attain professional certification. Specifically, the study explored the affordances and constraints associated with curricular alignment and program accreditation, student success on licensure, and student satisfaction. The specific programs and the licensure exams are: the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN), who are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN), the Master of Applied Disability Studies (MADS), who write the Behavior Analyst Certification Board Exam, and the Bachelor of Accounting/Master of Accountancy (BAcc/MAcc), who are eligible to take the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) Common Final Examination (CFE). The study used a scoping review of the literature specific to the NCLEX-RN to help inform an exploratory case study of three academic programs that are offered through a University in Ontario, all leading to licensure exams. The programs are designed to ensure that students are prepared to write the licensure exams and provide more material that is integral to the practice but is not necessarily tested on the licensure exam. Using curriculum and accreditation review processes, administrators/faculty and students can provide insight into processes that could aid future students for licensure exams. When comparing the findings from analyses of transcripts from one program and documents across all three programs, it is apparent that there are many similarities across the programs despite the differences in the actual curricular goals and licenses. However, there appears to be a disconnect in the Nursing program, since they use the greatest number of the identified techniques/tools, but still have lower percentages of first-time pass rates than the other two programs. This provides an area for future study and analysis.