Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Janet Reid-Hector


The Institute of Medicine and the National League of Nursing have called for curricular reform that promotes high first-time pass rates on the National Counsel of Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). A campus in the southeastern region of the United States implemented a concept-based curriculum; however, the effect on the first-time NCLEX-RN pass rates was unknown. The purpose of this comparative study was to determine if the concept-based curriculum improved student scores on the NCLEX-RN. Dreyfus' model of learning guided this study because of the andragogy tenets, which in turn supported the concept-based curricula. The research questions examined the differences in NCLEX-RN pass rates, Diagnostic, and Readiness exam scores between students taught with a content-based and those taught with the concept-based curriculum. The chi-square test for pass rates and MANOVA for test scores was employed to analyze archival test data from 237 participants, 100 who had studied under the content-based and 137 under a concept-based curriculum. Participants included all nursing graduates from the years 2008-2014 who had taken the NCLEX-RN exam. Results indicated that concept-based curriculum had significantly better first-time pass rates on the NCLEX-RN exam (85%) than did content-based curriculum (73%). Results also indicated that the concept-based curriculum had a higher Diagnostic exam mean score (64.77) as compared to the content-based curriculum (61.19) as well as Readiness exam mean score (70.99) as compared to the content-based curriculum (61.19). Implications for positive social change include providing the research site with results that support shifting the curriculum of the nursing program to a more innovative, concept-based approach to improve exam scores and first-time pass rates.