Date of Conferral
High attrition rates and a nursing shortage across the nation have led schools of nursing to seek out ways to better identify which applicants will be most successful in graduating from the nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Nursing programs have historically included standardized entrance exam scores and prerequisite scores among their admission criteria but have not used standardized critical thinking assessments (CTA), even though critical thinking is an integral part of being a successful nursing professional. Using Astin's input-environment-output (I-E-O) model, the purpose of this retrospective correlational study was to determine whether a significant relationship exists between prerequisite grade point average (GPA), Test for Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) composite scores, entrance and exit CTA scores, and nursing GPA and the outcome of interest, passing the NCLEX-RN exam. Archival data for 64 students enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program at a Texas university were analyzed using binary logistic regression. A significant positive relationship was found between prerequisite GPA, TEAS composite scores, entrance and exit CTA scores, and nursing GPA, and the outcome of interest, passing the NCLEX-RN exam. However, in looking at each independent variable separately, no significant relationship was revealed between the individual scores of the prerequisite GPA, TEAS composite, entrance and exit critical thinking assessment, nursing GPA, and the outcome of passing the NCLEX-RN exam on the first attempt. These findings have implications for positive social change by illuminating the complexities of nursing program retention and graduation and informing efforts to train the most talented nurses.