Is there evidence of failing to fail in our schools of nursing?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


AIM: To assess evidence for "failing to fail" in undergraduate nursing programs. BACKGROUND: Literature on grading practices largely focuses on clinical or academic grading. Reviewing both as distinct entities may miss a more systemic grading problem. METHOD: A cross-sectional survey targeted 235 faculty within university and community colleges in a western state. Chi-square tests of independence explored the relation between institutional and faculty variables. RESULTS: The response rate was 34 percent. Results suggest failing to fail may be evident across the sector in both clinical and academic settings:43 percent of respondents had awarded higher grades than merited; 17.7 percent had passed written examinations they felt should fail; 66 percent believed they had worked with students who should not have passed their previous placement. CONCLUSION: Failing to fail cuts across instructional settings. Further exploration is imperative if schools are to better engender a climate for rigorously measuring student attainment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-231
Number of pages6
JournalNursing education perspectives
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Clinical practice
  • Educational assessment
  • Educational measurement
  • Nurse faculty
  • Student performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Education


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