Entrance criteria for nursing programs: Equality of opportunity or de facto discrimination

by Primrose, Pamela B., Ph.D., INDIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, 2010, 197 pages; 3404458

Abstract:

The acute nursing shortage across the nation is compounded by underrepresented minorities in health care in light of the growing diversity of America's citizenry. These issues are converging into a major debate in higher education regarding admission policies and practices to ensure entry of most qualified students to meet the growing demand for nurses. While nursing programs have been charged with increasing the diversity of students admitted into their programs, it has not yet come to fruition.

This investigation evaluates entrance criteria for RN associate of science degree nursing programs (ASN) at two-year institutions using an ex post facto design to determine if nurse entrance criteria provide for equal opportunity for admission or results in de facto discrimination. The research examines the effect of nurse entrance criteria of overall Total Quality Points (TQP) for non-science, non-math, math, and science courses, and nurse entrance exam scores, specifically the Test of Academic Assessment Skills (TEAS) to determine how they impact the admission of minority students, specifically African American students, into the nursing program.

Admissions criteria of TEAS only, TEAS plus TQP, TEAS and TQP separately, and TQP only are assessed to determine which criteria maximize the admission rate of minority students into nursing programs along with regression studies to identify which demographics or characteristics significantly impact the success of African American students' performance on the TEAS test or to determine if de facto discrimination is present. Identification of various stages of elimination of students from the applicant pool as it is narrowed down will aid in determining which levels of the admissions criteria may require intervention during the pre-nursing preparation phase. This study will investigate the role of standardized tests as a barrier to minority enrollment.

Data analyses revealed discrimination against African American students seeking entrance into the ASN program at three community colleges. The TEAS test was a serious barrier to African American student inclusion in the final applicant pool and consideration for admission into the ASN program. Students who did not pass all TEAS subsets did not move forward for inclusion in the final applicant pool. Those African American students in the applicant pool were also negatively impacted by the TEAS test as well as TQP after controlling for first generation status, age, high school rank, and high school rigor. Thus, the admission process for the ASN program using TEAS as an admission criterion is discriminatory against African American students.

AdviserWilliam Barratt
SchoolINDIANA STATE UNIVERSITY
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsEducation Health Sciences; Nursing
Publication Number3404458

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