Excelsior College’s School of Nursing competency-based Associate’s Degree program assess student mastery through aligned learning content, instructional activities, and evaluations. Each curricular phase connects to and builds off of the previous one in cognitive complexity to help students broaden their learning and enhance future practice in the real world. Because the students in Excelsior’s program are currently employed in health care settings and enrolled in the program to advance their knowledge and technical skills, learning often takes place in novel contexts such as in the workplace itself.

Excelsior College’s School of Nursing Associate’s Degree uses various types of assessments to measure learning in multiple and innovative contexts. Assessments include reflective exercises, standardized multiple choice examinations, computer simulations, and the Clinical Performance in Nursing Examination® (CPNE®). The CPNE is a criterion-referenced clinical performance examination occurring in health care agencies and assesses students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes for entering professional nursing practice. The capstone examination assesses student achievement of the competencies associated with patient-centered care, nursing judgment, professional identity, and spirit of inquiry. These areas are based on standards and competencies of the American Nurses Association, National League for Nursing, Quality and Safety Education in Nursing (QSEN), and The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals. The curriculum uses the most current National Council State Board of Nursing Practice Analysis and the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX-RN) Test Plan, so competencies being assessed reflect contemporary requisite knowledge and skills for the graduate’s role in the healthcare setting. Assessments are developed by Excelsior’s subject matter experts – full-time faculty and professional nurse consultants and are regularly reviewed for validity and reliability. Scored examinations provide data that demonstrate achievement of end-of-program student learning outcomes.