Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Nursing and Allied Health Professions

First Advisor

Kristy S. Chunta, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Elizabeth A. Palmer, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Susan G. Poorman, Ph.D.


A primary objective of nursing students and nursing programs includes first-time success on the NCLEX-RN®. As the nursing shortage continues, it is essential to have qualified nursing graduates pass the NCLEX-RN®. One approach some nursing programs have chosen to implement regarding augmenting nursing students’ probability of success on the NCLEX-RN® includes the administration of an exit examination. This exit examination is tailored to mimic the NCLEX-RN® blueprint; thereby this examination may reveal the nursing students’ readiness for the NCLEX-RN®.

The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between nursing student test-taking motivation and exit examination score. In addition, this study explored if demographic variables and type of nursing program influenced test-taking motivation in the nursing student. The Expectancy-Value Theory of Achievement Motivation guided this study using a model to assess the nursing students’ expectations and belief of success on the exit examination.

A quantitative, descriptive correlational design was used to assess nursing student test-taking motivation when taking the exit examination. The convenience sample included 150 senior nursing students from two academic institutions in one Midwest state that were required to take an exit examination in their last semester of school. The Student Opinion Scale (SOS) was utilized to examine the motivational concepts of effort and importance on the exit examination.

This study revealed that a moderate correlation existed between nursing student Total motivation score and exit examination score. Further statistical analysis revealed that the only demographic variable of grade point average (GPA) demonstrated a small correlation with Total Motivation Score on the SOS.

The results of the study offer nurse educators and nursing programs insight regarding nursing student preparedness for the NCLEX-RN ®. The implications of this study may be used by nurse educators when deciding whether a nursing student is ready to take the NCLEX-RN ® or be required to complete extensive remediation before taking the NCLEX-RN®. Future studies should examine specific motivational factors that influence test-taking motivation in nursing students.