Evaluating the cutoff score of the advanced practice nurse certification examination in Korea

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Aim: This study aimed to evaluate the cutoff score of the Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) certification examination determined using two standard-setting methods and to compare it with the current score. Background: The APN qualification is established by passing a certification examination. However, the method of determining the passing criterion is different among countries. In Korea, the passing criterion has been predetermined as 60% of the total score or above without any theoretical or empirical basis. Design: In this study, two typical and popular standard-setting methods, the modified Angoff and Bookmark methods, were used to determine the passing criterion of the APN certification examination. Methods: The performance data of a gerontological APN certification examination were used to conduct standard setting with both the modified Angoff and Bookmark methods. The total number of examinees in the dataset was 121. Item analysis with a 2-parameter logistic model was performed based on the item response theory using the Bilog-MG3.0 program. A total of 5 raters in APN education and clinical nursing practice were selected. Results: The modified Angoff and Bookmark methods gave cutoff scores of 113 and 110.5 with passing ratios of 52.9% and 57.0%, respectively. These results were different from the conventional cutoff score of 90 with a passing ratio of 93.4%. Conclusion: The present arbitrary fixed cutoff score should be reconsidered to improve the robustness of the APN qualification and standard-setting methods should be employed to determine an adequate cutoff score for the APN certification examination to ensure the competency of APNs in providing advanced care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103407
JournalNurse Education in Practice
StatePublished - Aug 2022

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© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Advanced practice nurse
  • Certification examination
  • Cutoff score
  • Standard


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