A study of factors affecting pass rates of level 5 written assessments for undergraduate adult nursing students

Stuart Barker*, Claire Ford, Deborah Flynn, Sue Tiplady

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nursing programmes were flexible during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering simulation to replace clinical hours and adjusting supervision and assessment. However, second-year students in two modules had lower results despite no changes to the material, team or delivery. Objectives: A retrospective cohort study was conducted, on second-year adult nursing students who submitted written assignments, to analyse recurring patterns that could explain the failure rate. Method: Data were analysed from 265 university students to identify patterns of association in demographics, module results and student engagement indicators. Results: A positive correlation was found between age and assignment results, with older students achieving higher grades. Clustering identified three patterns of student engagement. Students demonstrating engagement with all aspects of the course (30.2%) performed significantly better than those in other clusters (P<0.001). Students with disabled student support recommendations performed notably worse than those without. All sizeable differences were resolved following the return to campus and the implementation of additional writing support. Discussion: Age, cross-medium engagement and preparation were all shown to have an impact on marks. These findings can influence how higher education institutions drive and monitor engagement, as this study suggests that all parts of a blended learning approach are equally important.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-298
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
Issue number6
Early online date21 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2024

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