Sunday, November 06, 2011

Angelo State's "Bad Tooth" Nursing Program

The headline ran "ASU Nursing degree may be extracted."  The story went on to detail poor student performance on the Registered Nurse exam for ASU's associate degree RN students.  Passing rates plummeted in 2010 and 2011, according to university officials.  This occurred after ASU received a grant expanding its nursing programs.  One could conclude the university lowered its admissions criteria to increase enrollment.

To address the poor test performance ASU added an entrance exam and raised admissions standards"

"We elevated the admission criteria, the minimum ACT score and GPA (grade-point average)," said Susan Wilkinson, head of the Department of Nursing and Rehabilitation Sciences.

ASU's  AD RN program has 192 students.  When the AD program is pulled, students will need to get a Bachelors of Science in Nursing.

Nursing is one of ASU's "programs of distinction."  Expansion came with negative side effects.  What lessons carry over to the wider ASU "grow at all costs" mentality?

Quality problems are the last thing Angelo State needs as it heads into SACS accreditation, when the university is already on dicey grounds. It'd likely be better if the Texas Tech board axed the program than an accrediting body.  Appearances matter, even when quality doesn't.

Update 12-14-11:  The Texas Tech Board of Regents will take up the extraction issue.

Update 2-13-12:  ASU's Associate Degree RN passing rate fell to 60% in 2011.  Quantity does not mean quality.

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