Nursing Education

Teach-Back + Video Raises Test Scores

See how test scores and NCLEX pass rates improved using teach-back strategies

See the marked improvement one nursing program experienced by incorporating the teach–back method and using video.


Connie Wilson:

We saw, and really quickly in that first PM semester, adding specifically that notes assignment at the end of the week made a huge increase in their test scores. And even though it just an 89 to 93%, really we saw those lower students really move up, the ones that were getting those C pluses. Our program, you have to have a B minus or better on all unit exams to move forward in the course or in the program, actually.

So the exams are just really vital to the students. So we saw great increase in the exam scores and then my first blush at this whole process of having my assignments at day one, making the classroom a little bit more meaningful, which doing things like I would add Play-Doh to the patho when we were learning Alzheimer’s disease and we would make the plaques and tangles out of Play-Doh.

I used debate assignments in fluid and electrolytes, which when you say moving to meaningful, what I had to do is I had this debate assignment where one side had a case scenario and had to defend using colloids for fluid resuscitation. And the other side had to defend crystalloids for fluid resuscitation. But when I decided, and this was my spring of ’22, to really see if I could get these students to really move forward, I took that debate assignment and I asked a local CRNA, a certified registered nurse anesthetist who’s really a fun open-minded nurse who loves to be part of our program. He was a judge and the med surge nurse manager was a judge. So it really made those students really prepare for this assignment. And I’ll tell you, my students know everything they need to know about crystalloid and colloid fluids.

And the other thing I do is add a tiny bit of extra credit to their unit exams because they really try harder and take things more seriously if they get a little bit of extra credit on this debate assignment. I also use sims and what I’ve been finding lately, and you guys probably know this too, but in our simulations, if we can make the students actually be the actors, I feel like they understand it more and learn more from actually acting out the disease. I just did an interagency sim last week where the students actually were the actors and they weren’t part of the sim.

We were testing the EMS and it was a mock code for the emergency room of our local facility. My students were the actors and, man, they know everything they know need to know about burns now, because it was a burn explosion of a husband and wife and the wife was pregnant. She had an abruption. It was beautiful. But anyway, I feel like they learned more out of that day than two or three days worth of lecture.

But going back to this wonderful chart of moving from 73% first time pass rate to 100%, I want to make sure you understand this is one cohort. For seven years I’ve always had one to two students fail on their first attempt, and of course that’s not great for our accreditation. But I don’t want to think about it that way. I want to think about how I want them to pass on first attempt because we need them. We’re in a nursing shortage. We need them, and we need them right away. My second time pass rates are very high, but I just felt this urgency to make sure I was doing something extra to help them get this content that last semester to really stick in their minds so that they could do well on their boards. And so far things look really encouraging.