CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - July 7, 2010) -  The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN®) Board of Directors approved an overall passing standard of 55, with no individual section of the test at a scoring level below 50, for the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic). This decision is consistent with the previous passing standards recommended for other English language tests and the level of English proficiency needed to perform entry-level nursing safely and effectively. This recommendation also supports the NCSBN policy position on international nurse immigration, which states that "domestic and international nurses need to be proficient in written and spoken English skills."

NCSBN has approved similar passing standards on English language proficiency tests for the Test of English as a Foreign Language Computer-based Test (TOEFL CBT) in 2003 and for a version of the TOEFL Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT®), as well as for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS™) examination. NCSBN is now providing its member boards with another option for evaluating English language proficiency of licensure applicants by setting a minimum English proficiency requirement with PTE Academic. Given the number of internationally educated nurses who seek licensure in the U.S., defining a legally defensible passing standard, documenting the procedures used to identify that standard, and making the standard available to boards of nursing and other interested parties is a benefit to member board jurisdictions.

PTE Academic was developed to measure the English communication skills of nonnative English-speaking students in an academic environment. Owned and developed by Pearson, the test was cross-validated in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia and the U.S., to ensure that the test is representative of and measures international academic English. PTE Academic measures four English language skills via integrated test items: Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening. For more information about PTE Academic, visit

"Setting an English Language Proficiency Passing Standard for Entry-Level Nursing Practice Using the Pearson Test of English Academic," an NCSBN NCLEX Technical Brief, can be found on the NCSBN website at

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is a not-for-profit organization whose members include the boards of nursing in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories -- American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands. There are also four associate members.

Mission: The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), composed of Member Boards, provides leadership to advance regulatory excellence for public protection.

The statements and opinions expressed are those of NCSBN and not the individual member state or territorial boards of nursing.

National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.
111 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 2900
Chicago, IL 60601-4277

Contact Information:

Dawn M. Kappel
Marketing and Communications
312.525.3667 direct
312.279.1034 fax