For Release October 8

South Dakota University Graduates’ Outstanding Performance on Licensure Exams

RAPID CITY—The South Dakota Board of Regents, in its regular business meeting at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology today, received a report of the performance of South Dakota university graduates on state and national licensure and certification examinations in 1997 and 1998. In every test reported South Dakota students met or exceeded the national average, where such comparisons were available.

"Overall I’d say that the performance of our graduates on these exams confirms what we have known all along," said Regents President James O. Hansen. "South Dakota kids can hold their own with anyone. The examinations included in the report that was presented to us are those that graduates must pass before they will be allowed to practice in that profession. These students have a lot riding on their scores. They have to pass in order to get on with their career plans."

Among those examinations required nationally, 100 percent of the graduates in respiratory care from Dakota State University passed the National Board for Respiratory Care entry level examination in 1997. Nationally, only 61 percent passed the exam at the second exam date in July.

One hundred percent of the Bachelor of Pharmacy graduates from South Dakota State University passed the National Association of Board of Pharmacy Licensure Examination compared with 91 percent nationally. In addition, 100 percent of the dental hygiene graduates at the University of South Dakota passed the National Board of Dental Hygiene Examination offered by the American Dental Association. National scores for 1998 were not yet available at the time of this report.

In other national exams, 98 percent of the USD Medical School Class of 1998 passed both steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination on the first attempt. Nationally, 93 percent passed Step 1 and 95 percent passed Step 2 on the first attempt. Ninety percent of the USD masters degree graduates in audiology passed the National Teachers Exam, Audiology Section, while 91 percent of the speech pathology majors passed the National Examination in Speech Language Pathology. Both exams are given by the American Speech and Hearing Association exam. National comparisons for these tests are not available.

At the associate of arts degree level, 88.23 percent of the nursing students in the USD program passed the exam, compared with 88.07 percent nationally. At SDSU in the bachelor of nursing program, 89 percent of the graduates passed the National Council Licensure Examination of Registered Nurses, while 88 percent successfully completed the exam nationally.

"These test results clearly show that the professional programs offered at South Dakota public universities are every bit as rigorous as would be found anywhere in the country," said Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry. "The certification and licensing requirements for these professions are established by associations or boards composed of professionals from all over the country. Meeting these standards means that our graduates are getting a wonderful education and our programs can compete with anybody."

Among licensing examinations administered at the state level, 100 percent of the bachelor’s degree graduates in social work from USD successfully completed the South Dakota Social Work Licensing Examination. Eighty-five percent of the first-time takers of the South Dakota Bar Examination passed the exam in July while 89 percent passed it in February.

For many of the professional programs the Regents received information that showed the percentage of graduates passing these examinations over a period of years. "Historically our students have met or exceeded national averages in most licensing tests," said Perry. "Where we have not, the Regents and the universities have strengthened the programs to ensure that graduates would meet standards. In addition to licensing students to practice in their chosen careers, these exam results also serve the purpose of letting the universities know where they have to do more to serve the students, where they have to increase the rigor of the program to be more accountable."

The Regents were told that other examinations are given in other fields, but because those tests are not required for a graduate to practice that profession, those results were not included in this report.

Licensure and Certification Report 1997-98

University Program Number of Writers Number Passed SD % Total Writers Passed National % Passed
DSU Respiratory Care 10 10 100 48% in Mar ’97; 61% in Jul ‘97
SDSU Bachelor of Pharmacy 42 42 100 91
USD Dental Hygiene 2 2 100 unavailable
USD US Medical Licensing Examination Step 1: 47 Step 2: 50 Step 1: 46 Step 2: 49 Step 1: 98 Step 2: 98 Step 1: 93 Step 2: 95
USD National Teachers Exam, Audiology Section 10 9 90 unavailable
USD National Council Licensure Examination of Registered Nurses 136 120 88.23 88.07
SDSU National Council Licensure Examination of Registered Nurses 130 116 89 88
USD National Examination in Speech Language Pathology 34 31 91 unavailable
USD SD Social Work Licensing Examination 20 20 100 no comparison
USD SD Bar Examination Feb ’98: 9

Jul ’98: 46

Feb ’98: 8 Jul ’98: 39 Feb ’98: 89 Jul ’98: 85 no comparison


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