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Nursing professors will lead study to assess CASPer

Jun 25, 2018
Guylaine Spencer

Maria Pratt and Joanna Pierazzo

Photo above: Dr. Maria Pratt and Dr. Joanna Pierazzo

Dr. Joanna Pierazzo and Dr. Maria Pratt, two assistant professors in the School of Nursing, are co-leading a research study called “CASPerTM: An innovative tool to assess the best candidates for admission to the BScN Program”. Co-investigators are: Tracey Jewiss, Kirsten Culver, Lynn Martin, Ruth Chen, Olive Wahoush, Ola Lunyk-Child (retired). The project is funded through Nursing Education Research Unit (NERU).

The researchers hope to find out how effective CASPerTM has been for the school since the School adopted it three years ago.

CASPerTM stands for Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics, a web-based situational judgement test that takes 90 minutes to complete. To complete this test, applicants to the BScN program watch and read a series of scenarios and then have time to respond in writing to questions about the scenarios. Unlike a standard academic exam that tests knowledge and intellectual ability, CASPerTM tests for personal characteristics such as communication, teamwork, ethical/moral development, empathy, caring, and professionalism. Each characteristics reflect those that are highly valued in the nursing profession.

CASPerTM is a made-at-McMaster innovation created by Dr. Harold Reiter and Dr. Kelly Dore. In 2010, the School of Medicine at McMaster University introduced it as a way to screen all applicants and select those who would go to the next stage in the selection process, the Multiple Mini Interview. The School of Nursing introduced it as one part of their admission criteria in 2016.

“Our team is evaluating the success, benefits, and challenges of introducing CASPerTM to the McMaster BScN program,” says Pierazzo.

McMaster is one of the first schools of nursing to adapt the tool as part of the admission process.

“There are about 15 other schools of nursing that are using it in Canada and a few in the US as well,” Pratt says. “We have been looking carefully at grades and other evaluation measures to determine what potential impact it has had for our students. I think other schools are looking for our output to determine whether they will follow suit.”

There were plans from the beginning of its adoption to assess CASPerTM after a few years, and the team now has a few years of data to use for analysis. “In our database we have included the pre-CASPerTM scores, so we have a baseline,” says Pierazzo. 

For more information about CASPerTM, see:

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