June 24, 2013 13:00 ET

NCSBN Board of Directors Approves Passing Standard for Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Jun 24, 2013) - The National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc. (NCSBN®),, Board of Directors approved a passing standard of a total passing score of 81 and a speaking section score of 3 on the Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments (CaMLA) MELAB.

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 Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) in 2010, 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.

"With the addition of this test, NCSBN is providing its member boards with another option for evaluating English language proficiency of licensure applicants by setting a minimum English proficiency requirement with MELAB," remarks NCSBN Board of Directors President Myra A. Broadway, JD, MS, RN, executive director, Maine State Board of Nursing.

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 its member board jurisdictions.

"In nursing it is essential that professionals demonstrate the English language skills needed to provide safe and effective care," stated Casey Marks, PhD, CEO, CaMLA. "Adoption of this English language standard for the MELAB demonstrates NCSBN's strong commitment to psychometrically sound and legally defensible examinations, as well as public health, safety and welfare."

Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments (CaMLA) developed MELAB as a complete language proficiency assessment for advanced-level users of English as a second or foreign language who need to use English for academic and professional use. The four component skills of listening, reading, writing, and speaking are evaluated through a combination of tasks. For more information on MELAB visit

Founded March 15, 1978, as an independent not-for profit organization, NCSBN was created to lessen the burdens of state governments and bring together boards of nursing (BONs) to act and counsel together on matters of common interest. NCSBN's membership is comprised of the BONs 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 12 associate members that are either nursing regulatory bodies or empowered regulatory authorities from other countries or territories.

NCSBN Member Boards protect the public by ensuring that safe and competent nursing care is provided by licensed nurses. These BONs regulate more than 3 million licensed nurses, the second largest group of licensed professionals in the U.S.

Mission: NCSBN provides education, service and research through collaborative leadership to promote evidence-based regulatory excellence for patient safety and 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

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