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What Is the National Health Science Assessment & How Do You Prepare Students for It?

The National Health Science Assessment is an exam developed by the National Consortium for Health Science Education to measure a student’s knowledge of health science skills and concepts.

The assessment is designed as an end-of-program exam, taking multiple years of health science education into consideration.national-health-science-assessment-certificate

If a student passes the assessment, they earn a certificate of proficiency to acknowledge that they have the appropriate foundational skills for a career in healthcare.

It’s important to note that the National Health Science Assessment certificate is not a right-to-work credential or accredited certification.

However, the National Health Science Assessment is the perfect way for high school students to show that they are ready to take the next step on the path towards becoming healthcare professionals!

So how can you support your students to succeed on the assessment?

On this page, we’ll dive into how the assessment is structured and how you can prep students for the exam.

But before we get to the details, it’s important to understand the National Health Science Standards, since those are the standards on the test!

How To Prep Your Students for the NCHSE National Health Science Assessment



What Are the National Health Science Standards?


The National Health Science Standards represent skills and knowledge that any student should know in order to enter the healthcare field.

The standards were developed by the National Consortium for Health Science Education (NCHSE) to give health science instructors guidance when developing their programs.

NCHSE reviews the standards on a regular basis and makes updates when needed, such as when new technological advancements are made. The current standards were updated in May 2019 and have some major changes compared to the previous version.

Overall, the standards are broken into 11 “foundation standards:”

  1. Academic Foundation
  2. Communications
  3. Systems
  4. Employability Skills
  5. Legal Responsibilities
  6. Ethics
  7. Safety Practices
  8. Teamwork
  9. Health Maintenance Practices
  10. Technical Skills
  11. Information Technology in Healthcare

Each of these standards is broken down into specific sub-standards that relate to skills and knowledge all healthcare workers should have prior to entering the workforce.

And that’s where the assessment comes in -- it’s how you can measure your students’ mastery of the standards!

So with that, let’s dig into how the assessment is structured and aligned to the standards.

How Is the National Health Science Assessment Structured?


The National Health Science Assessment is administered by Precision Exams — a well-known provider of industry certifications — via an online portal.

To keep up with testing standards, questions appear in four formats:

  • Multiple choice
  • Labeling
  • Matching
  • Sequencing and ordering

The digital format means students interact with the exam in multiple ways, including drag-and-drop functions and multimedia use.

In terms of literal structure, the exam is made up of 105 test items that add up to a total of 110 points.

Similar to the National Health Science Standards, the assessment is reviewed and updated when needed.

Each foundation standard has a varying number of questions that contribute to a percentage of the overall assessment score.

You can see the breakdown in the graphic below:

nchse-2019-exam-blueprintBut even with knowing the details of what’s on the exam, there’s still one last question.

How do you prepare your students to pass the assessment?

How Do You Prepare Students for the National Health Science Assessment?


Preparing students for the National Health Science Assessment can quickly overwhelm even the most experienced health science teacher.

When it comes to assessments, many instructors gravitate towards a test prep program. While practice tests can help you determine if your students are ready for the exam, they don’t help you teach the content!

At AES, we believe the best way to help students succeed on any certification exam or assessment involves two elements.

First, you need to teach the foundational skills and knowledge that your students will need to know for success in the field.

Then, once you’ve taught the concepts, switch gears and focus on exam preparation and reinforcement.

The key to success for you and your students is to seamlessly put these two types of instruction together.

But how can you do that?

You could create your own lessons, activities, and assessments to line up with the national standards and teach your students the basics.

This can be a great way to provide a customized experience for your students, but it takes a lot of time — something you probably don’t have to spare!

That’s why many health science instructors have begun switching to a system they can use for both teaching everyday classes and preparing students for the assessment!

Preparing Students for the National Health Science Assessment with HealthCenter21


Health science instructors across the US have added HealthCenter21 as a primary instructional resource to meet the national standards and prepare students for the National Health Science Assessment.

HealthCenter21 is a digital curriculum system built to empower you to help your students succeed in the classroom and workforce.

This is made possible with thousands of ready-to-use instructional resources, classroom management tools, assessments, student tracking features, and more.

At AES, we use the National Health Science Standards as guidance when developing the HealthCenter21 curriculum.

When the standards or assessment change, we review HealthCenter21 and make updates as needed.

That means your students are receiving the most relevant information when it comes to preparing for the National Health Science Assessment!

Overall, the best way to use HealthCenter21 for preparing students for the assessment is to blend it with your other test prep material and most importantly have a plan!

With that philosophy, here’s eight steps you should take to get your students ready:

  1. Use HealthCenter21 as your main instructional resource
  2. Supplement with content from NCHSE and other organizations
  3. Familiarize yourself with NCHSE’s Assessment FAQ
  4. Have students take a practice exam part way through the semester
  5. Review student outcomes to spot gaps in knowledge
  6. Reinforce weak areas by providing customized review with HealthCenter21
  7. Go over what students should expect on test day
  8. Wish your students good luck and wait to hear the results

So, are you ready to learn more about using HealthCenter21 to prepare your students for the National Health Science Assessment and their future careers?

Click below to download our National Health Science Assessment certification guide!

Download the National Health Science Assessment Guide