AIM: The aim of the study was to explore and understand the phenomenon of "failing to fail."
BACKGROUND: Phase 1 of a mixed-methods study suggested faculty in clinical settings instructed students that should not have passed preceding placements; students in didactic settings also passed exams that merited a fail. Phase 2 explored this phenomenon.
METHOD: A multisite qualitative case study targeted baccalaureate and community college faculty to support analysis using replication logic. Data collection was conducted via semistructured interview.
RESULTS: Eighteen demographically diverse cases were recruited (including age, experience, and full-/part-time status). Factors supporting failing to fail included being good enough, clinical/didactic dichotomy, team grading, and being the bad guy.
CONCLUSION: The consistency of enabling factors suggests a collective approach is required to address failing to fail, including pedagogical preparation and cross-school mechanisms for ensuring grading parity. Effort must address integrity and teaching excellence in all aspects of nursing education.
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