skip to main content

English Language Proficiency and Its Relationship with Academic Performance and the Nurse Licensure Examination

*Ryan Michael Flores Oducado scopus  -  College of Nursing, West Visayas State University, Philippines
Marianne Sotelo  -  College of Nursing, West Visayas State University, Philippines
Liza Marie Ramirez  -  College of Nursing, West Visayas State University, Philippines
Maylin Habaña  -  College of Nursing, West Visayas State University, Philippines
Rosana Grace Belo-Delariarte  -  College of Nursing, West Visayas State University, Philippines
Open Access Copyright (c) 2020 Nurse Media Journal of Nursing
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Citation Format:

Background: Studies have shown that various factors influence students’ success in nursing school and the Nurse Licensure Examination (NLE). Such factors should be studied as foundations of the nursing programs. Problems with proficiency in the language used by the instructor to teach curricular courses may be considered a barrier to effective learning and academic success.

Purpose: This study ascertained the influence of English language proficiency on the academic performance of students in professional nursing courses and the NLE.

Methods: This study employed a retrospective descriptive correlational study design. Secondary analysis of existing research data sets of 141 nursing students in one nursing school in the Philippines was performed. Pearson’s r was used to determine the correlation between variables.

Results: Findings showed that there were significant correlations between academic performance and the Verbal Ability subscale of the Nursing Aptitude Test (p=0.003) and the three English courses included in the nursing curriculum (p=0.000). There were also significant correlations between the NLE ratings and Verbal Ability (p=0.000) and the three English courses (p=0.000).

Conclusion: English language proficiency is an important factor in determining the academic and licensure success of nursing students. Nursing schools must ensure that approaches in improving students' English language proficiency must be well integrated into the undergraduate nursing program.

Fulltext View|Download
Keywords: Academic performance; English language proficiency; English competency; licensure exam; nursing

Article Metrics:

  1. Alharbi, M F., & Yakout, S.M. (2018). English language proficiency and academic performance of nursing students speaking English as a second language. Pielegniarstwo XXI wieku/Nursing in the 21st Century, 17(4), 5-11. doi: 10.2478/pielxxiw-2018-0035
  2. Alinezhad, A., & Gholami, J. (2012). English language needs analysis of nursing students and nursing practitioners in Urmia. International Journal of Physical and Social Sciences, 2(7), 404-423
  3. Amankwaa, I., Agyemang-Dankwah, A., & Boateng, D. (2015). Previous education, sociodemographic characteristics, and nursing cumulative grade point average as predictors of success in nursing licensure examinations. Nursing Research and Practice, Article ID 682479. doi: 10.1155/2015/682479
  4. Belo-Delariarte, R.G.B., Oducado, R.M.F., & Penuela, A.C. (2018). Terminal assessment of core nursing knowledge in a state university. Asia Pacific Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, 6(2), 10-17
  5. British Council, (2013). The English effect. Retrieved from
  6. British Council. (n.d.). Medium of instruction. Retrieved from
  7. Byrne, P. (2017). 90% of nurses recruited for hospital fail language test. The Times. Retrieved from
  8. Cabigon, M. (2015). State of English in the Philippines: Should we be concerned? Retrieved from
  9. Center for Educational Measurement, Inc. (n.d.). Nursing aptitude test score interpretation guide. Retrieved from
  10. Civan, A., & Coşkun, A. (2016). The effect of the medium of instruction language on the academic success of university students. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 16(6), 1981-2004. doi: 10.12738/estp.2016.6.0052
  11. Commission on Higher Education (2009). CHED memorandum order no. 14 series of 2009 policies and standards for bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. Retrieved from
  12. De Leon, J. (2016). Academic and licensure examination performances of BSN graduates: Bases for curriculum enhancement. International Journal of Educational Policy Research and Review, 3(4), 64-72. doi: 10.15739/IJEPRR.16.009
  13. Education First. (2019). EF English proficiency index. Retrieved from
  14. Garone, A., & Van de Craen, P. (2017). The role of language skills and internationalization in nursing degree programmes: A literature review. Nurse Education Today, 49, 140-144. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2016.11.012
  15. Glew, P.J., Hillege, S.P., Salamonson, Y., Dixon, K., Good, A., & Lombardo, L. (2015). Predictive validity of the post-enrolment English language assessment tool for commencing undergraduate nursing students. Nurse Education Today, 35(12), 1142-1147. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2015.04.012
  16. Green, J.A. (2015). The effect of English proficiency and ethnicity on academic performance and progress. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 20(1), 219-228
  17. Ibrahim, H.A, Shafaatu, M.H.D., & Yabo, N.U. (2017). English as a medium of instruction: Challenges to Nigerian primary schools. The Victorian, 5(2), 63-72
  18. Kaliyadan, F., Thalamkandathil, N., Parupalli, S.R., Amin, T.T., Balaha, M.H., & Al Bu Ali, W.H. (2015). English language proficiency and academic performance: A study of a medical preparatory year program in Saudi Arabia. Avicenna Journal of Medicine, 5(4), 140–144. doi: 10.4103/2231-0770.165126
  19. Kim, H.J., Nikstaitis, T.M., Park, H., Armstrong, L.J., & Mark, H.D. (2019). Predictors and students’ perceptions of NCLEX-RN success in a BS program. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 9(6), 32-40. doi: 10.5430/jnep.v9n6p32
  20. Martirosyan, N.M., Hwang, E., & Wanjohi, R. (2015). Impact of English proficiency on academic performance of international students. Journal of International Students, 5(1), 60-71
  21. Miñoza, D.N.C. (2016). Predictors of performance in the licensure examination for agriculturists (LEA) in Western Mindanao State University. University of the Visayas Journal of Research, 10(1), 79-88. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.2441790
  22. Mthimunye, K., & Daniels, F.M. (2020). Exploring the challenges and efforts implemented to improve the academic performance and success of nursing students at a university in the Western Cape. International Journal of Africa Nursing Sciences, 100196. doi: 10.1016/j.ijans.2020.100196
  23. Mthimunye, K., & Daniels, F. M. (2019). Predictors of academic performance, success and retention amongst undergraduate nursing students: A systematic review. South African Journal of Higher Education, 33(1), 200-220. doi: 10.20853/33-1-2631
  24. Nishanti, R. (2018). The importance of learning English in today world. International Journal of Trend in Scientific Research and Development, 3(1), 871-874. doi: 10.31142/ijtsrd19061
  25. Oducado, R.M.F. (2019). Are nursing students’ early course and perceived performance related to their final and actual course performance?. Nurse Media Journal of Nursing, 9(2), 167-175. doi: 10.14710/nmjn.v9i2.26675
  26. Oducado, R.M.F., Amboy, M.K.Q., Penuela, A.C., & Belo-Delariarte, R.G.B. (2019a). Correlation between theoretical classroom instruction and related learning experiences: Evidence from a Philippine nursing university. International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research, 8(12), 3666-3670
  27. Oducado, R.M.F., Cendaña, D.P., & Belo-Delariarte, R.G. (2019b). Institutional competency assessment and other factors influencing the nurse licensure examination. International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research, 8(12), 268-270
  28. Oducado, R.M.F., Frigillano, P.R.S., Gunce, J.J.T., Jover, P.L.B., Meliton, P.N., & Pangilinan, K.T. (2017). Guidance needs of nursing students in Iloilo City, Philippines. PEERS Inc. Multidisciplinary Research Journal, 1(2), 35-47
  29. Oducado, R.M.F., & Penuela, A.C. (2014). Predictors of academic performance in professional nursing courses in a private nursing school in Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Arts and Sciences, 1(5), 21-28
  30. Okanga, A.A., Ogur, J.O., & Arudo, J. (2017). Institutional characteristics influencing bachelor of science nursing student performance in the nursing council of Kenya licensure examinations in Kenya. Journal of Education and e-Learning Research, 4(1), 28-36. doi: 10.20448/journal.509.2017.41.28.36
  31. Olson, M.A. (2012). English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) nursing student success: A critical review of the literature. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 19(1), 26-32
  32. O’Neill, T.R., Marks, C., & Liu, W. (2006). Assessing the impact of English as a second language status on licensure examinations. CLEAR Exam Review, 17(1), 14-18
  33. Philippine Senate Resolution 622. (2018). Decline in English proficiency of Filipino students. Retrieved from!.pdf
  34. Ponkshe, S. (2013). English reading comprehension as a predictor for academic successes in first year B.SC. nursing course in India. IOSR Journal of Nursing and Health Science, 2(4), 28-83
  35. Racca, R.M.A.B., & Lasaten, R.C.S. (2016). English language proficiency and academic performance of Philippine science high school students. International Journal of Languages, Literature and Linguistics, 2(2), 44-49. doi: 10.18178/ijlll.2016.2.2.65
  36. Sadeghi, B., Kashanian, N.M., Maleki, A., & Haghdoost, A. (2013). English language proficiency as a predictor of academic achievement among medical students in Iran. Theory & Practice in Language Studies, 3(12), 2315-232. doi: 10.4304/tpls.3.12.2315-2321
  37. Sadiku, L.M. (2015). The importance of four skills reading, speaking, writing, listening in a lesson hour. European Journal of Language and Literature, 1(1), 29-31
  38. Salamonson, Y., Everett, B., Koch, J., Andrew, S., & Davidson, P.M. (2008). English‐language acculturation predicts academic performance in nursing students who speak English as a second language. Research in Nursing & Health, 31(1), 86-94. doi: 10.1002/nur.20224
  39. Soriano, G.P. (2016). Relationship between academic performance and the nursing licensure examination of graduates from a city-subsidized university. Philippine Journal of Nursing, 86(1), 56-62
  40. Soriano, M.G. & Lupdag-Padama, E.A. (2009). Reading proficiency and nursing licensure examination performance of Arellano University nursing graduates. The Magnus, 1(1)
  41. Tripathy, J.P. (2013). Secondary data analysis: Ethical issues and challenges. Iranian Journal of Public Health, 42(12), 1478-1479
  42. Ubas-Sumagaysay, N.A. & Oducado, R.M.F. (2020). Perceived competence and transition experience of new graduate Filipino nurses. Jurnal Keperawatan Indonesia, 23(1), 48-63). doi: 10.7454/jki.v23i1.1071
  43. Vidal, V.L., Labeeb, S., Wu, S., & Alhajraf, A.F.M. (2017). English language proficiency as a predictor of academic performance in the college of nursing, Kuwait. Journal of Education and Practice, 8(35), 122-129
  44. Yeates, N. & Pillinger, J. (2018). International healthcare worker migration in Asia Pacific: International policy responses. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 59(1), 92-106. doi: 10.1111/apv.12180

Last update:

  1. English Language Usage and Academic Achievement Among Nursing Students: A Cross-Sectional Study

    Naji Alqahtani. SAGE Open Nursing, 8 , 2022. doi: 10.1177/23779608221109364
  2. English additional language undergraduate students’ engagement with the academic content in their curriculum in a South African speech-language and hearing training program

    Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Margo Kalenga. Frontiers in Education, 9 , 2024. doi: 10.3389/feduc.2024.1258358
  3. English language proficiency admission requirements of domestic English as a second language students and performance in a nursing program

    Ellen M. Gajewski. Journal of Professional Nursing, 38 , 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2021.12.008
  4. Academic Performance and the Role of Self-directed Learning, Self-esteem, and Grit among Nursing Students

    Ryan Michael Oducado. SSRN Electronic Journal , 2021. doi: 10.2139/ssrn.3850519
  5. Linguistic Modification When Developing Case Studies: An Integrative Review

    Christine M. Olson. Journal of Nursing Education, 62 (9), 2023. doi: 10.3928/01484834-20230712-05
  6. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Emerging Technologies and Intelligent Systems

    Asma Abdullah Alasbali, Harmi Izzuan Baharum, Zuhana Mohamed Zin. Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems, 573 , 2023. doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-20429-6_34
  7. A commentary on the National Medical Licensing Examination in Vietnam: why, what, who and how

    Thuy Minh Ha. MedEdPublish, 13 , 2023. doi: 10.12688/mep.19654.2
  8. Clinical Practice Experience of Nursing Students in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Hyeon-Young Kim, Eun-Hye Lee. Journal of Korean Academy of Fundamentals of Nursing, 29 (1), 2022. doi: 10.7739/jkafn.2022.29.1.45
  9. Predictors of Success in the National Physical Therapy Examination for Hispanic Doctor of Physical Therapy Students

    Kristian J. Pamias-Velázquez, Brent Harper. Journal of Physical Therapy Education, 37 (3), 2023. doi: 10.1097/JTE.0000000000000294
  10. English-as-an-additional language nursing students: A literature review

    Arley Henry. Teaching and Learning in Nursing, 18 (4), 2023. doi: 10.1016/j.teln.2023.07.001
  11. Instructors’ caring behaviors, burnout, satisfaction, and academic performance of nursing students in online education and the pandemic era

    Ryan Michael F. Oducado, Mary Kristine Q. Amboy, Ayesha C. Penuela, Ronnell D. Dela Rosa, Maria Teresa M. Fajardo, Dolly Rose F. Temelo. Frontiers of Nursing, 9 (4), 2022. doi: 10.2478/fon-2022-0054
  12. Nursing Students’ Experiences on Clinical Competency Assessment in Ghana

    Oboshie Anim-Boamah, Christmal Dela Christmals, Susan Jennifer Armstrong. Nurse Media Journal of Nursing, 11 (3), 2021. doi: 10.14710/nmjn.v11i3.39079
  13. The Psychosocial Factors Affecting Chinese Outbound Exchange and Mobility Students’ Academic Performance During COVID-19

    Liu Li, Baijun Wu, Ataul Karim Patwary. Frontiers in Psychology, 13 , 2022. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.872516

Last update: 2024-04-22 21:25:05

No citation recorded.