The evaluating exam is a high-stakes exam administered by Touchstone Institute (formerly CEHPEA) that replaced the prior learning assessment (PLA) exam, which was implemented jointly by the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) and the Optometry Examining Board of Canada (OEBC)—formerly Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO)—in the past. Here is a flow chart illustrating the new pre-registration and registration process for international applicants.
The last administration of the evaluating exam was in October 2016. Internationally educated applicants will only be able to be “referred” by the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC) to apply to the evaluating exam based on successful assessment of their credentials and the number of times they attempted either the evaluating or PLA exam and met the eligibility criteria for either Bridging One or Two in the past. An Evaluating Exam Referral Form must be completed by the applicant (and if applicable, the second page of the form) and approved by FORAC.
Candidates’ performance on the evaluating examination will determine requirements and eligibility for bridging education and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The cost of the evaluating exam is approximately $5,000. It may only be offered once in a year (January to December). The last PLA exam administration was in February 2015.
PLEASE NOTE: International applicants who have attempted the PLA exam only once in the past, and whose PLA results are still valid for three years following their first attempt, may attempt the evaluating exam. If a candidate’s PLA score is no longer valid (but the candidate is eligible for bridging education), candidates would be permitted to pay for and attempt the (entire) evaluating exam twice. For those applicants who attempt the evaluating exam, exam results will be valid for three years following their first exam attempt.
Please note: Unless specified otherwise in writing, Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)/EE exam attempts or re-attempts must involve the entire exam (not just exam sections).
Please note: Candidates are to be permitted only one attempt at the evaluating exam in a calendar year, and their best score of the two exam attempts they are permitted (whether they challenged one evaluating and one PLA exam, or two evaluating exams), will be taken as the score for their ranking pool placement.
Registration for the May 2017 evaluating exam will open on Friday, December 2, 2016. For more information, please visit Touchstone Institute’s website.
Important dates for the May 2017 evaluating exam administration:
If candidates opt not to perform a procedure during the evaluating exam in advance or during an assessment, or if they are stopped during a procedure because of unsafe practice, they will be deemed ineligible. The purpose of this policy is to reduce the likelihood that candidates will attempt a procedure that they are not competent in.
Please refer to Touchstone Institute’s website for its exam cancellation and refund policy.
For re-attempting the EE, candidates must use the process described above and respond to the relevant questions on the Application Form.
Accommodation requests by candidates with special needs are handled on a case-by-case. For candidates with special needs, they are required to complete the Accommodation Request Form. Documentation from a health professional unrelated to the candidate needs to be submitted directly to the College by the health professional in order to verify the special needs circumstances and accommodation being requested indicated on the Form.
The College began exploring the development of an evaluating exam in 2011 to enable international applicants to bypass bridging based on a high performance on the exam. The Touchstone Institute (formerly CEHPEA) responded in 2013 to an invitation by the College for proposals for the development, implementation, and administration of an evaluating exam. The exam will include both a multiple choice component, and a clinical performance component.
Following the approval of the College Council for the College to fund the development, implementation, and administration of the exam, the College accordingly engaged the Touchstone Institute in January 2014. The following outline illustrates the evaluating exam development process:
Below are the timelines for the development and implementation of the evaluating exam:
|1||Blueprinting workshop||February 2014|
|2||Question-writing workshops for both multiple-choice question examination and performance objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)||Spring and Summer 2014|
|3||Pilot exam||Early November 2014|
|4||Implementation of evaluating exam||By June 30, 2015|
Touchstone Institute convened a blueprinting workshop in February 2014 followed by a question-writing workshop for a multiple-choice question examination and objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) attended by a number of academic and practising optometrists. The evaluating exam development and implementation proceeded on schedule.