Pre-registration final assessments for optometrists in UK drop to 66% this year

Pre-registration of all optometrists in the United Kingdom who passed their final assessment has dropped from 77 per cent in 2012 to 66 per cent this year, Optometry Today reports.

The Objective Structured Clinical Examination pass rates of optometry students has fallen each year over the six-year period, except for in 2014 when it briefly spiked at 81%.

Looking to other fields for comparison, trainee pharmacists had an average pass rate of 84 per cent for their registration assessment in 2016, while GP trainees had a pass rate of 80 per cent in their clinical skills assessment in 2014.

College of Optometrists director of education, Ms Jackie Martin, is reported as telling Optometry Today that it is impossible to attribute one particular factor to the fall in the average OSCE pass rate.

“The OSCE is continually reviewed, developed and mapped against assessments in other [health-care] professions across the world to ensure that it remains at the forefront of best practice,” Ms Martin said.

Ms Martin said the OSCE is designed to assess General Optical Council Stage 2 elements of competence.

“Station content is continually reviewed and new content developed to ensure a broad coverage of the curriculum and to ensure examination content remains up-to-date and unpredictable,” she said.

“New station content is developed using strict quality assurance processes and new stations are piloted and analysed before they can contribute to candidates’ results.

“Each OSCE circuit is scrutinised closely to ensure a wide sample of the curriculum is covered and that the content is in line with the GOC elements of competence. Following each examination series, the final assessment, including senior representatives from universities and the wider sector, ensures the examinations are fair to candidates and that there is consistency across sittings.”