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The Assessment Program Undergoes An Assessment

Dec 07, 2017

A few weeks ago more than 300 of you participated in a webinar about potential changes to our Quality Assurance program (hi everyone, thanks for tuning in!). 

Throughout the last fourteen years of the existing Quality Assurance program you have been telling us that the assessments, while intimidating, were a good and beneficial experience, but that repeated assessments were not a good use of your time or the College’s resources.

During the webinar, we polled participants to ask how many times they’d been assessed. Here’s what we heard from that group: 38% had never been assessed. 47% had been assessed once. 12% had been assessed twice. And 3% had been assessed three or more times.

First of all, let me offer my gratitude to those of you who experienced more than one assessment. While the selection was random, the repetition allowed us to investigate whether the assessments were an effective way to improve practice. When we assessed you again (and again... and sometimes again) we were able to confirm that any positive changes you made were sustained over time. This is clear proof that the assessments work.

But wait a minute! More than a third of you have never been assessed at all? Is that the best way to assure quality?

Now it is time to revisit our good program and make it better.

With your feedback, and our research (read more about it here), a College working group developed recommendations for a new Quality Assurance program. Before you ask, let me reassure you that it will not cost more than the current program so your fees are NOT at risk of increase.  

So, what is it?

First of all, we will try to assess everyone within a five or six-year time period.

But we will start with a “mini” assessment – likely about one hour long and conducted remotely (think FaceTime or Skype). If there were questions about your performance that arose from the mini-assessment you would be referred to an on-site assessment which might look quite similar to those conducted today.  

Does that mean that you will look bad to your colleagues for being subject to an on-site assessment? In order to protect you against such stigma, we will also randomly select a small number of people from the mini-assessments to have on-site assessments. This way, the reason that you have been selected will be confidential.

Apart from the assessments, our proposed Quality Assurance program will have two other pieces: a revised mandatory quiz that will be open book and may be collaborative (just like PISA today) and a convenient online portfolio for recording your goals and continuing education. The portfolio will be for your own personal use and will no longer be mandatory.

So now we need to hear from you. You can read more about the plan in the Council materials here. As of January, you can access a survey that asks you specific questions – check our website for that url. Or you can leave your thoughts below. Council will likely be making a decision about whether to proceed with this plan in March, after you have had a chance to have your say. Watch Perspectives for ongoing updates on the decision-making process.

To get you started, here are some of the things we are wondering about:

  • Do you think it will be possible to develop an effective one hour assessment tool?
  • What would you focus on if you were developing such a tool?
  • Do you think it makes sense to select people for a mini assessment based on the length of time since their last assessment?
  • Do you think it makes sense to save on-site assessments primarily for situations where potential problems have been identified?
  • Do you have any practical advice for how to make this work?
  • Is there anything about this idea that worries you?
  • Do you think that this will be a better way to assure PT quality than our current system?
  • As a patient or a caregiver, would this system be reassuring to you?

Thanks – I am really looking forward to hearing from you.

Leave a comment
  1. Mike Poling | Dec 19, 2017
    First off, clearly Liam Randall's comment is spam.  Can we delete it?  Secondly, as a practice assessor, I think this is very much the way to go.  I think it will be very cost effective, easier for both the assessor and the registrant, and will be sufficient to identify any issues, assuming assessors are individualizing and asking deeper questions than just the standard ones.  I think out interviewing skills as assessors will be put to the test a bit, but our assessors are very skilled and believe in what they are doing, so I have no doubt we'll have a system that works even better than what we've been doing.

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