Passing the Exam

Passing the written exam

Each item on the written the exam is worth 1 mark. The candidate’s total score is a sum of the number of correct items.

The number of correct items necessary to pass the component has been determined by a representative panel of optometrists using a well-recognized standard-setting or pass score setting process.  This process results in establishing a minimum performance level for the component. The candidate’s total score must meet this minimum performance level to pass the component.

The foundation of setting a fair and defensible pass score for the written exam begins with an item validation process that ensures the relevancy and accuracy of the selected correct response.

 

Passing the OSCE

The OSCE examination is composed of both interactive (stations that include a standardized patient) and non-interactive stations. For interactive stations, candidate performances are rated by examiners who have been trained in the use of the standardized checklist criteria for the station. The examiners rate candidate performance on domains of Outcome, Performance, and Communication. For non-interactive stations, candidate responses are computer marked and ratings are generated for the Outcome and Performance domains. Possible ratings for each domain, in each station, range from 1 to 4.

The OSCE examination is based upon a fully compensatory model and, therefore, a candidate’s total raw score is calculated by the addition of all domain ratings across all stations. The score necessary to pass the OSCE examination has been determined by a representative panel of optometrists using a well-recognized standard-setting or pass score setting process.  This process establishes a minimum performance level for the OSCE examination. The candidate’s total score must meet this minimum performance level to pass the OSCE examination.

Note: Both the Written and OSCE examinations are criterion-referenced assessments which focus on whether candidates meet the required performance level for entry-level candidates. Candidates are not compared to each other and there are not any predetermined pass rates. It is possible for all candidates to be successful on the examination.

 

Setting a pass score

For both the Written and OSCE exams the pass score is determined by following a multi-stage process designed to ensure that the pass score is both fair and defensible. The process is as follows:

  1. Item Writing: Item writers determine the best answer (Written Exam) or performance expectation (OSCE Exam) for each item by indicating appropriate references including a link to the relevant section of the competency document
  2. Peer review: A group of item writers review each item to confirm the best answer or performance expectation
  3. Validation: A panel of optometrists who did not write or peer review the items validate that the best answer or appropriate performance expectation has been identified for each item

  4. Standard Setting: A representative panel of 8-12 optometrists who did not participate in the previous steps utilize a highly recognized standard setting method. The panelists undergo training to ensure an understanding of the concept of the minimally competent candidate and of the standard setting process. Panelists are required to take each written item and experience each OSCE station, as examinees would, to gain an appreciation for the difficulty level of the items prior to submitting their ratings. The difficulty ratings are averaged across all panelists for each item and the sum totals of these averages, all written items and all OSCE items, constitutes the cut-scores for the written and OSCE exams, respectively.