21 June 2019

College of Optometrists conducts third report on Scheme for Registration

The College of Optometrists has published its third report analysing pre-registration trainees’ performance on the Scheme for Registration (SfR).

The report is based on demographic and performance data of a single cohort of 620 pre-registration trainees who enrolled on the College’s SfR between 1 June 2015 and 31 May 2016. The data was drawn in April 2017. Analysis of the 2013-2015 and 2014–2016 cohorts have been published previously.

This report provides detailed comparative information of trainee performance related to several factors and also lists common areas of failure at each stage of the Scheme. Generally, performance among trainees remains consistent. Key data from the report are listed below: 

  • As in both of the previous reports, there continues to be a correlation between undergraduate performance and performance on the Scheme; i.e. the higher the degree classification, the less likely the trainee is to require additional visits or resits at any stage of the Scheme. For example, 50% of those trainees with a first class degree required no additional visits or resits in contrast to 16% of trainees with a 2:2. 
  • The first-time pass rate for the Final Assessment OSCE is 79%; slightly higher than the previous year (78%). The number of those struggling at the OSCE stage remains low (4%) and has shown a slight decrease since the previous report (6%).
  • 53% of trainees passed Stage 2 first time. This identifies Stage 2 as the stage at which trainees struggle most. 84% of trainees in this cohort passed Stage 2 by their second attempt. This was an increase from 82% the previous year. 20% of candidates needed a just a single resit at Stage 2 and no additional visits or resits at any other stage of the Scheme. 
  • Female optometrists in this cohort outnumbered their male counterparts by 67% to 33%, similar figures to the previous report. Female students performed better than male trainees, with 5% more males than females defined as struggling (one of three gradings used, the others being best and standard). This is a substantial decrease from 11% in the previous cohort (2014-2016). However, this figure was 7% for the cohort in 2013-2015, suggesting that 2014-2016 was a particularly wide gap. 
  • As in the previous report, the findings indicate that students tend to undertake their pre-registration training in the same region as their chosen university. This corresponds with the findings of the College’s Optical Workforce Survey and suggests that each university feeds its own region’s pre-registration optometric workforce. The main differences from the previous year’s report include an increase in placements in the Southeast of England (from 7 to 11%) and a slight decrease in placements in the Northwest (from 12 to 10%). 
  • Larger multiple practices continue to provide the vast majority (88%) of pre-registration training placements for this cohort. This is an increase of 3% from the 2014-2015 report.

Alastair Shaw, Head of Assessment at the College of Optometrists said; “Having collated a third analysis of this Scheme, we can see emerging trends and patterns in performance for those undertaking it. We developed this report to provide useful information for trainees, supervisors, universities and employers. However, we would caution that further statistical analysis is needed to understand the patterns that are developing fully. The report continues to identify Stage 2 as an area of difficulty for trainees. This highlights the important difference between the formative assessment process at Stage 1 and the synoptic, summative assessment at Stage 2. We are, once again, satisfied that the Scheme is doing its job in terms of setting and maintaining the highest standards for the profession.” 

The report can be read in full on the College’s website


Notes to Editors

  1. The College is the professional body for optometry. It qualifies the profession and delivers the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.
  2. The Scheme for Registration represents the principal route for entry into the optometric profession. It assesses graduates from each of the GOC-approved universities offering optometry at undergraduate level and assesses competence against the GOC’s Stage 2 elements of core competence for optometrists. It is run and administered by The College of Optometrists.