College of Optometrists conducts second report on Scheme for Registration

  • 22 Feb 2018

The College of Optometrists has published a report analysing pre-registration trainees’ performance on its Scheme for Registration.

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The report  is based on demographic and performance data of a single cohort of 593 pre-registration trainees enrolled on the College’s Scheme for Registration (SfR) between 1 June 2014 and 31 May 2015. This is the second time such a report has been conducted, following the initial report analysing the 2013-2015 cohort. 

This report, in similar style to the first report published in 2016, provides detailed comparative information of trainee performance over two cohorts, related to several factors, including their undergraduate degree classification and common areas of failure. Key report data and comparative data from the previous data report is listed below: 

  • The main proportion of trainees entered the Scheme with a 2:1 classification (47%), this has decreased slightly from the analysis published in 2016 (49%). 
  • There continues to a correlation between undergraduate performance and performance on the Scheme; i.e. the higher the degree classification, the less likely the student is to require additional visits or resits at any Stage of the Scheme. For example, 55% of those trainees with a first class degree required no additional visits or resits in contrast to 18% of trainees with a 2:2. 
  • 37% of trainees required no resits or additional visits at any stage of the pre-registration training. This is a decrease of 5% from the previous year. 
  • If a trainee in this cohort struggled, it tended to be at the work-based assessment, 82% of trainees in this cohort passed Stage 2 by their second attempt. The number of trainees needing further additional resits slightly increased (17%) from the previous report, identifying Stage 2 as an area where trainees are beginning to struggle more. Furthermore, the second most represented profile amongst the cohort, shows that 20% of candidates needed a single resit at Stage 2 and no additional visits or resits at any other stage of the Scheme, identifying Stage 2 as the stage at which a trainee is most likely to resit. 
  • The first-time pass rate for the OSCE is 78%; slightly lower than the previous year (82%). The introduction of new stations sampling more widely across the assessment framework may account for the slight decrease. The number of those struggling at the OSCE stage remains low (4%) for this cohort. 
  • Female optometrists in this cohort far outnumbered their male counterparts, with 68.5% of trainees being female and 31.5% male, similar figures to the previous report. The College’s Optical Workforce Survey findings, published in 2016, also showed a balance in favour of females, with 57.5% of respondents being female and 42.5% male. 
  • Female students performed better than male trainees, with 11% more males than females defined as Struggling (one of three gradings used, the others were Best and Standard). This shows an increase of 4% from the previous analysis, suggesting the attainment gap widened between the genders for this cohort. 
  • As in the previous report, the findings broadly 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. 
  • Larger multiple practices continue to provide the vast majority (85%) of pre-registration training placements for this cohort. 
  • The proportion of different ethnicity of trainees is consistent across reports but the gender balance within Asian Indian and White British (the two largest ethnicity groups) has switched in this report compared to the report published last year. 

Jackie Martin, Director of Education at the College of Optometrists said; “Publishing this second report allows us to begin mapping patterns in performance for those on the Scheme. Although more in-depth statistical analysis is required to develop and understand patterns; we hope that this report will provide useful information for trainees, supervisors, universities and employers. The report identifies Stage 2 as an increasing area of difficulty for trainees, suggesting that trainees in this cohort struggled more with the synoptic, overarching nature of this complex assessment. It is important that trainees develop the skills to be able to apply the elements of competence from Stage 1 in a joined up way. We are 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. 
  3. The Optical Workforce Survey was conducted between December 2014 and November 2015. The sample for the optometrist’s survey was a randomised sample of 2,000 College members registered to practice in the UK. For dispensing opticians a census approach was taken via ABDO with over 90% of registered dispensing opticians being invited to respond to the survey. 
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