College of Optometrists conducts report into Scheme for Registration

The College of Optometrists has published a report analysing pre-registration trainee’s performance on its Scheme for Registration (SfR). The report provides detailed information of trainee performance over a single year, related to several factors, including their undergraduate degree classification and common areas of failure.

The report is based on demographic and performance data of a single cohort of 594 pre-registration trainees enrolled on the College’s SfR between 1 June 2013 and 31 May 2014. Key data emerging from the report is listed below:

  • The largest proportion of trainees (49 per cent) entered the SfR with a 2.1 classification, with 23 per cent achieving a 2.2 and 20 per cent achieving a first class degree.
  • There is a correlation between university performance and performance on the SfR. For example, 70 per cent of those trainees with a first class degree required no additional visits or resits in contrast to the 25 per cent of trainees with a 2.2 degree.
  • 42 per cent of trainees required no resits or additional visits at any stage of the pre-registration training.
  • 71 per cent of trainees needed a maximum of one resit at Stage 2 to complete the Scheme successfully.
  • If a trainee in this cohort struggled, it tended to be at the beginning of the SfR during Stage 1, with progress improving through the stages. 14 per cent of students were classed as ‘struggling’ at Stage 1, with only 3 per cent and 5 per cent classed in this category during Stages 2 and 3 respectively. This suggests that the assessment that takes place in Stage 1 identifies and addresses gaps in knowledge and competence at an early stage. Stage 1 in this way, prepares candidates well for Stage 2 and the OSCE (Final Assessment).
  • Over half (53 per cent) of trainees passed Stage 2 at the first attempt and 97 per cent passed on their second attempt.
  • The first time pass rate for the OSCE was 82 per cent, with only five per cent of trainees needing more than one resit.
  • Female optometrists in this cohort far outnumbered their male counterparts (68 per cent versus 32 per cent). The College’s Optical Workforce Survey findings also showed a balance in favour of females, with 57.5 per cent of respondents being female and 42.5 per cent male.
  • Females also outperformed male trainees, with the number of females classified as ‘best’ being 11 per cent higher than that of males (45 per cent versus 34 per cent).
  • 20 per cent of those undertaking the Scheme are registered with a London address, with one per cent registered with an overseas address. 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.

Jackie Martin, director of education at the College of Optometrists said; We hope this report will provide useful information for trainees, supervisors, universities and employers. It will give helpful insight into where students need to be better prepared and help supervisors, universities and employers to identify areas in which trainees typically need support. For the wider sector it can be used to provide a snapshot of demographic information about the future of the optometric workforce including gender, ethnicity and distribution across the College regions. The College is satisfied that the SfR is doing its job in terms of setting and maintaining the highest standards for the profession and in identifying and improving the performance of those trainees who struggle in the early stages of the scheme.”

This is the first time that such a report has been made available and will be published periodically in the future. The report can be read on the College’s website.