By Brandi Park
National Director, Evaluation Services
In February 2020, the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) unveiled its Innovation Agenda, which intended to lead the organization through an exciting new chapter focused on modernizing entry-to-practice competency assessment for physiotherapists in preparation for licensure in Canada.
However, just a few weeks after its unveiling, the Innovation Agenda, and the rest of the world, faced an unprecedented challenge, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
The days, weeks, and years that followed at CAPR mirrored what organizations and communities across the country were facing during an uncertain time. Our focus shifted to ensuring the safety of everyone connected to CAPR and delivering core services during the pandemic. While CAPR was able to incorporate remote proctoring as a delivery option for Written Component, we were unable to deliver a virtual Clinical Component. This led to the discontinuation of the Clinical Component in December 2021.
As we move our way out from the pandemic, we set our sights firmly on the future and the work that will transform CAPR and the experience for clients looking to enter the physiotherapy profession in Canada.
Our Evaluation Services Committee (ESC) leveraged an Expert Advisory Panel (EAP) to provide a vision for the future of evaluation services at CAPR. The EAP was an eight-member panel consisting of national and international individuals with expertise in measurement and assessment.
The EAP was responsible for using their collective expertise to identify, gather, review, and discuss input from a broad range of sources, and to provide recommendations to the ESC regarding the future direction of entry-to practice competency assessment for physiotherapists in preparation for licensure in Canada – a re-envisioning of CAPR’s evaluation services.
From March 2022 to March 2023, the EAP met several times to review literature, research, and input to inform their discussions. The EAP agreed that, rather than proposing a definitive model, it would be more prudent to present principles related to the implementation of a renewed approach to the future of evaluation services at CAPR.
A set of eight principles were proposed as a means for guiding CAPR’s re-envisioned evaluation services:
- Entry-to-practice assessment is best embedded in a multi-point, multi-method assessment approach.
- Assessment design should address competencies and target patient safety and higher-order cognitive skills such as decision-making and clinical reasoning.
- Multiple stakeholders and experts should be involved during the development of CAPR’s updated evaluation services model to ensure the assessments are current and relevant.
- Among these stakeholders, fairness commissions/offices should be consulted for information regarding the modernization of registration processes, including compliance with their frameworks, policies, and positions.
- Credentialling and assessment processes are best designed and administered with an evidence-based equity, diversity, and inclusion lens.
- The assessment process for applicants who have graduated from an accredited Canadian program should be modified.
- The assessment of internationally educated professionals should include flexible pathways based on their levels of preparation, rather than candidate characteristics.
- Enhanced supports will benefit internationally educated professionals in their path toward registration.
CAPR is committed to incorporating these principles into the development and implementation of its re-envisioned evaluation services.
What will this mean for our clients?
Over the summer, CAPR will be developing a short- and long-term plan to address the EAP principles. The short-term plan will primarily focus on modernizing CAPR processes, reducing timelines, and identifying unnecessary barriers to licensure. Much of this work is currently underway.
Expect to see changes this fall, including:
- launch of a client portal, a web-based solution to support the electronic flow of information, documentation, and communication between CAPR and credentialling and examination clients.
- a review of current practices, policies, and procedures to remove any unnecessary barriers that might prevent clients from experiencing a timely and efficient entry-to-practice journey.
- implementation of a full length (200 questions) online practice exam to help clients assess their readiness to take the Written Component.
- a significant increase in the number of Written Component examinations administered during a calendar year, starting in 2024.
These are exciting initiatives that will support efficiently moving clients through the entry-to-practice processes and toward licensure.
This is also just the beginning.
The longer-term plan will incorporate the EAP principles and focus on CAPR’s re-envisioned evaluation services. We want to take you on this journey with us through our commitment to consistent and meaningful communication throughout the process.
Over the summer, we will be engaging with our system partners (regulators, educators, associations) on the EAP principles, and a proposed model for re-envisioned evaluation services. We want to learn how we can best serve our clients and regulator members.
We look forward to working with you as partners in this journey.