The knowledge assessment is a required component of the College’s Quality Assurance Program for all Part A pharmacists.
A Quality Assurance Program is required in statute for all healthcare regulators in Ontario under the Regulated Health Professions Act. The purpose of the Quality Assurance Program is not only to assure the public that healthcare professionals are competent to provide patient care, but also to contribute to individual and system-wide continuous quality improvement.
All Part A pharmacists are required to complete the knowledge assessment approximately once every five years.
The knowledge assessment is part of the multi-modal approach to quality assurance that has been adopted for pharmacists in all practice settings. The knowledge assessment is designed to ensure core current knowledge for those pharmacists providing patient care (pharmacists in Part A of the Register).
The purpose of the knowledge assessment is to encourage continuing professional development by supporting pharmacists to validate their knowledge and identify learning needs and seek appropriate education or resources to address those areas for development. The knowledge assessment assesses pharmacists’ ability to apply clinical knowledge as well as current legislation, ethics and scope of practice to patient care scenarios.
Grounded in the principles of quality assurance and continuous professional development, the knowledge assessment promotes life-long learning. This is important to helping maintain competency throughout a registrant’s career and optimize the health outcomes of the patients they serve.
Part of the College’s commitment to protecting the public is helping to ensure that pharmacy professionals maintain appropriate skills and knowledge throughout their career. The Quality Assurance Program assures the public that pharmacy professionals are practicing to the standards of the profession, and are engaged in safe and quality care.
The knowledge assessment is one component of the Quality Assurance Program and is distinct from other components of the Program in that it assesses pharmacists’ ability to apply clinical knowledge as well as current legislation, ethics and scope of practice to patient care scenarios. All components of the Quality Assurance program work together to support the delivery of safe, quality care.
By being part of an integrated Quality Assurance Program, the knowledge assessment is highly relevant to a registrant’s growth and development as a regulated pharmacy professional and to the College’s duty to assure the public that pharmacy professionals possess the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality care.
All Part A pharmacists are required to complete the knowledge assessment, when selected to do so, approximately once every five years.
The College’s Quality Assurance Program is grounded in current best practice which indicates that multiple yet complementary assessment modalities employed on different occasions in the practitioner’s practice is the best approach.
With a focus on engagement and learning, the knowledge assessment works alongside the other elements of the Quality Assurance Program to drive enhanced patient outcomes. The four components of the Quality Assurance Program are described below:
The assessment is an online, multiple choice question, open-book exam taken remotely from a home or workplace. Registrants will have access to resources and references of their choice and will be required to apply relevant information to make patient care decisions. Prior to the assessment, a link to CPS will be provided to you by the College at no cost. Candidates may use their personal CPS account or the CPS link provided by the College. Accessing appropriate resources reflects real practice where pharmacists are expected to use reliable, evidence-based and current references to support patient care.
When you are notified that you must undergo a knowledge assessment, you should review the knowledge assessment blueprint that describes the key topics and competencies that will be assessed, and provides examples of topics.
Note that the best preparation is your ongoing patient care practice. Pharmacist peers have created the assessment cases to be reflective of everyday practice.
You could also review the practice resources and the current, reliable, and evidence-based references that you typically use in your practice as you will have access to these during your knowledge assessment. Additional resources include:
An online platform demonstration and sample questions will be made available before your assessment.
For more information on preparing for the assessment, visit our preparing for the knowledge assessment webpage.
Requests for testing accommodation(s) will be considered for the exam due to a disability or impairment (temporary or permanent) that substantially limits life activities or has a direct impact on testing processes. Supporting documentation must be submitted to the College by emailing QA@ocpinfo.com no later than 45 days prior to the exam date (or as soon as possible). For more information, please review the College’s Guidelines for Testing Accommodations.
Meazure Learning is the administrator of the knowledge assessment. The College is working alongside Meazure Learning to deliver the knowledge assessment on the Meazure exam platform.
Leading up to the knowledge assessment, you will receive important communication from Meazure Learning with login details for the Meazure exam platform and information on next steps.
All Meazure Learning emails related to your knowledge assessment will be sent from Testing Support (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please add email@example.com to your Safe Senders list to ensure you receive these important messages.
As the knowledge assessment focuses on assessing an individual’s ability to apply clinical knowledge as well as current legislation, ethics and scope of practice to patient care scenarios, the assessment must be completed independently. Additionally, all candidates are required to review and agree to a statement of understanding which includes maintaining the confidentiality of the knowledge assessment exam questions.
Candidates must complete the knowledge assessment in one sitting. Although candidates are not able to “pause” the assessment or complete it over several days, short breaks are permitted and candidates have up to three hours to complete the 45-question assessment.
Because unproctored knowledge assessments are completed in an unsupervised environment, you may begin the online assessment anytime within the one-month window.
Once you start, you will have up to three hours to complete the assessment in one sitting and can reference resources of your choice. The assessment consists of 45 questions.
Your result will be available immediately after completing the assessment. Knowledge assessment results are not shared with employers or colleagues.
Fifteen minutes before your scheduled appointment time, log into the testing platform to ensure your technology is operational. At your appointment time, complete the check in process with the proctor. You will have up to three hours to complete the assessment which consists of 45 questions.
Your result will be available within a few weeks of completing your assessment. Knowledge assessment results are not shared with employers or colleagues.
Pharmacists are required to complete a proctored knowledge assessment in any of the below situations:
To successfully complete the assessment, a pharmacist’s performance must meet or exceed the final pass score that is set using a criterion-referenced pass/fail standard. While similar, the pass score varies with each knowledge assessment based on the questions that are selected and reflects the overall level of difficulty of a particular knowledge assessment. This process helps standardize different assessments.
If a pharmacist passes the knowledge assessment, they will not be selected for another knowledge assessment for approximately four years.
If you are unsuccessful on the knowledge assessment, you will receive a performance profile that will help you identify your areas for improvement. You should review appropriate materials to address your knowledge gaps.
If you are unsuccessful on your first attempt of an unprotored knowledge assessment, you will be given a second opportunity during the same month to successfully complete the knowledge assessment. This reassessment attempt will also be unproctored. If you are unsuccessful on your second unproctored attempt, you will be required to complete a period of remediation and undergo a proctored knowledge assessment within six months.
If you are unsuccessful in the proctored knowledge assessment, your results will be reviewed by a panel of the Quality Assurance Committee to provide recommendations for remediation.
There is no cost for the first two proctored assessments in the same assessment cycle period. A cost recovery fee will be applied to any subsequent proctored assessments.