October 01, 2006


 Profession provides input for new knowledge test

Posted Sept.15, 2006

A survey of veterinarians about the knowledge necessary to enter the profession will be the basis of a new examination for step 3 of the certification program of the AVMA Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates.

The examination assesses the basic and clinical sciences knowledge of graduates from veterinary colleges without AVMA accreditation. Between May 15 and June 15, more than 3,500 veterinarians from the United States and Canada completed an online survey to analyze just what scientific knowledge is necessary for on-the-job tasks.

"The job analysis confirmed a lot of what we suspected in terms of the areas of knowledge for an entry-level veterinarian," said Dr. Don Prater, ECFVG chair and leader of the Aquaculture Drugs Team at the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Prater said the respondents showed agreement across demographic groups. The survey asked respondents to rate the importance of specific knowledge subsets within the domains of anatomy; pharmacology, physiology, and toxicology; pathology; medicine; principles of surgery and anesthesia; diagnostics; and preventive medicine.

From Aug. 11-12, a 10-member task force met with testing consultants from Thomson Prometric at AVMA headquarters to review the survey results and make recommendations regarding the specifications for the new examination. The task force will forward its recommendations to the seven-member ECFVG for consideration when the commission next meets, Oct. 19-20.

Dr. Jim Reynolds, a member of the task force, praised the process of developing the test by asking the profession what is important before writing the questions.

"It is, I think, amazingly thorough and defendable," said Dr. Reynolds, who is in dairy production medicine at the University of California's Veterinary Medicine Teaching & Research Center in Tulare.

In recent years, the ECFVG has been using the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination for the step 3 examination of knowledge. The National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, which owns and administers the NAVLE, has informed the commission that it will no longer allow ECFVG candidates to take the licensing examination as part of the certification program after April 2007. Thereafter, the board will reserve the NAVLE for state licensing examinations.

Development of the new step 3 examination remains on target for release in midsummer 2007. Certification candidates will need to pass the new examination before progressing to the fourth and final step of the program—a hands-on assessment of clinical skills.

The ECFVG now seeks additional expertise from a broad range of veterinarians and veterinary educators to serve as question writers and reviewers. The commission is recruiting volunteers for a three-day workshop by Thomson Prometric, tentatively on the schedule for mid-October.

Veterinarians who would like to serve as question writers or reviewers, or who wish to nominate a colleague to serve, should submit their name or colleague's name, specific practice or teaching areas, and contact information—including a daytime telephone number and e-mail address—to ECFVG, Attn: Annie Liu, Testing Coordinator, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360. Veterinarians may also submit nominations by e-mail to aliu@avma.org.