I. News from the AVMA Staff and ECFVG Members
II. ECFVG Program News
III. CPE Scheduling News
The ECFVG met in Las Vegas, NV on October 31-November 3, 2005. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Phil Bushby representing the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). The Commission welcomed Dr. Kunkle, who began her term on the ECFVG in July 2005, representing the AVMA Council on Education. Dr. Larry Corry, Executive Board member from District IV, serves as the AVMA Board liaison.
The Commission conducted a full business meeting in addition to observing the seven-section Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE) administered by the Western Veterinary Conference. This was the first opportunity for new members and liaisons to familiarize themselves with the CPE, and it allowed the entire Commission a great opportunity to observe the first private, dedicated CPE site in action.
After its deliberations, the Commission forwarded six recommendations to the AVMA Executive Board for consideration; all were subsequently approved:
Program StatisticsNew ECFVG Quality Assurance Program – Development of New Step 3 Examination Begins – Postgraduate Evaluated Clinical Year to be Discontinued July 1, 2007 – CPE Fee Changes for New ECFVG Candidates – CPE Payment Procedure Streamlined –
From January 1, 2005 through December 21, 603 new candidates registered in the ECFVG program. The new candidate population is diverse, having graduated from more than 75 different non-AVMA/Council on Education-accredited veterinary colleges in more than 40 countries around the world. Twenty-one percent are native-born citizens of the United States and 79% are native-born citizens of other countries.
During that same time, 343 candidates completed the program and were awarded ECFVG certificates. This is the greatest number of certificates awarded in a single year since the original certification program began in May 1965. New certificate holders are graduates of more than 75 different veterinary schools in approximately 40 different countries. Total number of certificates awarded since 1965 exceeds 3,600.
The ECFVG quality assurance program (QAP), which was approved by the AVMA Executive Board in April 2005, begins January 1, 2006. The new QAP will not affect candidates who registered in the ECFVG certification program prior to January 1, 2006. However, it will have the following three-fold effect on candidates registering on and after January 1, 2006:
The ECFVG application reflects this change.
In June 2005, the AVMA Executive Board approved a recommendation from the ECFVG to contract with the Baltimore-based test vendor Thomson Prometric to develop and administer a new computer-based examination for use in step three of the ECFVG certification program. The new examination will replace the current Step three examination, the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination, which is owned and administered by the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. After reviewing numerous proposals, the ECFVG unanimously approved a motion to recommend Thomson Prometric to the board as its preferred vendor. The commission was impressed with Thomson's ability to clearly and succinctly explain the processes used in developing test forms and scoring scales to ensure a psychometrically sound and legally defensible test. Thomson also has a wide network of secure, state-of-the-art, computer-based testing centers, which will allow ECFVG candidates to readily access the new Step three examination.
The Commission met with Thomson Prometric at its October 2005 meeting to finalize a developmental timeline. A Step 3 Examination Steering Committee was appointed, comprising ECFVG members Drs. Phil Bushby, David Hayes, and Don Prater. Annie Liu, Testing Coordinator, will provide AVMA staff support to the Steering Committee, which held its first meeting with Thomson Prometric consultants on December 19.
Once the new Step 3 examination is launched, anticipated for 2007, certification of educational equivalency will be a separate process that occurs prior to the licensure process. ECFVG certificate holders, who will meet the educational prerequisite for licensure eligibility, will then need to successfully complete all state licensing requirements, including any national and state examinations.
In November 2005, the AVMA Executive Board approved a recommendation from the ECFVG that will modify the purpose and role of the postgraduate Evaluated Clinical Year (ECY) currently offered at 12 AVMA/Council on Education-accredited veterinary colleges. Commencing July 1, 2007 the Evaluated Clinical Year will be considered an Instructional Clinical Year and will no longer satisfy the Step 4 requirements for ECFVG certification.
Candidates currently enrolled in ECY programs will have until July 1, 2007 to complete the ECY and have it count as the final step towards certification. The 12 ECY sites can continue to admit ECFVG candidates into ECY programs as long as the program is structured to allow candidates to finish prior to July 1, 2007. In addition, petitions for approval of clinical experience at an AVMA-accredited college of veterinary medicine when the experience is out of sequence or at a program not yet approved by the ECFVG (revised) will be accepted and reviewed only if all required evaluations will be completed before July 1, 2007.
The decision to discontinue the ECY came after years of serious research and deliberations aimed at ensuring the ECFVG process is standardized, psychometrically sound, and legally defensible. In April 1998, the Executive Board approved a plan to strengthen the ECFVG process. Since 2002, the ECFVG has worked with testing consultants from the Chauncey Group International (now Thomson Prometric) to determine whether:
In 2002/2003, a preliminary audit was conducted at the then 11 schools that administered the ECY. The ECY ranged from as few as 36 to as many as 49 weeks, and the number of weeks spent on different disciplines also varied. Additionally, the number of eligible ECFVG candidates applying to any one ECY program ranged from 15 to 60, whereas the number accepted ranged from 1 to 12. Thus, unlike the CPE in which all eligible candidates can take the examination once they apply, some ECY-eligible candidates may not get accepted into a program. Finally, although the guidelines for sites administering the ECY indicate that "while it is recognized that some training will occur during the year of clinical experience, it is primarily a period of evaluation and is not considered a substitute for college-level instruction," all sites responding to the preliminary audit indicated that ECFVG candidates are performing the same tasks and being evaluated in the same manner as senior veterinary students. Only two sites indicated that ECFVG candidates were at times, but not often, being evaluated in a manner that represents their higher level of attainment (graduate veterinarians vs. students).
The ECFVG does recognize the value of a clinical educational year for non-native-born US citizens educated in other countries to voluntarily gain experience with the standards of US veterinary medical practice and culture. For this reason, the ECFVG strongly encourages ECY sites to promote and offer Instructional Clinical Years for those candidates who need the additional educational experience to be successful.
The CPE Quality Assurance Program, and the associated $1,000 fee, has been discontinued for candidates who register in the ECFVG certification program for the first time on and after January 1, 2006. These candidates will have already paid the one-time ECFVG Quality Assurance Program fee of $725. Thus, the total cost of the CPE for such candidates will be $5,000, all of which will be forwarded to the CPE site to help defray administrative expenses. The CPE application reflects this change.
Beginning January 1, 2006, all CPE payments will need to be in the form of a cashier's check or money order made payable to "AVMA" rather than to "CPE" or "AVMA/CPE/QAP." This will allow the ECFVG office to centralize the payment process, which will make transfer of fees to the seven ECFVG-approved CPE sites much easier and quicker than the current system, regardless of rescheduling or other candidate issues.
In the final seven months of 2006, the ECFVG approved two new CPE sites—one private site in Las Vegas, and a sixth university-affiliated site at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. The addition of two new sites created more than 100 new exam positions in 2005. Currently, all CPE-eligible candidates who have requested a CPE application have received one, and all who have returned an application have been assigned a CPE date. As of December 22, 2005, all January and February CPE positions are full; three March positions remain open at the University of Glasgow (Scotland) site; all positions are full in April, five May positions remain open at the Western Veterinary Conference site; and multiple positions are open for exams administered June-December, 2006.