[updated March 26, 2013]
CACO Rules of Conduct & Administration Procedures
CEO-ECO is mandated to assess through the Canadian Assessment of Competence in Optometry (CACO) the required entry-to-practice optometric knowledge and skills of individuals who seek to practice optometry in Canada. This mandate directly supports Members (i.e. the provincial and territorial organizations that regulate the profession of optometry in Canada) in their protection of the public interest. All candidates must comply with the following Rules of Conduct and Administration Procedures to preserve the integrity of the examination process. Unauthorized access to examination content or any attempt to breach or undermine the examination is a violation of the purpose of the CACO.
By registering for and/or participating in the CACO (also referred to as “the assessment” or “the examination”), candidates are agreeing to the following CACO Rules of Conduct and CACO Administration Procedures. Failure to adhere to the Rules of Conduct may result in the penalties and actions outlined in the CACO Cheating & Misconduct Policy.
Rules of Conduct
1. Every individual that participates in the CACO exam process has a responsibility to maintain the integrity and the confidentiality of the examination.
2. All examination materials of the CACO (also referred to as ‘the assessment” or ‘the examination’) are the sole property of CEO-ECO and are protected by property right laws. Examination materials include any items or materials that have been or will be used in a CACO exam including but not limited to exam questions, answers, exam booklets, answer (bubble) sheets, clinical skills exam materials and information about CEO-ECO’s examination processes that are followed in development and delivery of the CACO. Examination materials and information are strictly confidential and any possession, reproduction, distribution or sharing of examination materials and information is unlawful and subject to legal action which may include seeking recovery of examination development and delivery costs. Only materials and information that are made public by CEO-ECO, such as the candidate clinical record form, are excluded from the preceding confidentiality requirement.
3. Other types of prohibited behaviour include but are not limited to:
• Reproduction, sharing and/or copying examination material with another individual at any time, or offers including any attempts to reproduce, share or copy examination material. This includes discussions with past, current, or future candidates or assessors or subjects (patients) about any examination material, before, during or after the exam and on or off the examination site(s). This includes but is not limited to:
§ Conversations between Candidates and Assessors before the start of, during or after a skills session
§ Conversations between candidates during breaks between skills sessions
§ Talking about the exam between morning and afternoon written components
§ Describing questions from the CACO to a candidate who is intending to take the CACO
• Sharing or exchanging equipment between clinical sessions or using equipment not authorized in the Administration Procedures and/or the Candidate Clinical Record Form
• Misrepresentation of personal identity by any person taking the CACO, including but not limited to attempting to take the examination for somebody else or permitting someone else to take the examination for you
• Taking the examination for any purpose other than registration with a Canadian optometric regulatory authority
• Bringing prohibited materials as defined in CACO Administration Procedures into the assessment area. This includes but is not limited to: cell phones, notes, books, personal calculators or other aids
• Removal of any examination materials from the examination site other than permissible items as defined in the CACO Administration Procedures. This includes removal of any equipment supplied to the candidate
• Writing on anything other than what is provided by the CEO for that purpose
• Behaving in a way that is disruptive to the examination environment or process and which could be disruptive to other individuals taking part in the examination
• Behaving in a way that could be constituted as unprofessional, harmful, violent or potentially violent toward assessors, candidates, patients or other CEO-ECO employees and contractors. This includes but is not limited to communication with CEO-ECO staff regarding CACO registration, scheduling, exam administration, scores, or score reporting.
• Failure to disclose a conflict of interest. In the skills exam, knowledge of or acquaintance with either the assessor or patient, personally or professionally, must be declared by the candidate to the assessor or to the lead assessor
• Providing false or fraudulent information or documents in relation to any aspect of the CACO administration including registering for the CACO and performance reporting
• Exiting the designated waiting area, the assigned examination room for the skills session, or any part of the assessment area without permission of the Lead Assessor or Chief Proctor or other designated exam staff
• Failure to report any of the preceding behaviour if one is or becomes aware of it
The following information and procedures apply to both the written and skills assessments.
Candidates must bring and wear their identification badge to both the written and skills assessments. CEO reserves the right to deny access to the assessment to those candidates who are not wearing their identification badge and to request additional government-issued identification if deemed necessary to authenticate the candidate’s identity.
Arrival & Sign In
Candidates must arrive at the sign-in area of the assessment facility between 30-60 minutes before the scheduled start time of the examination. The recommended arrival time will be noted on the candidate’s personal examination schedule.
At sign in, candidates will present their identification badge to examination staff and remain in a designated waiting area of the assessment facility. Candidates will not be permitted entry to or permitted to leave the designated waiting area after sign in. Candidates are asked to make sure that they have everything that they will need for the examination before they are signed in.
Important examination instructions are provided about 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the examination. Candidates who arrive during this provision of instruction may be refused entry by the Chief Proctor, Lead Assessor or other designated exam staff.
For Written CACO: Candidates arriving 15 minutes or more after the exam has started will not be permitted to take the examination.
For Skills CACO: Candidates arriving after the scheduled start time of the examination will not be permitted to take the examination.
Permissible / Non-permissible Materials
Any materials or equipment may be inspected by CEO-ECO before the candidate is permitted into the assessment area.
Candidates may bring only the following into the assessment areas:
· Official ID badge supplied by CEO (required)
· Personal CACO exam schedule supplied by CEO-ECO which is on a single sheet of paper (required)
· Wooden (non-mechanical) pencil, eraser
· Bottled water in a clear bottle with label removed. Beverages other than water are not permitted.
· For the clinical exam only - equipment required to perform the examination (see “Equipment & Materials” below)
Prohibited materials include:
· any computing or transmission device, such as a computer, calculator, mobile device, cell phone, beeper/pager, ipod or other mobile/handheld device.
· purses, wallets, bags, backpacks, suitcases
· books, paper and any notes
· the Guide to the CACO and/or the Table of Specifications of the CACO
· pencil cases, eyewear cases
· outerwear such as coats, ski pants, gloves, scarves, hats
· food, cigarettes
Prohibited materials are to be left outside the assessment areas or in a designated waiting area within the assessment facility. CEO-ECO assumes NO responsibility for loss or damage to candidates’ materials left in these areas. Candidates are encouraged to avoid bringing items of value to the assessment.
Medication/Food is permitted ONLY if prior permission has been obtained: Candidates with special dietary needs relating to a medical condition must have obtained prior permission from CEO-ECO to bring required food or medication into the assessment areas. A request for permission to bring food or medicine must be made in writing at least thirty (30) days in advance of the assessment. Food and/or medicinal items must be clearly visible to administration staff in a see-through plastic bag such as a ‘Ziploc.’ Candidates are encouraged to use the ten minute transition period between sessions of the clinical examination to eat or take medication. CEO-ECO is not responsible for damage to examination documents as a result of such food/water.
At the completion of the examination, the candidate is required to leave the assessment area, retrieve any personal effects and leave the examination facility promptly and without discussion with other candidates. Candidates are not permitted to reenter the waiting area or the assessment area.
The following information and procedures apply to the Skills assessments.
Identification & Schedule
Candidates must bring their schedule to the Clinical Skills section of the CACO.
Reminder: Candidates must bring their CEO-assigned Identification Badge to sign in for the assessment and wear it throughout the assessment.
Equipment & Forms
a) Record Forms:
Candidate Clinical Record Formswill be available in each examination room. No other paper is allowed into the examination room with the exception of the candidate’s examination schedule which is mailed to the candidate prior to the exam.
· Candidates are responsible for providing their own equipment as outlined in the Candidate Clinical Record Forms, “CACO Preparation, Skills Assessment”
· Candidates may bring only the required equipment into the assessment area
· Sharing or exchange of equipment during or between the sessions is not allowed
· CEO will not assist candidates with securing equipment
· Equipment must be in a single equipment carrying case OR in a see-through plastic bag both of which may be inspected by the Lead Assessor or other designated exam staff.
· Bags that may have been used to transport equipment, such as backpacks, large bags/purses, wheeled cases, etc., are not permitted into the assessment area
All other equipment or instrumentation is provided within each session room. Individual rooms may vary in the type or brand of instruments and equipment available. Candidates do NOT have the option of changing rooms based on the supplied instruments or equipment.
Setting up and/or adjusting instruments (e.g. focusing eyepieces, adjusting pupillary distances of instruments to personal requirements) may not be done in advance. Such adjustments are considered to be part of the skill that may be required to be demonstrated.
While binocular indirect ophthalmoscopes (BIO) are provided by CEO, candidates wishing to use their own BIO may do so as long as it contains an acceptable teaching mirror.
Calibration of instruments (e.g. the lensometer) is not expected of candidates either in advance of the assessment or during the assessment. Candidates should assume that the instruments that they are assigned have been calibrated in advance.
Exam Day Scheduling and Timing
Prior to the exam day, candidates will have received their assessment room assignments and schedule. Any required exam-day changes in room assignments are made at the discretion of the Lead Assessor.
On exam day, upon direction of the Lead Assessor, candidates proceed directly to their assigned room and remain outside the room until the beginning of the examination period. (Should the start time of the examination be delayed, full time allotment will be provided by the Lead Assessor).
Assessors and candidates enter the assigned room five minutes before the assessment begins. Candidates may use this time to become familiar with the layout of the room, the equipment within the room, and to review the procedures that are to be performed. No part of the assessment component, including interviewing the subject, is allowed during this time.
An indication from the Assessor begins the assessment at each session. Candidates must remain in the examination room until the Assessor signals the end of the allotted time.
A 10 minute period is provided between each session to allow candidates to move to the next examination room. Talking with other candidates or assessors during this period of time is not allowed. Candidates may not enter the next examination room until the scheduled time. No additional time is allowed for lavatory use during the assessment sessions.
Note: In addition to remaining in the examination room until the Assessor signals the end of the allotted time, candidates may not leave any part of the assessment area for any reason without the permission of an assessor. Candidates who leave the assigned examination room or assessment area without permission will not be permitted to reenter the assessment area or complete the remainder of the exam.
The Assessor will stop assessing the candidate after 45 minutes and indicate the end of the allotted time. Candidates are responsible for allocating their time within each skill component to ensure that they complete all of the required techniques within the allotted time (refer to the CACO Guide for allotted time).
Recording and Scoring Instructions
Candidates will follow the instructions and record their findings on the Candidate Clinical Record Forms which will be in each examination room. Findings are also stated verbally to the Assessor. Candidates should be familiar with the sequence of techniques and tests to be performed but may review the instructions before and during the assessment session.
Retinoscopy. Procedures within a session may be repeated at the candidate's discretion with the exception of static retinoscopy. However, a candidate may perform retinoscopy and measure visual acuity with this result. Candidates may then continue retinoscopy at this point if they are dissatisfied with the vision achieved. Assessors will score the last result stated and recorded unless otherwise directed. Important: Commencement of the next technique, subjective refraction, disallows repeating or continuing retinoscopy thereafter.
Repeating a procedure. A candidate's intention to repeat any procedure should be announced to the Assessor. Candidates should state and record all results obtained, but clearly strike through recorded results not to be scored.
Assessors will not score any procedures carried out in advance of the starting time of the component. Incomplete parts of the session will be scored by the assessor. The skills components are time constrained and failure to complete all of the procedures required in the session will affect scoring.
A Candidate's demeanor, instructions given to the subjects/patients by the candidates, and their general use of language are assessed along with communication and other interpersonal skills.
Assessors may intervene in a candidate's procedures in order to protect the subject's safety or comfort. The Assessor has the authority to terminate a session or require the candidate to omit certain procedures if the Assessor feels that the subject is being placed at risk.
Important: Marked answer sheets and all other testing materials are the property of CEO. At the completion of the skills session, candidates must submit their forms, all notes and data made or recorded and all other testing materials to the Assessor. Candidates may not remove any materials on which they recorded information from the assigned examination room.
An opportunity to complete an Incident Report Form will be provided at the conclusion of the session Candidates are responsible for completing an Incident Report and providing it to an official of CEO if anything has occurred that could reasonably be understood to have detrimentally affected the candidate’s performance or evaluation. Claims of incidents can be made at the end of a session and must be given to the assessor present in the room, or alternatively to the Lead Assessor. The top part of the form should be completed before leaving the assigned room and must be completed before exiting the assessment area. Candidates will not be permitted to search for assessors at the end of the four skills sessions.
Role of Assessors & Observers
Each candidate is evaluated by one Assessor per session.
Important: Assessors are not permitted to provide candidates with advice, counsel, or direction.
Upon entering the room, the candidate may introduce themselves to the Assessor and to the subject/standardized patient.
Conflict of Interest: Knowledge of or acquaintance with either the Assessor or the subject, personally or professionally must be declared by the candidate. The Assessor will also declare such knowledge or acquaintance. Alternate Assessors or subjects/patients will be provided to a candidate.
Authorized observers may enter the examination rooms during the assessment. Observers do not converse with Candidates or Assessors in the examination rooms.
Candidates dress and grooming must be appropriate to a professional in a health care setting. Candidates may wish to dress in layers as the temperature of examination sites may fluctuate. Clothing with excessive pockets or excessive in size may not be permitted.
CEO-ECO will refuse entry or assessment to candidates who, in the opinion of the Lead Assessor or other designated exam staff are inappropriately dressed.
Inappropriate dress would include:
· Jeans, shorts, sleeveless shirts (short-sleeve shirt is acceptable), sandals, flip-flops, baseball caps, potentially dangerous jewelry, etc.
The following information and administration procedures apply to the Written assessments.
Exam Day Timing and Seating
On entering the assessment area, candidates proceed directly to their seat and must remain there until the beginning of the examination and during the examination. Candidates must not leave their seats without the permission of a proctor. Seating within the assessment area may be assigned by the Chief Proctor.
Candidates do not begin the examination until directed by the Chief Proctor. Full time allotment will be provided in the event of a delayed start.
Note: Candidates may not leave the examination room for any reason without the permission of a proctor. Candidates who leave the assigned examination room without permission will not be permitted to reenter the assessment area or complete the exam.
Sharing or exchange of equipment during or between the sessions is not allowed. CEO will not assist candidates in finding equipment.
Calculators (Casio FX 260) will be supplied. All candidates must use the supplied calculators. Each calculator may be used by a single candidate only.
Pencils are not supplied. Candidates must bring their own pencils and erasers.
Candidate’s equipment and materials may be individually inspected before being allowed into the assessment area.
Candidates are individually responsible for correctly and completely identifying their answer sheets. The Chief Proctor will provide some general direction to the candidates at the beginning of each examination on completing the identification section of the answer sheets.
Candidates mark only one answer for each question. Questions that have no answer selected or which have two or more selected answers are scored as incorrect. All answers are recorded on the answer sheets. Examination question books are not scored, only answer sheets.
Important: Marked answer sheets and all other testing materials are the property of CEO. Candidates must submit their answer sheets, question books, and all other testing materials to the Chief Proctor or other designated person prior to leaving the exam. Candidates may not remove any materials from the examination room.
Candidates may exit the examination any time after the midpoint of the examination, except during the last 15 minutes.
CACO Procedures and Rules