New Experience Assessment System for Engineering – Online Competency-Based Assessment

Introduction


Prior to being granted a licence, an engineering applicant must demonstrate their ability to practise engineering. The onus is on the applicant to provide evidence that they possess, through experience, a satisfactory capability to practice engineering at a professional level.

Many of Canada’s engineering regulators have implemented or are moving toward competency-based assessment of engineering experience. To this end, a multi-year, Pan-Canadian competency-based assessment project was undertaken with participation from engineering regulators in several provinces. In the current phase of this project, the online competency assessment system developed by Engineers & Geoscientists BC is being adapted for use by other regulators in Canada.

At the May 2018 Annual Meeting, the APEGS membership unanimously approved this new experience assessment system, effective January 1, 2019. It applies to professional engineer applicants to APEGS (i.e. engineers-in-training) as well as engineer-in-training international graduate applicants given the experience review option to waive confirmatory exams. All requirements remain the same, including four years of experience, at least one year of experience in a Canadian or equivalent-to-Canadian environment, and the possibility to count up to one year of pre-grad experience for eligible applicants, as well as the others that are currently in place.

Note that competency-based assessment for geoscience experience is under development in a separate project and its implementation is being planned for the future.


Benefits of Competency-Based Assessment


Competencies are observable and measurable skills, knowledge, abilities, motivations or traits required for professional registration that are demonstrated through the actions and behaviours of the applicant. The competency-based assessment system:
  • permits a more quantitative assessment of applicants using a more precise measuring system than the current APEGS experience review guidelines.
  • more explicitly described and defined measurement tool to assess readiness for licensure.
  • makes the assessment more objective, transparent and consistent and increases the confidence of all who participate in the process including applicants, validators, employers and assessors on the Experience Review Committee.
What constitutes acceptable engineering experience is not changing, we are better describing it.  


Description of the Competency-Based Assessment Framework


The competency assessment framework makes use of seven Competency Categories, which are groupings of a total of 34 competencies or skills:
• Technical competence [10 competencies]
• Communication [3 competencies]
• Project and financial management [5 competencies]
• Team effectiveness [2 competencies]
• Professional accountability [6 competencies]
• Social, economic, environmental and sustainability [5 competencies]
• Personal continuing professional development (CPD) [3 competencies]

The seven categories represent the areas in which professional engineers of all disciplines must be competent to ensure effective practice and public safety. Each Competency Category contains a list of the key competencies required in that area. The complete details are posted below.

Achievement of each category is measured through a Competency Rating Scale that outlines six different levels of competence (0-5). A successful candidate must meet each of the competencies in each category at a minimum level of 1 on the Competency Rating Scale, while achieving the required minimum category average ‘entry to practice’ rating level of 2 or 3, depending on the category.


Online Submission


All those eligible to use the CBA system will receive instructions on how to access the system when it is ready. In the meantime, you can view the system using the sample APEGS applicant instructions found on the APEGS website under Members, Competency-Based Assessment, Related Attachments at the bottom of the page.

The use of an online competency assessment process enables applicants to easily report and their validators to validate their engineering experience from anywhere in the world (keeping in mind that a minimum of one year of Canadian or equivalent-to-Canadian experience is still required). Applicants, validators and assessors are provided with a personal login and once an applicant has completed his or her competency entries, the applicable validators are automatically notified when the competencies that pertain to them are ready to validate.

For a complete description of the online submission process, see additional information posted below.  


Timeline and next steps


February 2, 2018: Council approved the change to competency-based assessment.

May 5, 2018 Annual Meeting: APEGS membership ratified Council’s recommendation to switch to competency-based assessment. 

January 1, 2019: Competency-based assessment of engineering experience comes into effect.


Transition from the Current Experience Reporting System


You may continue in the current experience reporting system if you wish if you are a current engineer-in-training who has submitted one or more complete experience reports before January 1, 2019. However, you are encouraged and invited to switch to the online competency assessment system when it comes into effect.

You are required to use the new online competency-based assessment system if any one of the following situations applies to you:
• current engineer-in-training from whom APEGS has not received one or more experience reports before January 1, 2019;
• an engineer-in-training applicant who is an international graduate that has been given the experience review option to waive confirmatory exams and APEGS has not received their completed experience submission by January 1, 2019;
• people who applied to APEGS as an engineer-in-training on or after January 1, 2019.

You are required to use the new CBA system if Scenario 1, 2 or 3 applies to you:

Scenario 1
As of January 1, 2019, you are not yet registered as an engineer-in-training with APEGS (with one exception – see Scenario 3).

Scenario 2
As of January 1, 2019, you are registered as an engineer-in-training with APEGS and you have not submitted any experience reports in the outgoing, paper-based system*.

 *If you already have at least one year of experience and you have not reported yet, it is recommended that you wait for the new CBA system to launch in the fall of 2018, do not start submitting experience reports in the outgoing, paper-based system.

 

Scenario 3
As of January 1, 2019, you are an international graduate who has applied as an engineer-in-training with APEGS, you have been given the experience review option to waive confirmatory exams and you have not submitted any experience reports on the outgoing, paper-based system.

 

You can continue in the outgoing, paper-based system if Scenario 4 or 5 applies to you:

You are encouraged to switch to the online CBA system even if Scenario 4 or 5 applies to you.

Scenario 4
As of January 1, 2019, you are registered as an engineer-in-training with APEGS and APEGS has received one or more completed experience reports in the outgoing, paper-based system.

Scenario 5
As of January 1, 2019, you are an international graduate who has applied as an engineer-in-training with APEGS, you have been given the experience review option to waive confirmatory exams and APEGS has received all 5 years of your completed experience reports in the outgoing, paper-based system. The CBA system will only apply to you if you are asked to re-submit. 

Benefits of CBA

CBA makes experience reporting easier and more transparent. It is highly recommended that engineers-in-training switch to the new CBA system even if they have already submitted reports in the outgoing, paper-based system. You may use experience examples from experience reports already submitted on the outgoing, paper-based system but make sure to include any information from there in the online CBA system for it to be considered:

  1. It is easier to gauge if your experience qualifies for professional registration and therefore increases your confidence when writing your submission.
    • We have better described what constitutes acceptable engineering work experience, there has been no change in the requirements.
    • The Assessors’ confidence is also improved when making their decision.
  2. There are “Indicators” to provide more insight into what will satisfy a competency.
  3. It is more quantitative and objective.
    • There is an explicitly described rating scale from 0 to 5 that the applicant, Validators and Assessors use.
  4. Only 34 examples required.
    • You provide one example for each of the 34 competencies from any time in your entire engineering experience history instead of 54 (or more) examples in the outgoing, paper-based system.
    • This is different than the outgoing, paper-based system where each experience report contains examples from a specific time frame. 
  5. It is online.
    • No more paper and obtaining signatures!
    • The online system facilitates all information entry, sharing and notifications.
    • No more coordination is needed by the applicant through email and mail to validators and APEGS.
    • All entries are available for download by the applicant as a pdf at any time.

How to switch to the new CBA system

All engineers-in-training and engineer-in-training applicants will be notified when the new CBA system is ready to use. You will then create a user account and the system will retrieve authorization directly from APEGS. 

You may use experience examples from experience reports already submitted on the outgoing, paper-based system. The Experience Review Committee will not refer to your previously submitted, paper-based experience reports when doing your CBA assessment so be sure to include any information from there in the online CBA system if you want it to be considered.  

The CBA website will be ready prior to January 1, 2019. In the meantime, you can view the system using the sample APEGS applicant instructions found in the Related Attachments below.

Town Hall Meetings


From January to March 2018, APEGS staff toured the province and facilitated Town Hall meetings in 14 locations. The proposed changes were presented and discussed (as well as the proposed changes to CPD reporting). Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. A list of questions received at the Town Halls and the answers are posted in the Related Attachments below. 


Orientation Presentations


Check the APEGS Events Calendar for dates. All engineers-in-training and engineer-in-training applicants will also be notified by email when registration is open. Be sure you have a current email address with APEGS by checking your On-Line Profile. A video of the Orientation will also be posted by mid-November 2018 for all those who cannot attend in person. 

Online CBA System - Sample Applicant for Viewing


A sample applicant's online submission has been made available for viewing. See the Related Attachments below for log in information and instructions. 

The link to the online system may not work directly from the pdf below. If not, please use this link:

https://competencyassessment.ca/ 


Feedback Requested 


Your feedback and questions are requested. You may do so by contacting Tina Maki, P.Eng., Director of Special Projects at 306-525-9547 or toll free North America 1-800-500-9547 or tmaki@apegs.ca. 



Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan
Achieving a Safe & Prosperous Future Through Engineering & Geoscience