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Competency-Based Assessment for Geoscience

A new experience assessment system for geoscience called Competency-Based Assessment (CBA) has been approved by the APEGS membership and came into effect on January 1, 2021. The new system is ready to use and you can access experience reporting information here

This presentation gives you an overview of the plan to implement CBA for geoscience, as well as a an introduction to the competency framework for geoscience. 


Prior to being granted a licence, a geoscience applicant must demonstrate their ability to practise geoscience. The onus is on the applicant to provide evidence that they possess, through experience, a satisfactory capability to practice geoscience at a professional level. Many of Canada’s geoscience regulators are moving toward competency-based assessment of geoscience experience. To this end, a pan-Canadian competency-based assessment project was undertaken with participation from geoscience regulators in several provinces. The online competency assessment system developed in the pilot phase by Engineers & Geoscientists of British Columbia (BC) has been adopted by APEGS and other regulators in Canada.

The Change

At the September 2020 Annual Meeting, the APEGS membership voted to adopt this new experience assessment system, effective January 1, 2021. It applies to professional geoscience applicants to APEGS (i.e. geoscientists-in-training) as well as geoscientist-in-training international graduate applicants given the experience review option to waive confirmatory exams. 

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.
  • is a 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 geoscience experience is not changing, we are better describing it.  

CBA makes experience reporting easier and more transparent.

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 geoscience work experience, there has been no change in the requirements.

It is more quantitative and objective.

    • There is an explicitly described rating scale from 0 to 5 that Applicants, Validators and Assessors use.

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.

Description of the Competency-Based Assessment Framework

The competency assessment framework is made up of the Assessment Rubric, the Geoscience Competencies and Workplace Examples. These documents are provided in the Related Attachments section below.

There are four competency categories, which are groupings of a total of 29 competencies or skills:
1) Professional Competencies [7 competencies]
2) Competencies in Scientific Method [5 competencies]
3) Competencies in Geoscience Practice [7 competencies]
4) Complimentary Competencies - Communication and management [10 competencies].

The four categories represent the areas in which all professional geoscientists must be competent to ensure effective practice and public safety. Each Competency Category contains a list of Work Experience Competencies required in that area and related Workplace Examples (indicators) of the type of work that could qualify. Achievement of each category is measured through a Level of Competence 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 Level of Competence scale, while achieving the required minimum Category average score ‘entry to practice’ rating level of 3.

Online Submission

The CBA experience submission is done through the online portal at https://competencyassessment.ca. You must read all of the information found on this page prior to beginning use of the system.

The use of an online competency assessment process enables applicants to easily report and their validators to validate their geoscience 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 in order to become a professional geoscientist). Applicants, validators and assessors are provided with a personal login. Once an applicant has completed their competency entries, the applicable validators are notified when the applicant indicates in the online system that the competencies that pertain to them are ready to validate.

Transition from the Current Experience Reporting System

You may continue in the current experience reporting system only if you are a current geoscientist-in-training who has submitted one or more complete experience reports in the outgoing paper-based system before January 1, 2021. However, you are encouraged and invited to switch to the CBA system.

You are required to use the new CBA system if any one of the following situations applies:
• you are a current geoscientist-in-training from whom APEGS has not received one or more experience reports before January 1, 2021;
• you are a geoscientist-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 (consisting of five years of reports) by January 1, 2021;
• you applied to APEGS as an geoscientist-in-training on or after January 1, 2021.

Orientation Presentations

The orientation presentation that was delivered to inform applicants and validators is attached below.  

Feedback Requested 

Your feedback and questions are welcome. You may do so by contacting experience-review@apegs.ca


Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan
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