An epi update about the progress towards a future e:EQE
J. Gwilt (GB), Chair of the PEC
Now that the first e:EQE has been completed, and the preparations for the 2022 e:EQE are in full swing, it is time to provide a brief update on the activities that are aimed towards a future e:EQE that is more suitable for online examination.
A joint EPO/epi e:EQE working group was founded mid-2020. This group had the task to make sure that the 2021 EQE would happen and to lay the foundation for a future online examination, also known as the e:EQE. The epi members of the working group are supported by the Professional Education Committee (PEC) and the Digitalisation Support Group (DSG).
The PEC/DSG presented a first discussion paper in Council in November 2020 and a second discussion paper in May 2021. Both papers were intended to induce a broader discussion and interaction on the future of the EQE. Based on the experience of the e:EQE in 2021, the May 2021 discussion paper presented a possible new model for the e:EQE of the future. Moving to an online examination means that shorter modules of two hours without a break are preferable to reduce the risk of cheating and to keep screen time to an acceptable level. Simply reducing the content of the current papers A, B, C and D to fit a two-hour slot is likely to reduce the complexity of each examination. Accordingly, the discussion paper presented the possibility of re-grouping the different aspects of the present papers into concept-based modules so that the level of complexity can be maintained. For example, the concept of novelty which appears in each of the papers A, B, C and D could be tested in a separate module which is short but still difficult and complex. The May discussion paper is publicly provided on the epi-learning website (Course: e:EQE Discussion paper (epi-learning.org)).
It was clear from the epi Council Meeting in May that epi members needed more time to assess the concept based exam proposed in the May discussion paper. Accordingly, Council adopted the request for a conference on the topic of the future EQE and requested PEC/DSG to organise a conference.
The conference was held on 21 June 2021. Everyone agreed that the high standard of the current examination which has been in place for four decades should be maintained. Many of the attendees expressed concerns that maintaining the complexity and difficulty required to test fitness to practise when moving to a system having short modules of two hours is likely to be challenging. It was also noted that a future exam should fit into the (national) preparation programs and not collide with national exams. The time spent on training and examination should also remain approximately the same. A more detailed report on the conference is also included in this edition of epi information.
The feedback received at the conference and in response to the May discussion paper has been presented to the EPO in the context of the exchanges of the EPO-epi working group. In particular, the epi members have noted the need to maintain standards and the need to provide enough flexibility so that trainees can continue preparing for the e:EQE and a national qualification
More updates to follow so watch this space!