Adapting During COVID-19
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve across the country, the NDEB is working hard to adapt its examination delivery to accommodate as many examinees as possible.
Converting the Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge (AFK) to electronic delivery was a way to move away from reliance on large testing centres that were no longer able to host in-person examinations. While this conversion allowed us to continue to administer examinations it came with a significant reduction in capacity. As the pandemic continues to affect our seat numbers, we are investigating all options for increasing capacity for each of the NDEB examinations.
With this objective in mind, beginning in August 2021, the AFK will be offered both electronically at Prometric test centres and in its original booklet format at other locations across the country. This change is expected to double the capacity of the AFK held in December of last year. As restrictions loosen, we will continue to examine the possibility for other larger test centres to provide as much access to the examination as possible. We expect to continue to offer the dual format of the AFK until we are able to accommodate our pre-pandemic capacity electronically.
The NDEB is also exploring the possibility of additional examination dates for the AFK in 2021 to help reduce the backlog created by exam cancellations and increased eligible test takers.
The administration of the NDEBs Assessment of Clinical Skills (ACS) remains reliant on Canadian Faculties to provide facilities for testing. The NDEB is working closely with the Faculties of Dentistry to determine the possibility for this examination in 2021. With no ACS offered in 2020 and the potential for significantly less test takers in 2021, the NDEB is moving forward with its plan to open its purpose-built testing facility in Ottawa. The development of the facility will improve access to the examination by running the ACS year-round. The NDEB expects the new facility to be up and running in 2022.
For the NDEBs certification examinations, the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) was converted from a bell ringer examination to a booklet format. This change was made to eliminate shared examination artifacts and materials, and to minimize examinee movements inside the examination room factors that would have impacted our ability to administer the exam.
The NDEB continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation across the country to assess the potential impacts on our examinations.