Development of a Prior Learning Assessment for Pharmacists Seeking Licensure in Canada


  • Zubin Austin Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, 19 Russell Street, Toronto, Ont., Canada M5S 1A1
  • Mike Galli Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, 19 Russell Street, Toronto, Ont., Canada M5S 1A1
  • Artemis Diamantouros Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, 19 Russell Street, Toronto, Ont., Canada M5S 1A1


Prior Learning Assessment, Assessment, Pharmacy Education, Professional Education


Prior learning assessment (PLA) has been used to provide an indication of learning acquired through formal educational and unstructured professional experiences. PLA has been used in a variety of professions and trades to complement traditional credential-based evaluations of knowledge and skills. Within the context of pharmacy, PLA is currently being used as a tool to assess the competencies of foreign- trained pharmacists seeking licensure in Ontario, Canada. A competency-based approach moves beyond the traditional prior learning tools (e.g. interviews, portfolios, and transcript reviews) and incorporates performance-based assessment such as the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). This paper describes the systematic method for developing a structured, competency-based prior learning assessment for foreign-trained pharmacists seeking licensure in Ontario, Canada. Beginning with the identification of critical competency standards, a model for sequen- tial assessment of knowledge, skills and values is presented. Results from a pilot program are presented, suggesting the importance of cultural competency (over and above linguistic competency and in conjunction with a strong declarative pharmacotherapeutic knowledge base) in pharmacy practice.


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Research Article