ASCO Updates Guidance on Competencies Expected

November 4, 2011

Kimberly O’Sullivan
Director, Communications
Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
(301) 231-5944 ext. 3019

ASCO Updates Guidance on Competencies Expected
of Students Graduating from Optometry Degree Programs

The 2011 “Attributes Report” is designed to serve as a national resource for U.S. schools and colleges

Rockville, Md. (Nov. 4, 2011) – The Board of Directors of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) has accepted a new “Attributes of Students Graduating from Schools and Colleges of Optometry” report. The updated “Attributes Report” is a series of competency statements that broadly define the attributes expected of students graduating from any one of the schools or colleges of optometry in the United States. The attributes are classified into three areas: 1) professional values and ethics, 2) knowledge, and 3) skill.

“The revised report will be an invaluable resource for the optometric profession as a whole and the state associations in that it is a cogent and contemporary presentation of the attributes today’s graduates possess upon entering practice,” ASCO President Kevin Alexander, OD, PhD, said.

This 2011 report updates an initial report jointly developed by the optometric community and accepted by the ASCO Board of Directors on June 20, 2000.* It represents current thinking about the requisite competencies for new graduates of optometry programs and recognizes how educational program management is changing in all healthcare disciplines. As explained in the report, current educational program management is evolving with improved descriptions of desired educational outcomes, enhanced mechanisms for assessing attainment of those outcomes, and expanding strategies that provide for ongoing scrutiny of individual and programmatic results while making appropriate adjustments to the outcomes and the techniques used to teach and develop them.

According to Jennifer L. Smythe, OD, MS, ASCO Secretary-Treasurer and a member of the Attributes Report Task Force along with Kent M. Daum, OD, PhD, “The Attributes Report serves as a valuable tool for developing and revising optometric curricular outcomes and for educating the public on the full scope of optometrists’ knowledge base, skills, professional and personal attributes and competencies. The new document reflects contemporary optometric practice and includes interprofessional competencies.”

The entire Attributes Report is contained in the Fall 2011 issue of ASCO’s journal, Optometric Education []. It will also be posted on the association’s Web site.

* Heath D, Daum K, DiStefano A, Haine C, Schwartz S. Attributes of students graduating from schools and colleges of optometry. Optom Educ. 2000 Fall;26(1):15-18.


About ASCO

The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) is a non-profit association representing the interests of optometric education. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Rockville, Md., ASCO is committed to achieving excellence in optometric education and to helping its member institutions prepare well-qualified graduates for entrance into the profession of optometry. Its membership encompasses the schools and colleges of optometry in the United States and Puerto Rico. A number of optometry schools outside the United States are affiliate members.

For its members and the optometric community, ASCO produces two online publications, the newsletter Eye on Education and the peer-reviewed journal Optometric Education. For information about advertising in these publications or the Association’s Corporate Contributors Program, contact Christine Armstrong, Director, Development, at (301) 231-5944 ext. 3018 or