What are DOPS?
DOPS (Direct Observation of Procedural/ Practical Skills) are a well-defined mechanism to measure the competence of an individual in a procedure or practical task. The individual’s performance is assessed against predetermined criteria for the task, using a checklist–type format.
The DOPS assessment takes account of the integration of knowledge, skills and attitude that are necessary in carrying out any task. For example, the individual must understand why they are undertaking the procedure and the legal constraints that apply (knowledge); the individual must have the appropriate dexterity and skill to carry out the task (skills); and they must demonstrate working within the Culture of Care, showing appropriate respect for the animals and persons involved (attitude).
The successful individual “meets expectations” in respect of the criteria that are outlined for each technique and which provide transparency of expectations and standards. DOPS can be used both in training (formatively) and as a final “sign off” assessment (summatively). Feedback is an integral part of the assessment and should be given at the end of each session in order both to reward good performance and to encourage learning.
LASA is pleased to host a library of DOPS submitted for laboratory animal science techniques, procedures and practical skills, and we are grateful to the Royal Veterinary College for sharing with us the first tranche of DOPS which they have created.
How to use DOPS
Download the relevant document for use in the assessment or training of staff for the relevant procedure or practical skill. The mechanism by which this is done, and the results recorded, is subject to the processes which your Establishment has adopted. The DOPS can be adapted, on this basis, to be appropriate for local use.
Improving existing DOPS and proposing new DOPS
The LASA DOPS are intended to reflect current good practice. However, they are ‘living documents’ and we are keen to hear from those in the laboratory animal science community who might have suggestions for improvements. To do so, first save as a Word document then please amend the relevant section(s) of the DOPS and email an electronic copy to DOPS@LASA.co.uk. Please use ‘Track Changes’ when proposing any modifications to the relevant DOPS document.
We are keen to expand the LASA DOPS library with new documents on additional procedures, practical skill and species. If you would like to contribute a new DOPS document, download the blank template [download here], complete the relevant sections and email an electronic copy to DOPS@LASA.co.uk.
Amended and new DOPS will be assessed by the LASA DOPS Review Panel. If approved, new DOPS and amended DOPS will be uploaded to the website. New DOPS will carry the LASA logo, but can be jointly branded with the originator’s institution if requested.
LASA has taken every reasonable precaution to ensure the quality of the DOPS. Individuals who use them are responsible for ensuring that the recommendations contained within the DOPS conform with all legal and any in-house requirements as relevant.