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Update on Continuous Assessment

Continuous AssessmentABO’s staff and Board of Directors have been working over the past few months to finalize details of the new continuous assessment program. Continuous assessment is a new measurement and learning tool that replaces the traditional 10-year recertification exam. Diplomates will no longer be required to pay a costly exam fee or travel to a high-stakes testing center to recertify every 10 years. Instead, Diplomates will complete smaller, 20-30 question, learning-focused assessments several times a year in a more relaxed, lower-stakes testing environment. The assessments may be completed at home or in the office, on a personal computer, mobile device or tablet, whenever it is most convenient.

Each assessment will focus on specific topic areas and Diplomates will receive immediate feedback after each question to facilitate learning and address any gaps in knowledge. Assessments will not have to be completed in one sitting and outside references may be used within the time allotted to answer each question.

ABO’s goal in moving to a continuous assessment model is to make board certification and maintenance of certification a more meaningful and useful tool for Diplomates to continually improve patient care through lifelong learning and assessment. To do this, ABO is committed to providing a relevant and flexible path for measuring knowledge, identifying gaps, and directing learning.

Over the past year, ABO’s staff and Board of Directors have been closely monitoring how ABMS boards (such a Pediatrics, Ophthalmology, Anesthesiology, and Internal Medicine) are incorporating continuous assessment into their certification programs, while researching ideas for developing our own program.  Late last year, ABO began gathering Diplomate input.  A general survey conducted in December 2017 showed overwhelming support from the 880 Diplomates who responded.  An in-person focus group, held in March 2018 at SECO, helped us hone in on details of the continuous assessment program structure that would best meet the needs of our Diplomates.

With solid Diplomate feedback and an overall positive attitude from both the survey and the focus group, ABO is now in the final stages of program development. We’re excited to officially announce the program at Optometry’s Meeting in June and will host a webinar this fall to address the rollout of the program for all Diplomates.