Continuous Certification Process Change

March 3, 2020

ABFAS is transforming its 10-year recertification examinations to a longitudinal assessment or continuous certification process. Instead of having to take time away from work to travel to a testing center, you would use your computer, tablet, or phone to answer a set number of questions each quarter. You can answer the questions anytime and from any place. After answering the question, you immediately receive the answer, an explanation for why that is the correct answer, educational resources and references for the question topic, and the ability to provide feedback to ABFAS about the question and answer. You’ll also be able to track your overall learning performance over time. ABFAS envisions having a mix of core podiatric questions that everyone would answer and the ability for you to choose practice-specific content. ABFAS will also be able to add questions addressing new information that ABFAS diplomates need to learn quickly (i.e., new surgical guidelines).

ABFAS’ desire to explore alternatives to the traditional recertification examination stems from recent trends in the recertification processes for medical boards associated with the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). ABFAS agrees that it’s time to change – what is the best approach to meet the needs of those already certified? The ABFAS Board of Directors appointed a task force that is conducting in-depth research and has met with the American Board of Anesthesiology and the American Board of Pediatrics, the pioneers of this new approach. The task force recommends that ABFAS change its recertification process to a continuous certification process. This change will result in a philosophical shift to support diplomates in keeping their knowledge, judgement, and skills up-to-date over the course of their career, rather than having a once every ten years’ interaction.

What are the concepts/principles behind this change?
  • Promote continuous lifelong learning
  • Improve the diplomates’ experience
  • Make the examination process more relevant to diplomates’ practices
  • Incorporate principles of adult learning theory
  • Enhanced validity by continuous assessment
  • Improved relevance by providing feedback opportunities
When would this happen? Our goal is to pilot the new process in 2021.

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