An Article-Based Format for Medical Specialty and Subspecialty Maintenance of Certification

Larry R. Faulkner, Dorthea Juul, Christopher R. Thomas, Joan M. Anzia, Steven L. Lewis, Nina F. Schor, Linjun Shen, Dan Cowan, Patricia Vondrak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction:This article describes an article-based alternative for maintenance of certification that the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology developed and began pilot testing in 2019. The rationale for and components of the pilot program are presented along with data on participant performance and feedback from the first year of implementation in three primary specialties (neurology, child neurology, and psychiatry) and one subspecialty (child and adolescent psychiatry).Methods:Evaluation of the pilot program was guided by a widely used validity framework. Data were collected that addressed the five categories of validity evidence: Content, response process, internal structure, relation to other variables, and consequences.Results:Enrollment ranged from 66.7% for psychiatrists to 75.3% for child neurologists. For the 2019 cohort, the pass rates ranged from 92.6% for child and adolescent psychiatry to 98.7% for neurology, and very small numbers of diplomates failed or did not complete the process. For psychiatrists, there was a modest, but significant, relationship between performance on previous and subsequent maintenance of certification examinations. Ninety percent or more agreed that: The articles were easy to access and helpful to their practices; the mini-tests were a fair assessment of their understanding of the articles; and their test-taking experience was satisfactory.Discussion:Most eligible diplomates participated in the article-based pilot project, and they strongly preferred this format to the traditional multiple-choice examinations. Most important, the pilot was perceived to be a meaningful and relevant learning activity that had a positive effect on patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • assessment
  • continuing professional development
  • maintenance of certification
  • recertification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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