American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

FAQ

ABOS WLA Definition and Purpose

In 2019, the ABOS launched its Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA). The ABOS WLA is an assessment option that Diplomates may choose instead of a Computer-Based or Oral Recertification Examination to satisfy the Knowledge Assessment portion (Part III) of the ABOS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program.

In 2017, the ABOS surveyed all Diplomates regarding the then current ABOS MOC Part III Assessment pathways and potential new pathways. The survey response clearly indicated Diplomate interest in the ABOS WLA.

The ABOS WLA window for participation is open once a year. Depending on a Diplomate’s performance and certification expiration year, participating will be between four and six years within the Diplomate’s 10-year MOC cycle. (More specific information can be found on the left-hand menu.)

No. The ABOS WLA is an option that Diplomates may choose, instead of a Computer-Based or Oral Recertification Examination in order to satisfy the Knowledge Assessment portion (Part III) of the ABOS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program.

ABOS WLA Eligibility and Participation Information

The ABOS WLA is only open to those Diplomates who have a current ABOS Board Certificate and who are within their 10-year cycle, i.e., those who have not completed their recertification in years 8 or 9.

No. The ABOS WLA is only open to those Diplomates who have a current ABOS Board Certificate and who are within their 10-year cycle. If a Diplomate’s ABOS Board Certification has expired, that Diplomate is required to go through the ABOS Re-entry Process.

No, Diplomates must wait until their new 10-year MOC cycle begins.

The ABOS highly recommends Diplomates begin the ABOS WLA in the first year in which they are eligible. For specific information based on a Diplomate’s certificate end date, click on the left-hand menu.

Diplomates can log on to their ABOS portal and then access their ABOS WLA portal. Here Diplomates can view all Knowledge Sources. Knowledge Sources are journal articles, practice guidelines, AUC’s, and other resources. Diplomates will have access to the entire list of Knowledge Sources. Diplomates will choose 14 Knowledge Sources, while one Knowledge Source which has already been chosen by the ABOS will be the 15th Knowledge Source. The 15 Knowledge Sources will be utilized to generate the 30 questions (2 per source) in the assessment.

There is nothing that can be done yet. Diplomates can log on to their ABOS WLA portal and view all Knowledge Sources. On April 1, 2020, they can begin the administration of ABOS WLA questions, which must be completed by June 1, 2020. Diplomates will then have the option of taking the previously chosen Recertification Examination as scheduled or canceling it and continuing with the ABOS WLA.

A “Quality Year” under the ABOS WLA is defined as correctly answering at least 24 out of the 30 questions. Five Quality Years are needed to successfully complete the ABOS WLA Pathway. Alternatively, reaching a level of 120 questions answered correctly over six years of participation can satisfy the requirement for successful completion of the ABOS WLA program. Those whose certificate expire before 2026, are required to achieve five consecutive quality years, unless the Diplomate answers all 120 questions correct over the first four years.

A “Quality Year” under the ABOS WLA is defined as correctly answering at least 24 out of the 30 questions.

The ABOS does not want to limit participation in the ABOS WLA program to only certain Diplomates. The ABOS Board wants all interested Diplomates to have the opportunity to participate. To do that, Diplomates with a Certificate which ends in 2019-2025 are required to earn five consecutive Quality Years  as their Certificates will be temporarily extended. If a Diplomate whose certificate expires 2019-2025 does not achieve five straight Quality Years, he or she will be excluded from participating in the ABOS WLA in the subsequent year, but still have two opportunities to successfully complete one of the other MOC Knowledge Assessment options (Computer-Based or Oral Examination).

Yes. While a Diplomate will still need to take a Computer-Based Examination when applying for the Initial Subspecialty Certificate, Diplomates are able to recertify the General Certificate and the Subspecialty Certificate simultaneously with the ABOS WLA pathway. Interested Diplomates will need to choose a minimum of five Knowledge Sources from their Subspecialty area in each participating year.

Diplomates will need to choose a minimum of five Knowledge Sources from each of the Subspecialty areas each year.

The www.abos.org website is updated when needed to show when a Diplomate’s Certificate has been extended. The ABOS also shares this information with the American Board of Medical Specialties on a regular basis. Please contact the ABOS if there are any problems with the listing.

For Board Certificates that expire in 2020, the Case List and Application should be submitted by December 16, 2019. For Diplomates who have ABOS Board Certificates that expire in 2021, the Case List and Application should be submitted by the December 2020 deadline. For those Diplomates who have an ABOS Board Certificate that expires in 2022 or later, the ABOS recommends that the Case List and Application be submitted in year seven of the 10-year MOC cycle. However, Diplomates can still apply in years eight or nine.

The Assessment Fee for each year of participation is due before a Diplomate’s first ABOS WLA question is delivered. This fee is $260 per year and $300 for those who hold a Subspecialty Certificate. All Diplomates, regardless of their Assessment Pathway, are required to submit a Recertification Application Fee of $1,075.

Each Diplomate will have at least two opportunities to pass an alternative MOC Knowledge Assessment option: either an ABOS Computer-Based Recertification Examination or an ABOS Oral Recertification Examination. Please go here where Diplomates can view the scenario specific to their certification end date.

For those Diplomates who have an ABOS Board Certificate which expires in 2025 or earlier, if they participated in 2019, they must have earned a Quality Year. If they did not participate, they can participate in 2020

For those Diplomates who have an ABOS Board Certificate which expires in 2026-2028, Diplomates may participate in 2020 as they work to achieve the passing standard. Five Quality Years are needed to successfully complete the ABOS WLA Pathway. Alternatively, reaching a level of 120 questions answered correctly over six years of participation can satisfy the requirement for successful completion of the ABOS WLA program.

Diplomates should go here to view the scenario specific to their certification end date.

The Board has decided to allow these Diplomates to participate in 2020.

Even after beginning the ABOS WLA, Diplomates may choose to participate in the ABOS Computer-Based Recertification Examination and the ABOS Oral Recertification Examination.

Yes. The ABOS WLA is a knowledge assessment offered under Part III of the ABOS’s MOC program. The CME/SAE, Case List, Peer Review, and Professional Standing are still required.

The ABOS does not grant CME. However, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) provides CME for participation in ABOS WLA. The ABOS does not provide nor endorse any third-party CME provider.

ABOS WLA Knowledge Sources and Questions

The ABOS worked with the AAOS and Specialty Societies to appoint a Knowledge Source Group for each subspecialty. These groups of thought leaders selected important Knowledge Sources that cover all the orthopaedic subspecialties. These sources primarily include journal articles, practice guidelines, appropriate utilization criteria, and other similar options.

The ABOS Knowledge Source Groups were nominated by the appropriate orthopaedic societies. The individuals in those groups will serve a three-year term. These groups are also assisting in writing the questions.

Diplomates will choose most, if not all, of the Sources they would like to study. There may be a topic that impacts all orthopaedic surgeons; in that case, the ABOS may choose to require certain Knowledge Sources for all participating Diplomates. For the most part, Diplomates will be free to choose their own Knowledge Sources. However, those with a Subspecialty Certificate will need to pick a minimum of five Sources from their Subspecialty area.

All Knowledge Sources are available now by logging into your ABOS WLA portal.

Diplomates can select your Knowledge Sources at any time between April 13, 2020, 9:00 am ET and May 18, 2020, 5:00 pm ET. Please note that the assessment of 30 questions must also be answered by May 18, 2020, 5:00pm ET.

No. Diplomates have a two-month window to complete their 30 questions.

Yes. Once Diplomates submit each answer, they will know if they were correct.

Diplomates have three minutes to answer a question. There will be a time indicator on your question screen. It is intended for Diplomates to have read the Knowledge Sources before answering questions.

The question will be considered incorrect.

Even though the ABOS WLA is an open-book assessment, in order to maintain a level of item integrity, a time-limit is placed on the viewing of each question. Research shows that three minutes is enough time to read an ABOS WLA question and determine a correct response for those who have read and comprehended the Knowledge Source.

The ABOS WLA should be compatible with most common browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge. (Links to certain Knowledge Sources work more consistently with Google Chrome.) Diplomates will need a consistent internet connection. The recommended minimum screen resolution is 1366 pixels wide by 768 pixels high. Before attempting to answer one of the 30 questions, Diplomates should confirm that they can successfully answer any of the Sample Questions which are accessible on the ABOS WLA Dashboard.

It is the Diplomate’s responsibility to ensure proper internet capabilities and/or computer functions. The ABOS is not liable if a Diplomate’s internet is interrupted during question answering in the ABOS WLA interface. If a Diplomate fails to answer a question due to internet or computer failure, the question will be counted as incorrect. Please note that if a Diplomate’s connection is lost while answering a question, they are still able to access and answer that question within 3 minutes. Quickly try to re-establish the internet connection and refresh the page.

Please contact ABOS WLA Technical Support for any issues caused outside of these circumstances.

Additional Support

Diplomate Support: 
M-F, 8:30 am-4:30p m ET
919-929-7103
Outside of these business hours, please leave a message and the staff will address the issue within business hours the next day.

Technical Support:
M-F, 10 am -6 pm ET
919-822-8028
Outside of these business hours, please leave a message and the staff will address the issue within business hours the next day.

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