Board Sets Standard for 2022 Quarterly Questions Activity

A standard setting panel of the American Board of Ophthalmology has determined that participants in the Quarterly Questions® program will need to achieve a score of 65% or better to pass the 2022 activity.

Quarterly Questions is an online activity designed for board-certified ophthalmologists to assess clinically relevant practice knowledge and encourage continual article-based learning. The program uses a longitudinal assessment model where a pass/fail decision is made on diplomate performance over time. The program’s flexibility allows diplomates to engage with questions at their convenience.

Quarterly Questions features a performance standard, which means that just completing the questions is not sufficient to earn Continuing Certification credit. Each year, a passing standard (cut score) is set for the latest questions. For example, in 2021 the passing standard was 67.5%, which meant answering 67.5% of the knowledge-based questions correctly was required. The reason a passing standard may be slightly different from year to year is that the difficulty of the questions may change. Although not often known to the examinees, setting different performance standards to account for differences in difficulty (in order to keep the performance standard constant over time) is used for almost all examinations. To earn a “pass” for 2022, an individual must answer at least 65% of the 40 knowledge-based questions correctly and also answer 10 article-based questions, which do not factor into diplomates' scores.

Knowledge-based and article-based questions are both part of Quarterly Questions because they address different competencies: the knowledge-based questions are focused on clinical practice knowledge that a diplomate should know without the aid of resources, while the article-based questions serve to determine whether a diplomate has correctly understood a journal article. Together, these questions allow diplomates to make a real-time self-assessment of their strengths and weaknesses while simultaneously learning new content.

Diplomates are encouraged to engage frequently with Quarterly Questions throughout their 10-year cycle. Research shows that more frequent engagement in assessment questions and review of performance on those questions leads to better long-term retention. All aspects of Quarterly Questions--knowledge questions, peer-reviewed article questions, and the ability to engage on a frequent basis--were designed to support long-term retention and provide a positive diplomate experience.