Meeting the Standard

Longitudinal Assessment Scoring

While the transition to longitudinal assessment means a greater emphasis on learning and improvement, the ABPMR still has a mission to the public — to ensure our certification stands for quality patient care and that we are periodically assessing the physicians who hold it. Longitudinal assessment has been shown to improve memory retention and boost learning, but it still retains a summative assessment component — in other words, knowledge standard.

Your Performance

Scoring Elements of LA-PM&R

Each Year's Questions

  • Quarter 1: 20 questions
  • Quarter 2: 15 new questions + any reattempts from Q1
  • Quarter 3: 15 new questions + any reattempts from Q2
  • Quarter 4: 10 article-based questions + any reattempts from Q3

Your performance in each quarter determines how many questions you see the following quarter. If you answer a question incorrectly, you’ll see the same question (“reattempt”) in the next quarter. In quarter 4, article-based questions give you the opportunity to read important studies in the field and answer relevant questions. You choose the articles you want to be assessed on according to your interests and practice relevance.

For example, say you answer 15 out of 20 questions correctly in quarter 1. In quarter 2, you’ll get 15 new questions plus 5 repeat questions—the 5 you answered incorrectly in quarter 1. All questions (new questions, reattempts, and clones) count the same in your performance.

Time period

  • Four years (16 quarters)
  • Lowest four quarters dropped from scoring (allows for time off)
  • Fifth year participation optional for continued learning, Category 1 CME, and SA-CME

Year 5: Summative Decision

  • Look back at years 1-4, or 16 total quarters
  • Lowest four quarters are dropped from assessment (either low-performing quarters or those you elected not to take—which allows for leaves of absence and time away)
  • Summative assessment: You meet/don’t meet performance standard
  • If you didn’t meet the standard, you can apply to take the PM&R Re-Entry Examination (based on the blueprint and difficulty level of the Part I Examination) in years 4 and 5 of your continuing certification cycle

Please note: We are currently in the process of determining the performance standard for LA-PM&R, which requires a few years of LA-PM&R data. Once the standard is set, this will be communicated to all participants in an assessment cycle, and you’ll be able to measure your performance against the standard in real time.

Keep in mind

  • You’ll be getting feedback along the way
  • The year 5 summative decision won’t be a surprise
  • If you’re on the borderline, we’ll be reaching out with information and resources for remediation before the 5-year mark

Participation Phase

Assessment Credit for Participation During Phase-In

In order to accumulate enough data to produce accurate and psychometrically reliable assessment results, the ABPMR needs at least four years (16 quarters) of performance data, with a fifth year for data analysis to make the final summative assessment. A five-year LA-PM&R assessment block looks like this:

During the phase-in to longitudinal assessment for all diplomates, the ABPMR is allowing those with less than five years until certificate expiration (certificate expiration dates between 2020 – 2023) to participate in LA-PM&R on a prorated basis. A diplomate with three years left on a 10-year cycle might look like this:

So, if your expiration date is 2022, you meet the participation threshold by meaningfully participating in LA-PM&R for at least 7 out of the 10 quarters LA-PM&R was offered (from 2020-2022). If your expiration date is 2023, you meet the participation threshold by meaningfully participating in at least 10 out of 14 quarters, and so on. See our “What About Me” interactive tool to see how it applies to you.

The ABPMR definition of meaningful participation is:

  • Answering all questions for that quarter
  • Truly reading and answering the questions
    • The system will flag any participant who is speeding through questions without time for reading, answering the same way for each question, or whose stats show a similar score to random selection.

If you are in a participation phase, as long as you meet the minimum number of quarters indicated, you will fulfill your assessment requirement. There is no performance standard for the participation phase.

If your certificate expires more than five years in the future, you’ll have optional participation years before starting your first assessment cycle. We encourage all diplomates to participate for learning and SA-CME benefits, but it’s not required until five years prior to your certificate expiration.