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

The When and How of Scoring of Longitudinal Assessment for PM&R (LA-PM&R)

Scoring Elements


  • Year 1: 20 questions per quarter
  • Following: 15-18 questions per quarter
  • Get a question wrong? You’ll likely get a clone question; if you show you learned by getting the clone correct you’ll get ½ credit; both views of the question “averaged” into one question’s score

Time period

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

Year 5: Summative Decision

  • Look back at years 1-4; 16 total quarters
  • Final score: Meet/Don’t meet standard
  • Didn’t meet standard? Apply to take the re-entry exam (based on the blueprint and item difficulty level of the ABPMR Part I Examination); passing this exam will fulfill the assessment requirement

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 an adequate number of questions and clones to produce accurate and psychometrically reliable assessment results, we have determined we need at least four years of answers, 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 pro-rated basis. It’s prorated because during an assessment phase, we drop the lowest four quarters (out of 16 total) from scoring. So, diplomates who don’t have the full five years’ time before expiration will be expected to participate at the same level, which varies by year. A diplomate with two years left on a 10-year cycle might look like this:

So, if your expiration date is 2020, you meet the 75% participation threshold by meaningfully participating in LA-PM&R for at least 3 out of 4 quarters. If your expiration date is 2021, you meet the 75% participation threshold by by participating for at least 6 out of 8 quarters, and so on.

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 are answering at least 75 percent of questions, 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 have optional participation years starting in 2020: We encourage you to participate for the learning and SA-CME benefits, but it’s not a requirement.