Petition to Change Neonatal Board Recertification: Eliminating the Closed Book Exam


1) Please read the following petition and SIGN if in agreement. Please submit any COMMENTS which you feel may further support this petition.  Please include your full name and title. (To add a signature/comment simply scroll down past any current comments to add yours in the box that says “Post Your Signature/Comment Here”)

2) Please help maximize our mutual efforts by sending a link to this page to your colleagues throughout the United States so that they may better understand the issues and add their support.

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The Petition:

The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program includes requirements which add significant time and expense to board recertification. This complex system now requires that physicians complete a closed-book recertification examination every 10 years.

The undersigned believe:

1) The ABP MOC closed-book recertification examination provides an inadequate assessment of the practicing physician’s knowledge.  It does not assess the physician’s abilities to access and synthesize knowledge via literature consultation, and does not assess critical thinking skills.

2) There is no substantial evidence that a time-limited closed-book examination is an accurate way to identify a qualified versus an unqualified physician.

3) There is no substantial evidence that the requirement of a closed-book examination improves patient outcomes or improves physician performance.

4) Via either personal experience with MOC or the experience of our colleagues, we believe a closed-book recertification exam has questionable value and impedes the learning process by detracting from more worthwhile educational activities, such as Continuing Medical Education (CME).

5) We call on the ABP to modify the MOC requirements, eliminating the closed-book recertification examination, and institute a simple pathway consisting of required attendance at a periodic intense board recertification review course, or well-designed learning modules targeting specific areas of basic knowledge as well as current advances in knowledge.

Supported by the Florida Society of Neonatologists and other neonatologists throughout the United States seeking changes to the recertification process.

(To add a signature/comment simply scroll down past any current comments to add yours in the box that says “Post Your Signature/Comment Here”)

74 comments for “Petition to Change Neonatal Board Recertification: Eliminating the Closed Book Exam

  1. Ron Carzoli, MD
    May 31, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I enthusiastically support this petition. I took the “closed book” exam this past year, and while passing it, I found the entire process to be an extremely ineffective learning and assessment tool.

  2. Johny Tryzmel, MD
    June 1, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    I totally agree and support this petition. I recently took the ” close book ” exam ( passed it ! ), it was extremely stressful situation and experience, went to a very hostile environment which is those designated testing centers where they check us more than in the security airport thinking that we are going to cheat ( we are not in middle school anymore, come on ! we are professionals, we safe lives ! we reserve a little more respect ! ). Also I do not think that a ” close book ” exam can evaluate how good or bad a physician is, it only can show how good or bad “test taker ” a person is. It is not an efficient learning tool ( agree 100% with Ron ! ).
    In my opinion The ABP has the right idea in trying to figure out the best way to improve The MOC using tools as Part 2 activities like Neoreviews or learning modules, also the Part 4 with CQI activities are important in order to try to improve our practices outcomes, also it is important to keep a certain number of CME hours ( via conferences, review courses ) to keep our physicians up to date but the ” Close Book Exam ” is definitely an outdated, inefficient tool specially when we already passed a close book exam once we finished our fellowship.

  3. Neil M. Kantor, DO
    August 25, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    I agree and support this petition. This is an archaic method of testing professionals who are currently practicing in the field and who need more interactive testing rather than testing for rote memory skills.

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