The ABMS MOC Part III Examination: Value, Concerns, and Alternative Formats

Richard E. Hawkins, Mira Bjelotomich Irons, Catherine M. Welcher, Mellie Villahermosa Pouwels, Eric S. Holmboe, Earl J. Reisdorff, Joshua M. Cohen, Susan Dentzer, David G. Nichols, Cynthia A. Lien, Thomas D. Horn, R. Barrett Noone, Rebecca S. Lipner, Kevin W. Eva, John J. Norcini, Lois Margaret Nora, Jeffrey P. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article describes the presentations and discussions at a conference co-convened by the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association (AMA) and by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The conference focused on the ABMS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part III Examination. This article, reflecting the conference agenda, covers the value of and evidence supporting the examination, as well as concerns about the cost of the examination, and - given the current format - its relevance. In addition, the article outlines alternative formats for the examination that four ABMS member boards are currently developing or implementing. Lastly, the article presents contrasting views on the approach to professional self-regulation. One view operationalizes MOC as a high-stakes, pass-fail process while the other perspective holds MOC as an organized approach to support continuing professional development and improvement. The authors hope to begin a conversation among the AMA, the ABMS, and other professional stakeholders about how knowledge assessment in MOC might align with the MOC program's educational and quality improvement elements and best meet the future needs of both the public and the physician community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1509-1515
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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