Frequently Asked Questions
ABOS WLA Definition and Purpose
What is the ABOS WLA?
Beginning in 2019, the ABOS Web Based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA) will be offered as a new assessment pathway for ABOS Recertification. The WLA is a new option that Diplomates may choose, instead of a Computer-Based or Oral Recertification Examination to satisfy the Knowledge Assessment portion (Part III) of the ABOS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program.
Why has the ABOS developed this new pathway?
In 2017, the ABOS surveyed all Diplomates. The response clearly indicated interest in alternative forms of assessing knowledge and skill while being sensitive to an orthopaedic surgeon’s demanding schedule.
Is the ABOS WLA an assessment that is taken once?
The ABOS WLA window for participation will be open once a year. Depending on your performance and certification expiration year, you could be participating for 4-8 years.
Will the ABOS WLA replace the current assessment pathways?
No, The ABOS WLA is a new option that you may choose, instead of a Computer-Based or Oral Recertification Examination to satisfy the Knowledge Assessment portion (Part III) of the ABOS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program.
ABOS WLA Eligibility and Participation Information
Am I eligible to participate in the ABOS WLA?The ABOS WLA is only open to those Diplomates who have a current ABOS Board Certificate and who are within their 10-year cycle.
My ABOS Board Certification has expired. Can I participate in the ABOS WLA program in 2019?
No. The ABOS WLA is only open to those Diplomates who have a current ABOS Board Certificate and who are within their 10-year cycle.
I recertified in the past two years and my current Certificate does not expire until 2029 or 2030, can I start the ABOS WLA in 2019?
No, you must wait until your new 10-year MOC cycle begins.
Do I have to start in 2019?
Those Diplomates whose Certificates expire 2025 or sooner are required to begin the ABOS WLA in 2019 if they wish to utilize the ABOS WLA to satisfy Part III of their ABOS MOC.
If I want to participate in 2019, what is the first thing I must do?
Starting on January 2, 2019, you can log on to your ABOS WLA portal and view all 101 Knowledge Sources. Knowledge Sources are journal articles, practice guidelines, AUC’s, and other resources. You will have access to the entire list of Knowledge Sources. Diplomates will choose 15 Knowledge Sources that will be utilized to generate the 30 questions (2 per source) in your assessment.
I have applied for a Recertification Examination in 2019 but I am strongly considering the new ABOS WLA pathway. What do I have to do to begin that process?
There is nothing that you need to do yet. On January 2, 2019, you can log on to your ABOS WLA portal and view all 101 Knowledge Sources. On April 15, 2019, you can begin the ABOS WLA. You will then have the option of taking the previously chosen Recertification Examination as scheduled or canceling it and continuing with the ABOS WLA.
How do I pass?
A “Quality Year” under the ABOS WLA is defined as correctly answering at least 24 out of the 30 questions. Five Quality Years are needed to successfully complete the ABOS WLA Pathway. Alternatively, reaching a level of 120 questions answered correctly over six years of participation can satisfy the requirement for successful completion of the ABOS WLA program. Those whose certificate expire before 2026, need to have five cumulative quality years to pass.
What is a Quality Year?
A “Quality Year” under the ABOS WLA will be defined as correctly answering at least 24 out of the 30 questions. Five Quality Years are needed to successfully complete the ABOS WLA Pathway.
Why do some people have to do five straight Quality Years while others may opt to answer 120 questions correctly in six years?
The ABOS does not want to limit participation in the ABOS WLA program to only certain Diplomates. The ABOS Board wants all interested Diplomates to have the opportunity to participate. To do that, the five straight Quality Year option has to be implemented as Certificates are being extended. If a Diplomate ends up not achieving a Quality Year, they will still have two options to successfully complete one of the other MOC Knowledge Assessment options (Computer-Based or Oral Examination).
Will I be able to recertify my Orthopaedic Sports Medicine or Surgery of the Hand Subspecialty Certificate along with my Orthopaedic Board Certification Certificate with the ABOS WLA pathway?
Yes. While you will still need to take a Computer Examination when applying for the Initial Subspecialty Certificate, you will be able to recertify the General Certificate and the Subspecialty Certificate simultaneously with the ABOS WLA pathway. Interested Diplomates will need to choose a minimum of five Knowledge Sources from their Subspecialty area in each participating year.
What if I have both Subspecialty Certificates?
You will need to choose a minimum of five Knowledge Sources from each of the Subspecialty areas each year.
If I am participating in the ABOS WLA program and I am in the midst of getting my five Quality Years, will the website and any verification documentation be correctly updated for each year that I am "extended" so that I can achieve five Quality Years? I do not want it to look like my Certificate has lapsed.
The www.abos.org website is always accurate and will show in real-time that your certificate has been extended. We also share this same information with the American Board of Medical Specialties on a regular basis. Please contact Diplomate Support if there are any problems with your listing.
When do I start my Application and Case List?
For those Diplomates who have an ABOS Board Certificate that expires in 2022 or later, the ABOS recommends that the Case List and Application be submitted in year seven of the 10-year MOC cycle. However, Diplomates can still apply in years 8 or 9. For Diplomates who have ABOS Board Certificates that expire in 2021, the Case List and Application should be submitted by 2020. For Board Certificates that expire in 2020, the Case List and Application should be submitted in 2019. Those who expire in 2019 should have already submitted their Application and Case List.
What is the cost of the ABOS WLA?
The Application Fee, like all ABOS Recertification Pathways, is $1,075. The Assessment Fee for each year of participation will be due before your first question is delivered. This fee will be $260 per year $300 for those who hold a Subspecialty Certificate.
If I cannot meet the Passing Standard of the ABOS WLA, will I receive extra time to get ready for the Computer/Oral Recertification Examination?
Each Diplomate will have at least two opportunities to pass an alternative MOC Knowledge Assessment option: either an ABOS Computer Based Recertification Examination or an ABOS Oral Recertification Examination. Please click the link on the right menu that is associated with your expiration year to obtain your specific information.
What happens if I don’t achieve a Quality Year in 2019?
For those Diplomates who have an ABOS Board Certificate that expires in 2025 or earlier, you would no longer be eligible to participate in the ABOS WLA pathway and need to take an ABOS Computer-Based Recertification Examination or the ABOS Oral Recertification Examination. In that case, each Diplomate will have at least two opportunities to pass an ABOS Recertification Examination.
For those Diplomates who have an ABOS Board Certificate that expires in 2026 or after, you will be eligible to continue participation in the ABOS WLA in future years. Five Quality Years are needed to successfully complete the ABOS WLA Pathway. Alternatively, reaching a level of 120 questions answered correctly over six years of participation can satisfy the requirement for successful completion of the ABOS WLA program.
Please click the link on the right menu that is associated with your expiration year to obtain your specific information.
What if I begin the WLA and decide I do not want to continue?
You may then choose to participate in the ABOS Computer-Based Recertification Examination and the ABOS Oral Recertification Examination. The yearly ABOS WLA fee will not be reimbursed.
Do I still need to meet the CME/SAE, Case List, and Peer Review requirements?
Yes. The ABOS WLA is a knowledge assessment offered under Part III of the ABOS’s MOC program. The CME/SAE, Case List, Peer Review, and Professional Standing are still required.
Will CME credits be offered for participating in the ABOS WLA program?
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) is in the process of applying to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide Diplomates the ability to earn CME for participation in ABOS WLA. Details of that portion of the program will be available soon from the AAOS. The ABOS does not provide nor endorse any third-party CME provider.
ABOS WLA Knowledge Sources and Questions
What kind of materials make up the Knowledge Sources?
The ABOS worked with the AAOS and Specialty Societies to appoint a Knowledge source Group for each subspecialty. These groups of thought leaders selected important Knowledge Sources that cover all of the orthopaedic subspecialties. The Sources will be posted on January 2, 2019. These sources primarily include journal articles, practice guidelines, appropriate utilization criteria, and other similar options.
Who chooses the Knowledge Sources and who writes the questions for the Knowledge Sources?
The ABOS Knowledge Source Groups were nominated by the appropriate orthopaedic societies. The individuals in those groups will serve a three-year term. These groups are also assisting in writing the questions.
Will I be able to choose all 15 Knowledge Sources every year or will the ABOS require certain Knowledge Sources?
Diplomates will choose most, if not all, of the Sources they would like to study. There may be a topic that impacts all orthopaedic surgeons; in that case, the ABOS may choose to require certain Knowledge Sources for all participating Diplomates. For the most part, Diplomates will be free to choose. However, those with a Subspecialty Certificate will need to pick a minimum of five Sources from their Subspecialty area.
When can I see the Knowledge Sources?
All 101 Knowledge Sources will be available starting January 2, 2019, 12:00 am ET.
When do I have to choose the Knowledge Sources?
You can select your Knowledge Sources at any time between April 15, 2019, 12:00 am ET and May 20, 2019, 11:59pm ET. Please note that the assessment of 30 questions must also be answered by May 20, 2019, 11:59pm ET.
Do I have to answer all questions in one sitting?
No. You have a 5-week window to complete your 30 questions.
Will I know if I got the answers correct right away?
Yes. Once you submit each answer, you will know if you were correct.
How long do I have to answer each question?
You have 3 minutes to answer a question. There will be a time indicator on your question screen. It is intended for you to have read the Knowledge Sources before answering questions.
What happens if I don’t answer a question in 3 minutes?
The question will be considered incorrect.
Why do the questions have to be timed?
The ABOS does not want the questions to be shared. If questions are left open on a computer for an extended period, the integrity of the questions could be compromised. Our research shows that three minutes is enough time to read a question and determine a correct response for those who have read and comprehend the Knowledge Source.
What are the system requiremetns to access and participate in the ABOS WLA?
The ABOS WLA should be compatible with most common browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge. You will need a consistent internet connection. The recommended minimum screen resolution is 1366 pixels wide by 768 pixels high. Before attempting to answer one of the thirty questions, please confirm that you can successfully view the Sample Question.
What if I have a technical issue while answering a question?
It is the Diplomate’s responsibility to ensure proper internet capabilities and/or computer functions. The ABOS is not liable if a Diplomate’s internet is interrupted during question answering in the ABOS WLA interface. If a Diplomate fails to answer a question due to internet or computer failure, the question will be counted as incorrect.
Please contact ABOS WLA Technical Support if you believe the issue was caused outside of these circumstances.
If I have any additional questions that are not addressed in the FAQs, how can I contact the ABOS to obtain an answer?
M-F, 8:30am-4:30pm ET
Outside of these business hours, please leave a message and the staff will address the issue within business hours the next day.
M-F, 9am -5pm ET
Outside of these business hours, please leave a message and the staff will address the issue within business hours the next day.