If you’re a pediatrician, you're probably pretty familiar with MOCA Peds by now. The Maintenance of Certification Assessment for Pediatrics is a new American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) quarterly online assessment program for MOC Part 3. The APB rolled out the MOCA Peds pilot in January 2017, MOCA Peds became the exam of choice for 5,000+ eligible participants in its first pilot year.
As a result of the success of the program, ABP recently announced that MOCA Peds will be the default MOC assessment option program and will be available for all qualifying diplomates for General Pediatrics starting in 2019.
What’s New for All ABP Board-Certified Pediatricians?
In response to physician feedback, the ABP has reduced the MOC cycle from 10 years to 5 years. The change applies to both the MOCA Peds program and traditional proctored exams.
Why Was MOCA-Peds Created?
MOCA-Peds was developed to provide a more meaningful, less burdensome alternative to the ABP’s high-stakes 10-year MOC exam that was in place for nearly 30 years. The new open-book online exam is comprised of 20 timed, multiple-choice questions delivered quarterly, totaling 80 questions per year for years 1–4 of the 5-year MOC cycle (i.e., a total of 320 questions per certification period).
Annual questions are based on 40 learning objectives drawn from the ABP Content Outline that reflect the breadth of knowledge required for practice from an inpatient focus, an outpatient focus, or a general pediatrics focus. The 40 learning objectives change annually.
The new online assessment tool is designed to optimize continuing physician education while also meeting an evaluation objective. Once you submit an answer to a question, you immediately find out whether you answered correctly or incorrectly, providing the feedback proven necessary for self-correction.
Who Is Affected By the MOCA-Peds 2019 Change?
MOCA-Peds will be available in 2019 for General Pediatrics, as well as the subspecialties of Child Abuse Pediatrics, Pediatric Gastroenterology, and Pediatric Infectious Disease. Each year the ABP will roll out the program to four additional subspecialties: Pediatric Pulmonology, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Neonatal Perinatal Medicine, and Pediatric Nephrology in 2020; Pediatric Hospital Medicine, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Pediatric Endocrinology, and Pediatric Rheumatology in 2021; and Adolescent Medicine, Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, and Pediatric Hematology-Oncology in 2022.
Physicians who prefer the traditional test may still take the proctored exam once every 5 years at a secure testing facility for an additional “seat fee.”
Is the ABP Alone in Making Changes to Exams?
The ABP is not alone in seeking MOC reform. The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has long advocated that its member boards provide physicians more convenient, supportive, relevant, and cost-effective ways to maintain certification. The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) is also investigating alternatives to the standard Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC) exam for their member boards.
What’s the Initial Feedback?
According to a 2017 ABMS “lessons learned” presentation on MOCA Peds, the majority of MOCA Peds pilot participants were satisfied with the program. It’s been a long time coming: Physicians have been seeking improvements in the MOC process for nearly 30 years. MOCA Peds 2019 is a step in the right direction!
What Is The MOCA Peds Passing Score?
Once you submit your answers, your performance will be graded by the ABP using a standardized score scale ranging from 1 to 300 with 180 as the threshold for a passing score.
“The difficulty level of each question is taken into consideration when scaled scores are calculated, which is important for assessments and exams in which each examinee may receive a different set of questions.” —ABP
This is meant to ensure that no one taking the exam has an advantage or disadvantage by receiving too many easy or difficult questions. You’ll also be able to drop your 4 lowest scores over the course of the 5 year MOC cycle, so if you have an off quarter, it’s not the end of the world! You can make up for it with your next set of questions.
Updated on 1/7/22.