May 04, 2018

Anesthesiology Publishes ABA Research on BASIC Exam Effect on Residents’ Knowledge Acquisition

Raleigh, N.C. (May 4, 2018) – A study published in the April issue of Anesthesiology provides evidence that the American Board of Anesthesiology’s (ABA) new staged examination certification process encourages more impactful studying and learning during anesthesiology training. The staged exam system includes two written exams – the BASIC and ADVANCED Examinations – and the APPLIED Exam, which now includes both the Objective Structured Clinical Examination and the Standardized Oral Examination.

The study, titled “Effect of the BASIC Examination on Knowledge Acquisition during Anesthesiology Residency,” tested the hypothesis that the launch of the BASIC Examination was associated with accelerated knowledge acquisition during residency training. The BASIC Examination, the first exam in the staged exams series, is administered to residents at the end of their first year of clinical anesthesia training (CA-1).

“We developed the staged exams to encourage sustained studying throughout residency and to complement the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s (ACGME) move toward competency-based training and promotion,” said Deborah J. Culley, M.D., secretary of the Board. “This research demonstrates that the staged exams are generating the desired results as cohorts in the new system are achieving better results than cohorts in the traditional system. Additionally, the BASIC Exam provides residency program directors with a robust tool to gauge their residents’ basic clinical knowledge early enough in their training to provide time for curricula adjustments and intervention for poor performers.”

The study’s population included 6,488 residents from 141 residency training programs who started their first year of clinical anesthesiology training between 2011 and 2014 at an ACGME-accredited program. The research compared the four cohorts’ performance on the In-Training Examination (ITE) before and after the introduction of the new staged examination system. The annual ITE provides a measure of how residents’ knowledge changes throughout their training.

The research found that, compared with previous residents participating in the old exam system, the first group of residents in the new staged exam system showed a greater improvement in knowledge from their first to second years of training. In fact, residents in the new exam system achieved ITE performance in their second year of training similar to that of third-year residents who participated in the old system. There was also evidence that even those in their first year of training had increased knowledge if they participated in the new system.

“This research is part of our continuing efforts to evaluate and improve our examination system,” said David O. Warner, M.D., Board director and one of the study’s co-authors. “We are dedicated to ensuring that the changes we’re making help physicians elevate their expertise and positively impact patient care.”

The study was authored by Yan Zhou, Ph.D.; Huaping Sun, Ph.D.; Cynthia A. Lien, M.D.; Mark T. Keegan, M.B., B.Ch.; Ting Wang, Ph.D.; Ann E. Harman, Ph.D.; and David O. Warner, M.D.

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Michelle Taylor
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About the American Board of Anesthesiology®
Our mission is to advance the highest standards of the practice of anesthesiology. As the certifying body for anesthesiologists since 1938, we partner with physicians to elevate practice standards and foster exceptional patient care. We administer primary and subspecialty certification exams as well as the Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology™ (MOCA®) program, which is designed to promote lifelong learning, a commitment to quality clinical outcomes and patient safety. Based in Raleigh, N.C., we are a nonprofit organization and a Member Board of the American Board of Medical Subspecialties (ABMS).