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Exam Security

The ABP is committed to reporting scores that accurately reflect the performance of candidates.  Pediatricians who are successful on an examination and meet other requirements obtain ABP certification, which is a valuable credential in the profession and required by certain employers. If candidates pass an examination using unethical methods, certification becomes meaningless as it no longer separates qualified candidates from the unqualified ones.  Patients and families rely on the ABP to only certify pediatricians who will uphold standards of excellence leading to high-quality health care for children.

Keeping examination content secure is a top priority of the ABP, as breaches compromise the integrity of the certification process.  Breaches of test security can take many different forms, ranging from the classic copying-from-your-neighbor to the less blatant recall and disclosure of questions after the exam.  Both are examples of unethical behavior, and both threaten the validity and reliability of secure exams.

The ABP takes numerous measures to ensure the security of their exams from various security threats.  These measures include, but are not limited to:

  •  ABP Honor Code - The ABP Honor Code clearly states that all exams are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any way.  In addition, candidates are not only bound to uphold fundamental moral and ethical principles themselves, but also to report any violation of these principles by others. When applying to take an ABP examination, candidates must agree to be legally bound by the Honor Code, otherwise the application cannot be submitted. At the computer testing center, all candidates must agree to be legally bound by the Honor Code, otherwise they will not be able to begin the examination.
  • Varying question presentation - For paper-and-pencil exams, multiple versions of exam booklets are distributed to help prevent cheating.  Questions on exams administered via computer are presented to candidates in random order, with the order varying each time the exam is activated at the computer testing center.
  • Changing exam questions - Questions are routinely changed so that exam content is unique.  New exam questions are constantly added to maintain exam security as well as keep content current.
  • Internal and external checks of exam data -  After all data are received for a particular exam, the ABP uses software to check for any irregularities that may warrant closer inspection.  The ABP also contracts with a well-known data forensics company that performs security checks on all exam data and reports any potential anomalies.
  • Exam day monitoring - Video monitoring of all candidates is used at exam administration sites, and proctors make and file reports of any suspicious activities observed.
  • Web patrolling - The Internet is regularly monitored for the disclosure of exam questions either through brain dump sites, individuals, or companies that expose real test content.     

Incidents that compromise exam security are taken very seriously and may result in the invalidation of exam scores, withholding of scores or certificates, required retake of exams, revoked certification, exclusion from future examinations, or the pursuit of legal action.

Reporting Security Concerns

Please help the ABP uphold standards of excellence in pediatrics by alerting us of any potential exam security breaches. To report suspected incidents of suspicious or unethical behavior please contact the ABP via one of the following methods:

Calling (919) 929-0461 ext. 777

Emailing testsecurity@abpeds.org

Sending a letter detailing the incident to:

The American Board of Pediatrics
Attn: Test Security
111 Silver Cedar Court
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

In order to assist the ABP in fully investigating all suspected incidents, please provide as much detail as possible in all reports (eg, date, examination name, test center).