Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Memo to Program Directors

Memo to Program Directors

In order to maintain consistency across all ABP certifying examinations, beginning in 2013 there will be several changes to scoring and reporting for the subspecialty initial certifying examinations. All candidates registered for a 2013 or 2014 subspecialty certifying examination will be informed of these changes. This link providing further information about the scoring changes has been sent to candidates registered for the spring 2013 certifying examinations. Below are some key points regarding the scoring changes.

Determining the Passing Score

The passing standard/score on the subspecialty certifying examinations will be set through a process called criterion-referencing. With criterion-referenced scoring, an absolute standard or specific level of performance is set. Pass/fail decisions are based solely upon whether this level is met. As a result, it is possible for everyone to pass the examination if all meet the standard. The reference group of recent American medical school graduates taking the examination for the first time will no longer be used to set the passing standard.

New Scoring Scale

Overall examination performance will now be reported using a standardized score scale ranging from 1 to 300, rather than the historic 0 to 800 scale. The passing score on this new scale will be 180 instead of the old passing score of 400. The scores on the new scale will be reported in one-point increments, making it easier to distinguish performance differences among candidates.

Old Scale
New Scale
0 - 800
1 - 300
 Passing Standard
10 - point
1 - point


Interpreting the New Scores

With the new scoring model, a single score no longer represents a performance that is a certain "distance" away from the performance of a particular group. For example, in the past a 400 meant that a candidate scored one standard deviation below the mean of the reference group (which was set to 500 with a standard deviation of 100). Scores now represent independent measures of performance and can be used only to compare individual performance with the 180 passing standard.

Changes to Program Director Reports

The reports you routinely receive, which provide past fellow performance on the subspecialty certifying examinations, will change to reflect the new scoring scale. More information will be provided when these reports are made available.

New Individual Score Reports

The new score report design will continue to provide information regarding overall test and subtest performance. As in the past, only scaled scores will be reported; the actual percentages and number of questions answered correctly will not be provided. More information regarding the score reports will be made available at the time scores are released.

Subspecialty In-Training Examination (SITE)

Fellows’ overall performance is reported on a 1 to 300 scale, the same as the initial certifying examination. A percent total correct score is also provided for descriptive purposes. Fellows’ score can be interpreted as a rough indicator for how they would perform on the initial certifying exam. The individual performance report lists every item reflected on the exam, along with information about how fellows responded to each item (correct or incorrect).  The program performance report provides the percentage of fellows who have correctly answered each item on the exam.

For further questions regarding the new scoring changes, please e-mail