ABR examinations: the why, what, and how

Radiology. 2013 Jul;268(1):219-27. doi: 10.1148/radiol.13130384.


The American Board of Radiology (ABR) has provided certification for diagnostic radiologists and other specialists and subspecialists for more than 75 years. The Board certification process is a tangible expression of the social contract between the profession and the public by which the profession enjoys the privilege of self-regulation and the public is assured that it can expect medical professionals to put patients' interests first, guarantees the competence of practitioners, and guards the public health. A primary tool used by the ABR in fulfilling this responsibility is the secure proctored examination. This article sets forth seven standards based on authoritative sources in the field of psychometrics (the science of mental measurements), and explains in each case how the ABR implements that standard. Readers are encouraged to understand that, despite the multiple opinions that may be held, these standards developed over decades by experts using the scientific method should be the central feature in any discussion or critique of examinations given for the privilege of professional practice and for safeguarding the public well-being.

MeSH terms

  • Certification / standards*
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Humans
  • Professional Practice
  • Radiology / education*
  • Radiology / standards*
  • Specialization
  • Specialty Boards*
  • United States