The goal following successful completion of an educational curriculum should be a smooth transition on the ladder of achievement to the next level. For residents in ophthalmology who satisfactorily complete an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education–approved residency training program, the next hurdle is to achieve American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) certification. Although this is a voluntary activity, in 2006 more than 95% of the graduates from the 116 accredited training programs in ophthalmology in the United States participated in the board-certification process (data on file at the ABO office). O’Day and Li1 in this issue of the Archives report a new measure, the first-time failure (FTF) rate in the examinations of the ABO, as a possible outcome assessment for the educational effectiveness of ophthalmology residency training programs. First-time failure is defined as a candidate who fails the written qualifying examination (WQE) on the first attempt or passes the WQE on the first attempt but fails the oral examination on the first attempt.
Clarkson JG. First-Time Failure Rates of Candidates for American Board of Ophthalmology Certification. Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(4):562-563. doi:10.1001/archopht.126.4.562