• MAY 07, 2020

    CASE STUDY: The American Academy of Ophthalmology Quickly Pivots to Virtual Exams

    Kevin Fitzpatrick

    Overview

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) produces the Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAP), a 260-item multiple-choice test that is administered to ophthalmology residents in each year of training. It is designed to measure the ophthalmic knowledge of residents relative to their peers to facilitate the ongoing assessment of resident progress and program effectiveness.

    The OKAP exam is an important assessment that ensures residents are acquiring the necessary body of knowledge required to become a Board-Certified Ophthalmologist. Given the high stakes associated with this exam, it has traditionally been proctored and administered in commercial exam locations across the country.

    With a nation gripped by the pandemic, continuing to offer the in-person exam was no longer an option. The AAO needed a virtual alternative and it needed it quickly.

    Requirements

    The AAO was unwilling to accept any reduction in the rigor or integrity of the testing process and needed to quickly identify a platform that could meet a set of requirements that would:

    1. Authenticate and provide secure access to valid examinees
    2. Allow the exam to be taken from any location on any type of personal computer
    3. Manage 260 multiple choice questions
    4. Ensure a timed exam with automated break time
    5. Deploy security and content protection measures to maintain the integrity of the exam

    Solution

    The AAO chose Enforme to build, host and deploy the virtual OKAP exam solution using an existing assessment platform the AAO and Enforme had created. Working in close collaboration with the AAO’s Education leadership, the team was able to rework, test and deploy a highly customized exam platform, from concept to go-live, in 6 weeks. The exam solution ties directly into AAO’s Question Authoring System, a bank of vetted ophthalmology multiple-choice questions, to present OKAP test questions in random order. The responsive solution was optimized to be taken on multiple devices with a focus on robust user interface design.

    Outcome

    The OKAP exam is currently live, permitting ophthalmology residents from across the country to demonstrate their ophthalmic knowledge. Feedback from the residents taking the exam has been consistently positive.