Nature & Scope of the Radiology Examination

American College of Veterinary Radiology
Examination Policies & Procedures

Revised: 11/2018

General

Examination Format
The ACVR Examination in Diagnostic Imaging is a two-part examination composed of the Preliminary Examination and the Certifying Examination. A candidate must pass the Preliminary Examination according to the criteria set forth in this document in order to qualify to sit the Certifying Examination. A candidate who passes the Certifying Examination is eligible to become a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology. Diplomate status is ultimately conferred by majority vote of the ACVR Executive Council.

Honor Code
The ACVR requires all candidates to agree to and sign the ACVR Honor Code prior to participation in the Preliminary Examination and the Certifying Examination. Any violation of the Honor Code may result in nullification of a candidate's examination results.

Location
The examination is given at a time and location determined by ACVR. The date of the examination is published on the ACVR Calendar annually.  The Preliminary Exam will be administered at available regional testing centers.  To find a testing center near you visit the AMP website at: http://online.goamp.com/CandidateHome/displayTCList.aspx?pExamID=21722

Preliminary Examination

Content
The Preliminary Examination is a written examination that is composed of multiple-choice questions. All questions are based on content included in the Radiology Preliminary Examination Content Outline.  The Preliminary Examination Study Guide, published on the ACVR website under ACVR Preliminary Examination, is study guide reference to help guide residents in their preparation for the ACVR Preliminary examination. These materials will be published on the ACVR website no later than the deadline for candidate applications to sit the Preliminary Examination.

Images will be used for some questions in the examination and will include normal and abnormal cases. Sample ACVR Preliminary Examination Questions are published on the ACVR website under ACVR Preliminary Examination.  While emphasis is given to the dog, cat and horse (approximately 50%, 35%, 10% respectively), other species will be included where appropriate (5%).. The current literature relevant to examination sections and diagnostic imaging is a source of examination material (see Resource List for ACVR Preliminary Examination, included with Preliminary Study Guide). In addition, past literature pertinent to specific radiographic techniques, special procedures, radiobiology and alternate imaging are used for questions. While there is no stated specific time limit regarding the literature, particularly for Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound, out-dated, obsolete, or obscure material is avoided.

Scoring
Examination Cut Score and Scoring
The Radiology Preliminary Examination is a criterion-referenced examination. This simply means that examinees are measured against an absolute standard of minimum competency, and not based on the performance of others taking the examination. This minimum competency standard, also known as the “cut score”, is developed from the following steps.

  1. Items to be used on the examination are selected based on the content outline and examination specifications.
  2. The ACVR Examination Committee members assess the probability that a minimally qualified examinee will answer an item (test question) correctly. To do this, they consider the difficulty level, the complexity level, and the construction of the item. All items on the initial examination (“Exam A”) are evaluated for their difficulty level and are then given a rating based on an estimate of how many (e.g., 60%, 70%) minimally qualified examinees would get the given item correct. The individual ratings for each item are then averaged across all of the members of the Examination Committee and an overall cut score is determined (e.g., 65%, 70%). In other words, the examinee will have to get 65%, or 70% of the items correct to pass the examination
  3. After the examination is administered, the items are “scored” to determine if they are functioning properly. Various statistical indices are then calculated (e.g., p-values, reliability coefficients, standard deviation, standard error of measurement).
  4. The cut score determined in step 2 is implemented to determine how many examinees passed/failed the examination.
  5. The cut score for future examinations (Exams B, C, etc.) is then determined by a statistical procedure known as “equating”. Exams B and C will have certain items in common with exam A. These items are known as “equator items” and they help determine if there were any shifts in the item difficulty levels from exam A to B, or from exam A to C for example. If there are changes in the difficulty levels, adjustments in the cut score may be needed. This process helps ensure that all examinees meet the same standard of performance or competency level regardless of when they take the examination. It also helps ensure that all examinees have a fair and comparable opportunity to pass the examination if they are properly prepared.

Outcome
Candidates who pass the Preliminary Examination may apply to sit for the Certifying Examination.

Candidates who fail the Preliminary Examination may apply to retake the Preliminary Examination. Failing candidates will receive a letter from the Testing Service listing performance in the 6 categories of the Radiology Preliminary Examination Content Outline (Radiology/Fluoroscopy, Ultrasound, CT, MR, Nuclear Medicine, Professional Collaboration) as an aid in preparation for the next examination.

Certifying Examination

Content
The Certifying Examination is an on line examination that will comprise images or videos and short answer questions that include: list the imaging findings, list in order of priority the most likely differential diagnosis, and list the appropriate next steps.

Any animal commonly seen in veterinary practice may be used as the subject of an examination question but dogs, cats, and horses are most frequent. The examination is designed to test recognition of radiographic signs in general (similar in any species) or recognition of species-specific disease. Candidates should expect that the cases used for the thoracic, abdominal and musculoskeletal sections will generally consist of radiographs, but other modalities (such as CT, MRI, sonograms, or scintigrams) may be included or as part of a multi-modality examination.

Scoring
See the scoring rubric  (Add download when available)

Outcome
Examination Cut Score and Scoring
The Radiology Certifying Examination is also a criterion-referenced examination (see above). This simply means that examinees are measured against an absolute standard of minimum competency, and not based on the performance of others taking the examination. This minimum competency standard, also known as the “cut score”, is developed from the following steps.

  1. Items to be used on the examination are selected based on the content outline and examination specifications.
  2. Examination questions will be graded by at least 2 Examiners in a blinded manner using the scoring rubric. Additional examiners will be used to score questions in the event there is disparity with the initial scores.

Names of candidates who pass the Certifying Examination are referred to the ACVR Executive Council, upon which a majority vote of approval will confer Diplomate status upon successful candidates.

Failing candidates will receive a letter from the  Chair of the Examination Committee detailing specific areas of weakness and strengths to aid in their preparation for the next examination.

Examination Honor Code

The contents of the ACVR Preliminary and Certification Examinations are confidential. You are prohibited from divulging any information about the questions, images, or case material included in the ACVR Preliminary or Certifying Examination to anyone during or after the examination.

Your confidentiality is required in order to ensure each candidate an equal opportunity to pass the examination. If any candidate is thought to be in violation of the Honor Code, a detailed report with charges of the violation will be sent to the ACVR Executive Council for action. A candidate found to be in violation of the Honor Code by Executive Council will have their examination results nullified.

All candidates must read and sign the following statement prior to participating in the examination:

I have read and understand the ACVR Honor Code. I agree to keep the contents of the ACVR Examination confidential. I agree to report any inappropriate discussions or actions I observe to the Examination Committee. I will not provide assistance to, nor accept assistance from anyone during the examination.
Name:  ______________________________
Signature:  ___________________________
Date:  _________________