News from the ABR

OLA Flexibility: Question Declines and Four-Week Availability

Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA) has many features that allow diplomates flexibility in how they participate. The question decline option and four-week question availability are unique features that allow for a more customized experience. Here are details about how these features work.

Declining A Question

Most diplomates have the option to decline up to 10 questions per year. The option to decline a question is only available when a diplomate has chosen to answer a question. The next available question is displayed after the diplomate clicks the “Answer Now” button on the question ready page. The diplomate can see the question, the answer options, and images or other media associated with the question. It’s at this point that the decline option becomes available. Choosing to decline a question uses a question opportunity (most diplomates receive 104), but the question is not scored, so declining does not impact OLA performance. This remains true as long as diplomates have enough remaining question opportunities to complete their annual progress requirement. Diplomates may choose to decline a question for any reason, but most report using the decline option for questions that are outside their normal scope of clinical work. To date, less than 3 percent of OLA questions have been declined, but it’s always nice to know the option is there in case it’s needed.

Four-Week Question Availability

Every week most diplomates are issued two OLA question opportunities, giving them 104 questions each year. The OLA annual progress requirement for most diplomates is to answer 52 questions per year. Each question opportunity is available for four weeks after it is issued. Therefore, diplomates can choose to answer questions as soon as they are available or wait and answer a month’s worth at one time. They should keep in mind, however, that after a question expires, they have lost that opportunity. For example, if a diplomate hasn’t answered OLA questions yet this year, then the combined four opportunities issued on January 6 and January 13 will have expired. This would not be a problem this early in the year; it just means that the diplomate has 100 remaining question opportunities in 2020. Toward the end of the year, however, diplomates who haven’t answered questions regularly should pay attention to how many opportunities they have left and when they expire.

Anyone with questions about OLA or anything else related to certification may contact an ABR Certification Manager at (520) 790-2900 or

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