Applying Practice Analysis to Develop a New Test Content Outline for the Pediatric Cardiology Certification Examination

Robert C. Brucia, Nathaniel W. Taggart, Eyal Sagiv, Utkarsh Kohli, Svjetlana Tisma-Dupanovic, Nicole J. Sutton, George M. McDaniel, Joseph W. Rossano, Andrew C. Dwyer, Audrey C. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The evolving breadth and complexity of the contemporary pediatric cardiology specialty requires regular, systematic analysis of the practice to ensure that training and certification requirements address the demands of real-world clinical experience. We report the process of the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) for conducting such a practice analysis and revising the test content outline (TCO) for the pediatric cardiology subspecialty certification exam. A panel of 15 pediatric cardiologists conducted seven 2-h virtual meetings, during which they identified 37 unique tasks that represent the work a pediatric cardiologist may reasonably expect to perform within the first 5 years after training. These tasks were grouped into nine performance domains, similar to the entrustable professional activities (EPA), previously endorsed by the ABP in collaboration with the pediatric cardiology education community, and which represent the critical activities of the profession. The panel then enumerated the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform each task. These deliberations resulted in two work products: a practice analysis document (PAD) and subspecialty board TCO based on testable knowledge, skills, and abilities. Survey assessments of the panel’s work were then distributed to pediatric cardiology fellowship program directors and to practicing pediatric cardiologists for their input, which largely aligned with the panel’s recommendations. Survey responses were considered in the final revisions of the PAD and TCO. This approach to practice analysis proved to be an efficient process for describing the work performed by today’s pediatric cardiologists and the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to competently perform that work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1057-1067
Number of pages11
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Certification
  • Medical education
  • Subspecialty boards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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