Minutes 05.05.11

Minutes 05.05.11

University of Virginia School of Medicine
Curriculum Committee
Minutes – 05.05.11

Pediatric Conference Room, 4:00 p.m.

Present (underlined) were: Gretchen Arnold, Robert Bloodgood, Megan Bray, Troy Buer, Chris Burns, Donna Chen, Eugene Corbett, Thomas Gampper, Wendy Golden, Donald Innes (Chair), John Jackson, Keith Littlewood, Veronica Michaelsen, Mohan Nadkarni, Linda Waggoner-Fountain, Bill WilsonMary Kate Worden, Sam Zhao, Thomas Jenkins, Long Vinh (alternate), Debra Reed (secretary)

  1. Developing an Improved Grading Policy for the Pre-clerkship Curriculum.

    Two primary grading issues were discussed -

    Setting a uniform grading policy across systems for the percentage of formative and summative exams was discussed.  The Committee agreed that approximately 60% summative score and 40% formative gives the proper emphasis to the various parts of the curriculum and ensures the students’ participation in required activities.  These formative scores should be shared with the students frequently; in a timely manner, and should help the students’ prepare for the summative exams. It was noted that the pacing of formative and summative evaluations prepares our students for the life long learning practices they will need in their careers.

    Much discussion centered on the difficulty of providing time for remediation for struggling/failing students at a point early enough to allow improvement before the student’s problems became overwhelming.
    The Committee discussed setting specific numbers for a grading scheme that would be in effect for all the systems, i.e. grades would be an summative average of all the system grades and would use 70% as the cut off number for a grade of “Pass”. Scores of 60-69% would be a cause for concern (in particular if a student scored in this range for more than once). Scores below 60% need either immediate remediation or remediation during the next school break.

    X-Credit might be able to help in tracking troubled student’s areas (threads) of weakness but tracking individual thread grades was felt to be counterproductive to complete integration of the curriculum.

    Immediate remediation of system failures was thought to be almost impossible because a student in academic trouble would have difficulty keeping up with the current system while preparing for a re-test in the failed system.  Remediation at the next school break might also be problematic if the failed system is 6-9 months removed from the nearest break.  This could result in students having as much as 9 months in between the failed system and the remediation.

    Remediation in the previous curriculum has been infrequent with only 1-2 students per year requiring remediation and it is likely this will be similar in the Next Generation Curriculum.  

    If a student consistent scores below 70% repeating the entire year may be the only appropriate remediation.

    Passing the USMLE Step 1 boards is a required component of the curriculum.  Currently students who do not pass on their first try are allowed to start their clerkship year but must pass on their second try or will need to repeat all or part of the preclerkship curriculum.

    Committee members asked if we could look at other schools with similar curriculums for guidance on these grading issues.


Donald Innes