Minutes 05/11/05

Minutes 05/11/05

University of Virginia School of Medicine
Principles of Medicine Committee

  1. Pass/Fail Grading Study:  Bob Bloodgood presented the interim data from the Pass/Fail Grading Study, which involves a comparison of the Class of 2006 (last class under A, B, C, D, F grading) and the Class of 2007 (first class under P/F grading).

    Interim Conclusions from the Study included:
    1. Academic performance data show no differences between the Class of 2006 (Graded) and the Class of 2007 (P/F)
      Attendance at lectures and small group activities was at least as good for the Class of 2007 (P/F) as for the Class of 2006 (Graded)
    2. Time usage was a mixed bag:
    3. The P/F class did more community service than the Graded class (and to a lesser extent more independent scholarly activities)
    4. In many other areas (voluntary clinical activities, exercise, leisure activities), time usage was similar for the two classes.
      Wellness data:
    5. In semester 1, P/F class exhibited consistently better “wellness” than the Graded class.  This difference continued into semester 2 for many, but not for all, of the questions.  The difference was diminished in Year 2 (semesters 3-4), when “wellness” declined.  For the Graded class over four semesters, it was clear that “wellness” was consistently maximal in Semester 2.
    Possible confounding issues in the Pass/Fail Grading Study
    • The data collection for the study (last administration of the survey to the class of 2007) needs to be completed (May 2005) and data on USMLE      Part I for the Class of 2007 needs to be collected (available Fall 2005).
    • We need to do a proper statistical analysis to determine which differences are significant.
    • We have to deal with the difference in the gender ratio of the two classes
    • We currently do not know how to factor in the impact of cumulative honors (granted to 20% of the class at the end of the first two years) on the effects of the switch to pass/fail grading.
    • There were minor curriculum differences between the two classes (such as requiring lab attendance in CTS/Physiology & Physiology/CTS for 2007 but not 2006)
    • There is some variation in sample size for various administrations of the surveys  (ranges from n=62 to n=108)
      We have to determine if the DuPuy Wellness survey be put into a composite score?
    A number of comments from faculty present (including Jerry Short, Dick Pearson and David Ryan) provided anecdotal data supporting the conclusion that P/F grading has reduced stress for the medical class during the first year.  Julie Turner disagreed with this conclusion based on her experience with the medical students during Medical Microbiology.

    The issue of choosing students for AOA (and whether the method should or would have to chance under P/F grading was discussed.

    A discussion was held as to why 2nd year is so much more stressful than 1st year, even for the P/F class, which saw a major reduction in stress during the first year.  Possible factors that may contribute to 2nd year being stressful include: 1) more academic material, 2) more difficult academic material, 3) the proximity of USMLE Part 1, 4) the proximity of Cumulative Honors.  The question was discussed as to whether Cumulative Honors should be retained as part of the P/F grading system?  There is some thought that Cumulative Honors negates some of the benefits of moving to a P/F system and may counteract some of the positive effects of P/F grading in reducing stress on medical students, especially in the 2nd year.  It was decided that the two classes that have experienced the P/F grading system (Class of 2007 and the Class of 2008) will be polled as to their feelings regarding the retention or elimination of Cumulative Honors.

  2. Medical Education Building :  Richard Pearson, Chair of the Medical Education Building Committee reported on the recommendations of that committee, which has completed its deliberations.  There is a $30 million budget for the project ($ 12.5 million of which has been provided by the Claude Moore Foundation).  The name of the building will be the Claude Moore Medical Education Building . The location of the building will be where the gardens are now located between MR5 and the Nursing School .  The assignment of space in the 6 floors of the new building to specific functions is shown in the graphic below.  Functions that will not be incorporated into the new medical education building include: 1) Gross Anatomy Teaching Labs, 2) the 2nd floor Jordan Teaching Labs serving Pathology, Cell and Tissue/Physiology, Physiology,CTS and Microbiology, and 3) Small group teaching spaces, which will be incorporated into the Health Sciences Library.  Some concerns were expressed about using library space for the small group teaching spaces.  These include: 1) Will there be partitions that will allow the size to be varied for different size groups, 2) will there be access to these teaching spaces 24/7?, 3) Will the new Director of the HSL (once hired) have other plans for that space?

    Medical Education Building

  3. The Principles of Medicine Committee will NOT meet during June and July unless there arises a specific need to do so.

Robert Bloodgood