Assessment of Student Performance

Medical Student Handbook: Academic Standards and Objectives

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine requires performance consistent with the high standards expected of members of the profession of medicine. Progress throughout medical school is assessed with a variety of measures that define a student's performance in both cognitive (knowledge-based) and behavioral (personal and professional qualities, values, characteristics, attitudes and interpersonal skills) domains that are necessary to the development of a physician. This reflects the importance of both sets of attributes (knowledge and professionalism) to the practice of medicine.

The evaluation system is designed to identify strengths and deficiencies at an early stage, and to propose constructive remedial strategies when needed to assist the student in meeting the required standards. Unsatisfactory performance is identified through: (a) the failure in one or more blocks, clerkships or electives; (b) a pattern of marginal performance; or, (c) notations of evaluator concern of student performance notated in evaluations related to clinical performance or professionalism. A pattern of documented concerns about a student's performance may indicate an unsatisfactory performance when the record is viewed as a whole, even though passing grades may have been assigned. The category of evaluator concern permits the faculty to note deficiencies in student performance that are not severe enough to lead to a failing grade.

Satisfactory student performance requires satisfactory completion of all blocks, clerkships and electives, and other curriculum experiences. Assessment of student performance occurs continuously throughout the curriculum.

Students failing to demonstrate or adhere to academic standards, including professionalism and student responsibility, will be referred to the SPCC, which may recommend action up to and including dismissal from medical school. A student's performance may at any time be discussed by the Student Promotion and Conduct Committee (SPCC).

Grading Policy

The School of Medicine requires that students must earn a grade of Pass or better in all basic science blocks, clinical clerkships and electives and demonstrate the appropriate level of professionalism to progress and to graduate. Students may be awarded a grade of Honors, High Pass, Pass, Fail, or Incomplete. Grades are awarded by the faculty. The School of Medicine strives to maintain the highest academic standards for our students and faculty. Formative and summative assessment of knowledge, skills and behaviors as defined in the School of Medicine Institutional Objectives is necessary to demonstrate that students are meeting these academic standards. It is understood that a student may disagree with the final grade assigned to him/her. The Grade Appeal Policy outlines the procedure for the appeal of a block/clerkship/elective grade for any portion of the medical education curriculum.

Blocks, Clinical courses, clerkships and electives require demonstration of content knowledge, clinical skills, and behavioral components like professional behavior. These are tested through a combination of cognitive examinations and clinical skills assessments that occur periodically throughout the curriculum. Final determination of grades for an School of Medicine educational experience is determined by the Block, Clerkship or Elective Director.

During the fourth year, students often complete elective courses at other institutions. So that OME receives a student's final evaluations and grades for away rotations, students may forward the Clinical Elective Evaluation form available on-line to an elective supervisor to complete and return to OME at the end of the elective course.

Unsatisfactory Performance in Clinical Clerkships and Electives

A passing grade in an individual clinical clerkship or elective is defined as a grade of Honors (H), High Pass (HP), or Pass (P). Failure to achieve a passing grade in any clinical clerkship or elective constitutes unsatisfactory academic performance and requires action by the SPCC. The student must meet the objectives of each clerkship or elective. This will be accomplished through reexamination, a further course of study, or both. The criteria for reassessing mastery are established by the individual department with responsibility for the clerkship or elective. Satisfactory performance must be documented in the student's academic record. Details regarding clerkship exams can be found in the policy: Clerkship Exams.

Marginal Performance in Clinical Clerkships and Electives

Marginal academic performance in a clinical clerkship or elective is defined as recurring difficulty in cognitive or behavioral performance that does not constitute a failing grade.

Any student whose performance is identified as marginal in a clinical clerkship or elective must meet with the faculty coordinator in an effort to identify the basis for the marginal performance and to develop a written course of action to be taken by the student to avoid a recurrence of marginal performance in the future. This meeting must be documented and the remediation plan will be placed in the student's academic record. The student is responsible for setting up these meetings and submitting the remediation plan to ASA and OME.

Any student whose performance is determined to be marginal for a second course (basic science or clinical) must meet with the clerkship director as described above and must also seek assistance from the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs who may refer the matter to the SPCC. The student must develop a written action plan for improving academic performance. The plan must be approved by the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs and will become a permanent part of the student's file.

Evaluator Concern in Written Evaluations of Student Performance in Clinical Clerkships or Electives

A Performance Evaluation form will be completed at the conclusion of each clinical clerkship or elective and sent to the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs. Forms indicating evaluator concerns will require action.

The remedial action required for a student receiving an evaluator concern as part of the written evaluation will be determined by the nature and severity of the concern. The minimum required action is a discussion between the student and the clerkship director in an effort to identify the basis for the evaluator concern and to develop a course of action to be taken by the student to avoid a recurrence of such concerns in future courses. This meeting must be documented and the plan will be placed in the student's academic record. Any student who receives a second evaluator concern in a clerkship or elective must meet with the faculty coordinator as described above and must also meet with the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs who may refer the matter to the Student Promotion and Conduct Committee (SPCC). The student must develop a written plan for correcting or addressing the concerns. The plan must be approved by the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs and will be placed in the student's academic record. A record of the satisfactory completion of the plans will be placed in the student's academic record. The student is responsible for setting up these meetings.

Any student who receives a third evaluator concern in a course, block, clerkship or elective must meet with the SPCC. The SPCC may recommend action up to and including a recommendation for dismissal from the School of Medicine.

Administrative Action in Year 3 and Year 4 Clinical Clerkships and Electives

Actions by the SPCC as a result of a failing grade, an evaluation of marginal performance, and/or evaluator concern include any of the following, either individually or in combination:

  • Close monitoring of future academic performance;
  • Probation;
  • Repetition of one or more clerkships or electives;
  • Repetition of an academic;
  • A requirement that the student pass an NBME subject test; and/or,
  • A recommendation for dismissal or suspension from medical school.

NOTE: If the student chooses not to set up or attend the required meetings with teaching faculty, dismissal may result.