Healing a Broken Clerkship Grading System

By: Justin Bullock, MD, MPH and Karen E. Hauer, MD, PhD
Submitted by: Dan Brown, Emory University

This article by a first-year resident and associate dean at University of California San Francisco highlights the problems in how many medical schools assess clerkship students. It’s a valuable read for any SP Educators who manage simulations for clerkships, arguing for pass/fail grading, more evaluation training for assessors, quality feedback, and an honest examination of bias in grading.

The authors describe in brief how clerkship performance is commonly assessed, pointing out flaws in the process, including: assessors extrapolating from limited observation, translating written comments into numerical scores, supervisors’ varying workloads, and other imperfections in the data. They then share student opinions pulled from AAMC data, further highlighting problem areas in clerkship assessment. Finally, they propose solutions to improve fairness and mastery-oriented learning.

SP Educators may have limited ability to make curricular changes, but understanding the overall challenges of clerkship grading and the arguments for making a change can help them advocate for the students.

Read the full article at The AAMC News & Insights page here.

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