Purpose: The mission of the University of Alabama School of Medicine includes the oversight of complete and timely professional development of all students seeking the MD degree. To facilitate the timely and appropriate academic progression of each medical student, a formal review policy and procedure will be employed to track and provide assistance to students in the School of Medicine. This policy and procedure will provide early identification of students that may encounter academic difficulty and enable the implementation of timely corrective measures.
Policy: Course and clerkship directors are responsible for monitoring medical student academic performance, including professional behavior. After every formative or summative evaluation, the course or clerkship director will submit a completed University of Alabama School of Medicine Student Progress Report Form to the Associate Dean for Students. This Report Form will be submitted any time that a course or clerkship director has concern for the academic and professional development of a medical student. In addition to completion of the Report Form, course and clerkship directors are encouraged to meet and discuss their concerns with the students directly.
Upon receipt of the School of Medicine Student Progress Report Form, the Associate Dean for Students will contact the medical student and schedule a confidential, discrete and individual assessment to identify the source of academic difficulty. The assessment and corrective measures will be conducted in a confidential manner.
Procedure: Formative and summative evaluations may include quizzes, examinations, tests, etc that are used for student self-assessment or toward points accumulated for a final grade. Academic performance or behaviors that cause concern for the course or clerkship director may include:
- A score on a test, examination or quiz below the established satisfactory level. While a score of 70% is the usual satisfactory level, the course or clerkship director will exercise discretion to determine if a higher level of performance should apply.
- A score within 5 points of a falling below the established satisfactory level.
- A significant drop in prior test performance, even if the current level of performance exceeds the minimum satisfactory level.
- Any behavior that elicits concern from the course or clerkship director.
After each course formative or summative evaluation, the course or clerkship director will be required to submit a completed University of Alabama School of Medicine Student Progress Report Form (see attached) to the Associate Dean for Students. Course and clerkship directors should also submit this form at any time concern is elicited about the academic and professional development of a medical student.
When a medical student has been identified by this reporting mechanism, the Associate Dean for Students will contact the course or clerkship director to determine the nature of the concern and establish an appropriate plan of assessment, if any. The Associate Dean for Students will inform the student that they are required to complete a confidential assessment within one week of the time of notification. A School of Medicine faculty member trained in this area will complete this assessment and notify the Associate Dean for Students when the assessment has been completed. This notification will indicate the studentís fulfillment of the assessment and not include any of the findings of the assessment except when pertinent to the health and safety of the School and/or the student. If the student fails to complete the assessment, they will be required to meet with the Associate Dean for Students within ten working days of the original notification.
Course directors and clerkship directors, in conjunction with the Associate Dean for Students, will maintain an open, yet confidential dialog in order to monitor closely the progress of professional development. At appropriate settings, information regarding a studentís past academic difficulty will be shared with specific course and/or clerkship directors to assist the directors in providing prospective specific academic assistance for the student. Some specific examples may include assignment to specific groups, assignment of tutors, guidance toward specific supplemental material, etc. Periodically, the Associate Dean for Students will share the cumulative data from the Report Forms in confidence with the course and clerkship directors. This policy and procedure will facilitate communication among teaching faculty at all stages of the medical curriculum and will help to ensure appropriate professional development in medical students throughout all four years of the medical curriculum.
This policy was adopted by the Executive Faculty of the University of Alabama School of Medicine and approved by the Dean on September 21, 1999.