Assessment Policies and Procedures

///Assessment Policies and Procedures
Assessment Policies and Procedures 2018-04-09T17:04:51+00:00

Assessment Policies and Procedures in the New Curriculum

Approved by CCIA on 04-04-2018

  • Expectations of Students in All Courses Types of Courses in Phase 1
  • Graded Assessment in Phase 1 Block Courses
  • Doctoring and Clinical Skills Synthesis
  • Medical Colloquia

Expectations of students in all courses:

  • Students must participate in required activities, such as attendance, participation, and completion of assignments, with appropriate engagement to receive a passing grade.
  • Students are expected to attend all mandatory activities in their entirety.
  • Unexcused absences result in a lower Professional Engagement portion of the grade (This portion is non-compensatory, meaning a student could fail a course based solely on lack of professional engagement)
  • Students are expected to satisfactorily complete preparatory assignments and follow-up assignments by their due dates.
  • Not meeting the aforementioned expectations may impact students’ ability to progress through the UICOM undergraduate medicine program. Course Directors will meet with students to address these areas of concern.

Types of courses in Phase 1 (Pre-clerkship): Block Courses and Longitudinal Courses

Phase 1 comprises seven Block courses and three longitudinal courses.

Each of the seven Block courses is 5-10 weeks in duration. The first two Block courses provide a broad overview of medical science topics. Blocks starting with Block 3 have a primary focus on a specific set of related organ systems.

Three longitudinal courses run the entire length of Phase 1:

  • Doctoring and Clinical Skills (DoCS) focuses on work with patients in clinical settings as well as in simulation practice settings.
  • Synthesis meets for a week at the end of each Block course and then for six weeks at the end of Phase 1, integrating concepts immediately before the Step 1 exam.
  • Medical Colloquia meets several times during each Block course throughout Phase 1 and engages our community in powerful dialogue about key issues in medicine.

See Appendix 1, Credit Hours Per Course

Graded Assessment in Phase 1

The College of Medicine provides students with its clear expectations with regard to meeting professional standards, preparing for group active learning sessions, using feedback to develop learning plans and expectations with regard to contributing to the learning environment and having a positive impact on other students’ learning. The College’s expectations are communicated in students’ orientation to medical school, orientation to clerkships, and on its website.

All courses in Phase 1 result in a transcript record of either Pass or Fail. Students have access to detailed information about their performance on quizzes, final exams, OSCEs, and other assessment measures with an eye to identifying and understanding which areas to focus on for further development, and which study or practice strategies may be most useful.

See Appendix 2, Progressing Through the Curriculum

Graded assessment in Block courses

Block courses provide foundational medical knowledge via case-based learning in a classroom or lab setting, or via independent learning. Block grades comprise three weighted elements:

  • Professional engagement, 15%
  • Weekly assessments, 25%
  • Final exam, 60%

Professional Engagement

Professional Engagement represents 15% of the total Block grade and is primarily based on attendance. It is non-compensatory, meaning that this element must be passed to receive a course grade of Pass. Students’ unexcused absences negatively impact the Professional Engagement element (one unexcused absence represents one point of 15 Professional Engagement points). If students drop below 67%, they receive a failing grade for the Block course.

Course directors have discretion in reducing students’ Professional Engagement score based on narrative feedback from instructors or lapses in professionalism that are recorded as professional development feedback concerns or adverse incidents.

Weekly Assessment

The Weekly Assessment represents 25% of the total Block grade and is based on assessments during a given week. Weekly quizzes are  unproctored and comprise roughly 20 items. Block course directors expect students to be able to answer two-thirds of weekly quiz questions correctly; each weekly quiz has the same uniform minimum pass level of 67% in all Block courses. Weekly assessments may include IRAT and TRAT assessment items from Team-Based Learning sessions.

Final Exam

The Final Exam represents 60% of the total Block grade and is based on a proctored examination with roughly 100 NBME-format items. The  minimum pass level varies based on the faculty-rated difficulty level of the items in each exam. Students with Block final exam scores that are failing or close to failing are referred to academic support, apprised that these scores place them at risk for lack of readiness for Step 1 and for clerkships, and are expected to develop a learning plan in collaboration with Strategic Academic Support.

See Appendix 3, Remediation Scenarios

See Appendix 4, Block Course Grading Scenarios

Graded assessment in longitudinal course: Doctoring and Clinical Skills (DoCS)

Successful progress is required in conducting patient interviews including patient rapport; history-taking and physical examination; demonstrating medical knowledge and clinical reasoning; and developing treatment plans. At the end of each 16-week term, students receive a Pass / Fail grade for this longitudinal course.

Longitudinal courses like DoCS provide grades for each 16-week term. The course grade element weights vary from term to term throughout the longitudinal course, and students are provided with the grading table in advance of each term.

Related Documents

See Appendix 5, “Doctoring and Clinical Skills Grading”.

Graded assessment in longitudinal course: Synthesis

Synthesis Grade: At the end of each 16-week term, students receive a Pass/Fail grade for this longitudinal course. Successful completion of required activities for Synthesis Weeks and Synthesis Block will result in a passing grade for this longitudinal course.

Examples of required activities during Synthesis weeks and Synthesis Block

  • Simulated and paper clinical cases that develop over time Professional development activities
  • Post-Block analysis of exam performance Creation of individualized learning plans
  • Formative NBME Exam for assessing Step 1 readiness
  • The course grade element weights vary from term to term, and students are provided with the grading table in advance.

Graded assessment in longitudinal course: Medical Colloquia

Students are required to prepare for, participate in, and submit periodic reports of their participation, learning goals achieved, and future learning plans regarding the topics addressed.

Students must complete the required number of Medical Colloquia assignments with appropriate engagement to receive a passing grade. At the end of each 16-week term, students receive a Pass/Fail grade for this longitudinal course.

Appendices:

Title Timing/Duration Credit Hours (74 total) Credit Hours ( % of Total)
Block Courses 39 52.7%
1.     Body Systems & Homeostasis 1 1A; 7 weeks 5 6.7%
2.     Pathogenesis 1A; 8 weeks 6 8.1%
3.     Skin, Muscle & Movement 1B; 5 weeks 4 5.4%
4.     Circulation & Respiration 1B; 9 weeks 7 9.5%
5.     Digestion & Homeostasis 2 1C; 7 weeks 5 6.7%
6.     Brain & Behavior 1D; 10 weeks 8 10.8%
7.     Regulation & Reproduction 1D; 5 weeks 4 5.4%
Longitudinal Courses 35 47.3%
Doctoring and Clinical Skills Weekly throughout 1A – 1D, and as component of 1E 19 25.7%
Synthesis 2 x 1 week in 1A and 1B; 1 x 1 week in 1C and 1D; 6+ weeks in 1E 12 16.2%
Medical Colloquia Selective offerings on specified weeks in each of 1A, 1B, 1D, 1E 4 5.4%
TOTALS 74 100%

 

CREDIT HOURS BY TERM

 

Phase

Wks in Template  

Courses

Course Rubric & #* (* = C, P, or R) Credit Hrs by Course Total Credit Hours/% of Ph 1 Credit
1A  

 

17

Body Sys & Homeost 1 Pathogenesis

DoCS

Synthesis Colloquia

MD* 601

MD* 602

MD* 611

MD* 621

MD* 631

5

6

4

2

1

 

 

18 (24.3%)

1B  

 

16

Skin, Musc & Move Circ & Resp

DoCS

Synthesis Colloquia

MD* 603

MD* 604

MD* 612

MD* 622

MD* 632

4

7

4

2

1

 

 

18 (24.3%)

1C  

8 (+8)

Digest & Homeost 2 DoCS

Synthesis

MD* 605

MD* 613

MD* 623

5

2

1

 

8 (10.8%)

1D  

 

16

Brain & Behavior Regul & Repro DoCS

Synthesis Colloquia

MD* 606

MD* 607

MD* 614

MD* 624

MD* 634

8

4

4

1

1

 

 

18(24.3%)

1E  

16

Synthesis DoCS

Colloquia

MD* 625

MD* 615

MD* 635

6

5

1

 

12 (16.2%)

Total 73 graded wks 74 74 (100%)

As part of the curriculum, all students write learning plans that help them analyze their performance data, improve their capacity for self-assessment (areas of weakness and areas of strength), and set goals for themselves.

Learning plans help students to identify the types of study strategies that work best for them in addressing the specific demands of medical school (adaptive learning system, study groups, etc.). Learning plans also aid instructors and tutors in identifying patterns of issues that an individual student may face over time and how those issues may be successfully addressed.

Continuous improvement for student learning:

The LCME requires that students who are at risk for failing a course be informed in a timely manner to ensure opportunities to recover. This requirement pertains to both courses and clerkships and typically takes the form of mid-course or mid-clerkship communication to individual students that they are at risk for failing the course or clerkship. In Phase 1, students receive frequent feedback, including information based on weekly assessments.

Various issues may place students at risk including:

  1. Acquiring and applying knowledge:

Students may show early signs of difficulty mastering material, particularly in the first two Block courses, and the reasons for this difficulty may vary widely (competing family demands, adjustment to the medical school environment, study planning issues, stress, etc). These challenges may emerge at later points in the academic years as well.

  1. Acquiring and demonstrating skills specific to clinical environments and patient care:

Students are likely to begin medical school with a range of prior experiences in clinical settings, from no experience to prior experience as a health care professional. Early signs of difficulty demonstrating communication skills, history-taking skills, or physical examination skills are not uncommon. Most of these resolve through practice. However, some students, despite receiving useful feedback and opportunities to practice in low-stress, low-stakes settings may not be demonstrating the increased fluidity that their peers are demonstrating. Developing a clear picture of the possible reasons for these issues, and documenting them with the student, is essential to creating a plan for addressing the issues. In some cases, the underlying cause is an insufficient medical knowledge base; in other cases, students may not be prioritizing opportunities for clinical practice, including simulations, and might be focusing only on academic progress toward the Step 1 exam.

  1. Demonstrating attitudes and behaviors appropriate for a professional, in all settings:

Professionalism issues are often the most difficult issues to address and correct. Even though each student has the responsibility to know and utilize College policies, professionalism lapses may occur because a student is not familiar with the College’s standards, or is new to an environment and needs help interpreting the standards in a specific setting. Additionally, students may be hesitant to seek help and decide to make a decision without sufficient knowledge or context. As a College representing the community of practice our role is to communicate professional standards to students and to provide feedback and guidance on an ongoing basis  (please refer to the College’s promotions policies as stated in the Academic Policies and Professional Standards):

http://medicine.uic.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/APPS-as-approved-  by-COMExec-June-14-2017-005.pdf

Students are encouraged to ask questions about their progress and to consult with their course director, their academic advisor, as well as assistant and associate deans of student affairs, academic affairs, and curricular affairs. The College’s Strategic Academic Support (SAS) team focuses on procedures across the campuses that support student success.

Staying on track:

The integrated curriculum offers opportunities for students who initially fail a component or multiple components of a course grade to recover from the failure and continue progression in the student’s original timeframe.

Students who encounter difficulty with graded elements of a course are particularly encouraged to speak with their academic advisor to identify successful strategies for addressing difficulties during a course, rather than after final grades are determined.

Remediation:

In Block courses or Longitudinal courses, students may fail to meet criteria for passing an entire course; this may require remediation and can have implications for progression in the curriculum.

Students who receive a failing grade for a course may be required to engage in remediation activities to receive a passing grade for the course. However, under certain circumstances, students will be required to alter their original timeframe or to discontinue their studies at UI-COM. Please refer to the College’s promotions policies as stated in the Academic Policies and Professional Standards:

http://medicine.uic.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/APPS-as-approved-  by-COMExec-June-14-2017-005.pdf

What are the implications of failing the final exam at the end of a block?

Students who fail the Final Exam may still pass the Block course. If a student fails a Block final exam yet passes the Block course, the student must prepare a learning plan under the direction of the Strategic Academic Support (SAS) team. The student must satisfy the conditions of the learning plan, including a schedule of communication and meetings with the Office of Student / Academic / Curricular Affairs at a frequency specific to each student. A student’s learning plan may include taking exams for practice, as a tool for self-assessment.

Students who fail a Block course receive an F on their transcript. If a student fails the final exam and fails the Block course, the student may retake the final exam after preparing a study plan approved by an academic skills specialist, if eligible according to the College’s promotions policies as stated in the Student Academic Policies and Professional Standards. The retake exam score is factored in a grade recalculation and may result in a passing grade for the course if the course MPL is met. The retake of the final exam will be scheduled during the summer between M1 and M2 years (for Blocks 1-5) or during Synthesis Block 8 (for Blocks 6-7). Only students who have passed at least 67% of the year’s curriculum (M1 or M2) are eligible to retake course final exams.

Remediation of a Block course may address professional engagement, assessment associated with specific weeks of the Block, and/or specific portions of the final exam. Course remediation activities may include writing assignments, a final exam retake, and other assessment activities. Successful course remediation will result in a Block course grade transcript history showing first the F and then the P received.

The College’s promotion policies require a pass of 67% for the year’s curriculum (M1 year or M2 year) based upon the credit hours allocated to each course or course segment (per-term grades for longitudinal courses). See Appendix 6. Scores on retake exams do not change this 67% pass calculation. If a student falls below the 67% pass proportion for either M1 or M2 year courses, a repeat year is required. If a student falls below the 40% pass proportion for either M1 or M2 year, the student is subject to dismissal.

What are the implications of a student failing both Block 1 and Block 2?

Students who fail both Block 1 and 2 courses must appear before the student promotions committee for their campus and receive approval for a study plan.

What are the implications of a student failing the professional engagement component of assessment within a Block?

Professional Engagement is non-compensatory, meaning that if this portion of the grade is failed, the student receives a failing grade for the entire course. Remediating the professional engagement component comprises individualized structured professionalism remediation including making up all missed assignments.

What are the implications of failing a longitudinal course (DoCS, Synthesis, or Medical Colloquia)?

In each of the three longitudinal courses, at the end of each term, students receive a Pass or Fail for the course segment in that term of Phase 1. Students’ learning plans should address the performance issues that contributed to a failing grade for a term. Failing a longitudinal course as a whole requires individualized, structured remediation based on an analysis of areas of strength and weakness in student performance. Missed assignments must be completed and additional activities are structured to address identified areas in need of improvement.

Failure of a longitudinal course segment in a term is included in calculations that determine if criteria have been met for being eligible for final exam retakes, requiring completion of a repeat year, or dismissal from the program based on the promotions policy (please see the College’s promotions policies).

Who will work with at-risk students or students who are required to engage in remediation?

Strategic Academic Support (SAS) is a College-wide team with membership representing each campus. This team works across the College to share best practices in supporting student performance excellence, to ensure efficient resource utilization, and to provide seamless support for students in academic skills, clinical skills, and professional engagement. Strategic Academic Support teams at each campus consist of faculty, learning specialists, academic advisors and other representatives of the Office of Student / Academic Affairs, and those specializing in development of and remediation of communication issues.

Related Documents

See Appendix 1, “Credit Hours Per Course”.

See Appendix 4, “Block Course Grading Scenarios”.

See Appendix 6, College Committee on Student Promotions, “Promotion to the M3 Year”.

Block grades comprise three weighted elements:

  • Professional engagement, 15%
  • Weekly assessment, 25%
  • Final exam, 60%

The Professional Engagement portion of a Block course grade represents 15% of the total Block grade and is based primarily on attendance. It is non-compensatory, meaning that this element must be passed to receive a course grade of Pass. Students’ unexcused absences will negatively impact the Professional Engagement element (one unexcused absence represents one point of 15 Professional Engagement points). If a student drops below 67%, the student receives a failing grade for the Block course.

The Weekly Assessment portion of a Block course grade represents 25% of the total Block grade and is based on assessments during this week (including TBL IRAT and TRAT). Weekly quizzes are unproctored. Each quiz has the same uniform minimum pass level of 67% in all Block courses. Block course directors expect students to be able to answer two-thirds of each weekly quiz questions correctly.

The Final Exam portion of a Block course grade represents 60% of the total Block grade and is based on a proctored examination with NBME-format items. The minimum pass level for final exams will vary from Block to Block to reflect the rated difficulty level of the items in each exam.

Scenario 1:

Professional Engagement: at maximum

Weekly Assessment: at MPL 67

Final Exam: at MPL 67

Grade Element Weight Minimum Pass Level % Actual Performance

%

Calculate Total
Professional Engagement .15 67 (10/15) 100 (15/15) .15 x 100 15
Weekly Assessments .25 67 67 .25 x 67 16.75
Final Exam .60 67 67 .60 x 67 40.2
Total for Course 1.0 67 71.95

Pass

This student received no deductions for Professional Engagement, and passed weekly assessment and the final exam at minimum pass level, 67%. The Block course pass level is 67%, and the student’s score is 71.95, resulting in a grade of Pass.

Scenario 2:

Professional Engagement: at maximum

Weekly Assessment: at maximum

Final Exam: below MPL 67

Grade Element Weight Minimum Pass Level % Actual Performance

%

Calculate Total
Professional Engagement .15 67 (10/15) 100

15/15

.15 x 100 15
Weekly Assessments .25 67 100 .25 x 100 25
Final Exam .60 67 64 .60 x 64 38.4
Total for Course 1.0 67 78.4

Pass

This student received no deductions for Professional Engagement, and received maximum credit for weekly assessments, but missed the MPL for the final exam. The Block course pass level is 67%, and the student’s score is 78.4, resulting in a grade of Pass.

Scenario 3:

Professional Engagement: at maximum Weekly Assessment: below MPL of 67 Final Exam: at MPL of 67

Grade Element Weight Minimum Pass Level

%

Actual Performance

%

Calculate Total
Professional Engagement .15 67 (10/15) 100

15/15

.15 x 100 15
Weekly Assessments .25 67 60 .25 x 60 15
Final Exam .60 67 67 .60 x 67 40.2
Total for Course 1.0 67 70.2

Pass

This student received no deductions for Professional Engagement, missed the MPL of 67% for weekly assessments, and was at MPL 67% for the final exam. The Block course pass level is 67%, and the student’s score is 70.2, resulting in a grade of Pass.

Scenario 4:

Professional Engagement: at maximum Weekly Assessment: at MPL 67

Final Exam: above MPL 62

Grade Element Weight Minimum Pass Level % Actual Performance

%

Calculate Total
Professional Engagement .15 67 (10/15) 100

15/15

.15 x 100 15
Weekly Assessments .25 67 67 .25 x 67 16.75
Final Exam .60 62 67 .60 x 67 40.2
Total for Course 1.0 64 71.95

Pass

This student received no deductions for Professional Engagement and passed weekly assessment at MPL (67%) and the final exam above the MPL, which for this Block’s exam is 62%. The Block course pass level for this course is 64%, calculated:

67 x .15 = 10.05

67 x .25 = 16.75

62 x .60 = 37.2

The student’s score is 71.95, resulting in a grade of Pass.

Scenario 5:

Professional Engagement: at MPL 67 Weekly Assessment: at MPL 67

Final Exam: above MPL 62

Grade Element Weight Minimum Pass Level % Actual Performance

%

Calculate Total
Professional Engagement .15 67 (10/15) 67

10/15

.15 x 67 10.05
Weekly Assessments .25 67 67 .25 x 67 16.75
Final Exam .60 62 67 .60 x 67 40.2
Total for Course 1.0 64 66.95

Pass

This student received deductions for Professional Engagement, passed weekly assessment at MPL (67%) and the final exam above the MPL of 62. The Block course pass level for this course is 64. The student’s score is 66.95, resulting in a grade of Pass.

Scenario 6:

Professional Engagement: below MPL 67 (non-compensatory)

Weekly Assessment: at MPL 67 Final Exam: above MPL 62

Grade Element Weight Minimum Pass Level

%

Actual Performance

%

Calculate Total
Professional Engagement .15 67 (10/15) 60

9/15

.15 x 60 9.00
Weekly Assessments .25 67
Final Exam .60 62
Total for Course 1.0 64 Professional Engagement

Fail

This student received enough deductions for Professional Engagement to fall below the MPL and failed the Block course.

 

Area Assessed

% Weight (Average of all scores) (Review Annually)*
1a Fall term (4 credits)
History-Knowledge and skills 50

MPL: 65%

Physical Exam-Knowledge and Skills 15

MPL: 65%

Clinical Reasoning 5
Doctoring/Professionalism 30
1b Spring term (4 credits)
History-Knowledge and skills 35

MPL: 65%

Physical Exam-Knowledge and Skills 25

MPL: 65%

Clinical Reasoning 10
Doctoring/Professionalism 30
1c Summer term (2 credits)
History-Knowledge and skills 0
Physical Exam-Knowledge and Skills 75
Clinical Reasoning 5
Doctoring/Professionalism 20
1d Fall term (4 credits)
History-Knowledge and skills 30
Physical Exam-Knowledge and Skills 30
Clinical Reasoning 20
Doctoring/Professionalism 20
1e Spring term/End of Phase 1 (5 credits)
History-Knowledge and skills 30
Physical Exam-Knowledge and Skills 30
Clinical Reasoning 20
Doctoring/Professionalism 20

All students are subject to the following requirements for promotion to the M3 year. These policies are drawn from the College’s Academic Policies and Professional Standards.

  1. Students who complete satisfactorily all M2 curricular requirements (for students matriculating in 2017 and thereafter, the fourth and fifth terms during the M2 year) and have taken USMLE Step 1 will be recommended for promotion to the M3 The promotion will not be effective, however, until the fall M3 term (seventh term), and is dependent upon the receipt of a passing Step 1 score in the interim.

Students who are not recommended for promotion following the fifth term will not be allowed to begin clerkships.

Students are expected to sit for Step 1 before Phase 2 orientation. Any student in the class of 2020 who anticipates not being able to sit by this date, must request a delay at least four weeks prior  to that orientation date. For future M2s, the request window will be six weeks prior to that orientation date.

  1. Students who have passed at least 67% of the weighted curriculum for a given year (M1 or M2) are eligible for final exam Their score on a final exam retake must be sufficient to meet the MPL for the course. If they have met all other curricular requirements, they will be recommended for promotion to the M3 year.

Students in M1 or M2 year who do not pass all requirements after participating in approved summer term courses or exams are eligible for a repeat year, if they have not already repeated one or more of each year’s terms.

  1. Students who pass 40% to 66% of the weighted curriculum for M2 year are eligible for a repeat year, if they have not already repeated a year, when they comply with the following conditions. They are required to prepare a study plan with Strategic Academic Support. The plan must detail their strategy to ensure success during the repeat year. At its discretion, CCSP may review and approve the study plan. Students who are granted a repeat year must participate in all M2 courses at their campus. Students who have already repeated the M1 or M2 year are subject to dismissal.

Students who are granted a repeat of a year are required to participate in all courses, including those previously passed. The failing grade(s), however, will remain on the transcripts. Repeating students who do not pass all courses by the end of the academic year are subject to dismissal.

  1. Students who pass less than 40% of the curriculum are subject to dismissal.

All students granted a repeat year must satisfy the conditions of their study plan, which includes regular communication and meetings with the Office of Student / Academic Affairs, on a  frequency to be determined for each student. Students who fail to do so will be subject to  dismissal. No student will be granted more than one repeat year. Students who fail to satisfy  requirements after a repeat year will be dismissed.

  1. In addition, and distinct from the provisions of numbers 2 and 4 above, any student with an Unsatisfactory or Failing grade for a term in the clinical skills courses (by various names at each campus in the M1/M2 curriculum for the classes of 2018-2020; Doctoring and Clinical Skills (DoCS) for the class of 2021 and thereafter) will be required to work with Strategic Academic Support on a study plan, either in conjunction with or in lieu of continuing in the next course in the clinical skills series. At its discretion, CCSP may review and approve the study plan.  Any two failing grades in these courses – a repeat failure of the same course segment (term grade), or successive failing grades in two course segments (two successive term grades) – will constitute eligibility for dismissal from the College.