Algorithm for Determination of MSPE Quartiles in the New MD Curriculum*

Used to determine quartiles for MSPE; top quartile forwarded to AOA chapter as initial step in their nomination process; also carried forward, with additional Phase 3 criteria, in determining Graduation Honors

Phase 1 Performance                                                                   42 pts max

Underlying curriculum structure and assumptions:

Block courses in each term = ~ 15% of Phase 1 total credit; each single block contributes 5-10%; DoCS course in each term = ~ 5%; Synthesis course in each term = ~ 3% of Phase 1 total credit; Colloquium course in each term = ~1% of Phase 1 total credit

Allocation of points for Phase 1:
In keeping with P/F approach, students passing all components without failing a major exam receive 42 points

  • Failure of a final course exam brings a deduction of 1 pt
  • Failure of a course, due to repeat exam failure or other means, brings a deduction of 3 pts (for all courses bearing 3 or more credit hrs) or 1 pt (for courses < 2 credit hrs). If preceded by initial exam failure, the two deductions are not additive.
  • Promotions committee or parent institution (UIC, UIUC) determination of professional behavior issue requiring remediation = deduction of 5 pts per incident


USMLE Step 1 Performance                                                       10 pts max

Underlying assumptions:

The MSPE is meant to be a record of a student’s performance in the curriculum, over a 3 year period, whereas USMLE scores are an external measure representing performance on one day’s testing. Passage of USMLE Step 1 is, however, a prerequisite for promotion from Phase 1 to Phase 2 and thus enters into the overall P/F determinations of the College. In addition, we find it an appropriate tool to fine-tune the distinctions between students with similar overall P/F performance scores in making the final determination of quartile ranking.

Allocation of points for USMLE Step 1

  • Allocation of points for score on first attempt:
    Allocation of points for score on first attempt:
    National %ile 0-24% = 4 ptsNational %ile 50-62% = 7 pts
    National %ile 25-36% = 5 ptsNational %ile 63-74% = 8 pts
    National %ile 37-49% = 6 ptsNational %ile 75-87% = 9 pts
    National %ile 88-100% = 10 pts
  • Failure to post a passing score on first attempt = 2 pts subtracted from above allocation once a passing score is posted; failure to post a passing score on second attempt subtracts 4 pts from the above.

Phase 2 Performance                                                                   48 pts max (see annotation at the bottom of the page)

Underlying curriculum structure and assumptions:

  • There are 7 Phase 2 core clerkships: internal med, family med, peds, surgery, ob/gyne, psychiatry, and neurology.
  • Students will be completing additional curriculum components during the four terms encompassing Phase 2 and up to the time of MSPE quartile A total of 6 points is provided in recognition of this work, if passed without incident.

Allocation of points for Phase 2:

  • The core clerkships each yield a max of 6 pts: Proficient =2, Advanced =4, Outstanding =6
  • An initial clerkship exam failure results in subtraction of 1 pt
  • An initial failing grade for the entire clerkship yields 0 pts for that clerkship in the algorithm
  • Failure of an elective clerkship or other non-core course during Phase 2 brings a deduction of 3 pts
  • Promotions committee or parent institution (UIC, UIUC) determination of professional behavior issue requiring remediation = deduction of 5 pts per incident

100 points possible

*Annotations for the Class of 2021

  • The neurology clerkship was not required for the Class of 2021.
  • In addition, most members of the Class of 2021 will have had one of their clerkships affected by the adjustments made at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Such clerkships were graded on a credit/no credit basis, and thus cannot be entered into the algorithm.
  • The 42 points for achievement in the clerkships will be calculated for the Class of 2021 as follows: The mean of the clerkships for which a grade of O/A/P or U was achieved will be determined, and applied proportionally to the total of 42 points possible for clerkship achievement.  For example, a student with three “O” final grades and two “As” would have achieved 3×6 + 2×4 = 26 points, for a mean of 5.2.  The COVID-affected clerkship grade and neurology grades that are “missing” in the algorithm would also be assigned a value of 5.2, for a total of 36.4 of the 42 possible points.