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Information for MSPEs

Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

Unique Characteristics of the Educational Program:

The Rural Medical Scholars Program (RMSP): The Rural Medical Scholars Program is a multi-departmental program organized and coordinated through the Department of Family Medicine. Its purpose is to enhance the educational experience of students who may wish to practice in a rural or small town community. The RMSP seeks qualified applicants with an interest in rural health, provides special training and support in the preclinical years, and includes training in a rural community in the clinical years.

MD/PhD Program: Upstate Medical University’s MD/PhD Program is designed for individuals interested in pursuing a career as physician-scientists in academic medicine. During the students' first two years of training they complete courses in the College of Medicine. They then advance into the laboratory where they spend three to four years completing additional coursework and dissertation research under the auspices of one of the faculty members in College of Graduate Studies. The time in the laboratory culminates with the defense of the doctoral dissertation, after which students re-enter the College of Medicine to complete their training in the various clinical clerkships. The total time spent in the program should be no more than eight years. Throughout the training students will also participate in MD/PhD specific coursework and activities.

MD/MPH Program: A joint degree program in which a student interested in both medicine and public health can obtain both degrees in five years. Recognizing the impact that public health issues have on patient health and healthcare, this joint degree is designed to train medical students to be effective physicians using both patient-based medical education coupled with population-based public health training. All students in the MD/MPH program must meet the same graduation requirements as traditional MPH students.

Average Length of Enrollment of Students in this Graduating Class: 4 years

Compliance with AAMC Guidelines for Medical Schools Regarding Academic Transcripts: The College of Medicine at Upstate Medical University is in compliance with the guidelines.

Description of Evaluation System: 

Grading System

Phase 1

All required courses and electives taken in Phase 1 of medical school are graded Pass/Fail:
• Pass (P) - Successful completion of all requirements for the course.
• Fail (F) - Failure to meet all the requirements of the course successfully.
• Conditional (CO) - An interim grade for failing part of the course requirements in a first attempt. A conditional grade requires specific remedial work. Standards for remediation attempts for a conditional grade should not vary from original requirements.
• Incomplete (I) - Student has participated in a significant portion of the course but the requirements of the course have not been completed, due to extenuating circumstances.
• Withdrawal (W) - Withdrawal from a course.
• Fail/Academic Dishonesty) (XF) - Student was found guilty of academic dishonesty by judicial process.
• Credit (CR) - Credit is awarded for work completed at another institution or another college within the Upstate Medical University. 

Phase 2

In addition to the grades above, a Phase 2 student's academic performance in clerkships and electives (also referred to as courses) may be evaluated on an Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail system utilizing norm-referenced, criterion grading:
• Honors (H) - Outstanding performance in the subject area, far exceeding the requirements of the course. Criteria for an Honors grade in each clerkship will be set based on previous years’ historical data in that clerkship.
• High Pass (HP) - Performance significantly above expectations, but not qualifying for Honors. Criteria for a High Pass grade in each clerkship will be set based on previous years’ historical data in that clerkship.

Class Rank

In Phase 1 of the medical school curriculum, grades are earned and reported as Pass/Fail. Class rank is not calculated. In the clerkship year of the curriculum, grades are earned and reported as Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail. Class rank is calculated based on the weighted cumulative average of the actual grade earned where numeric values are assigned to the letter grades as follows: Honors = 4; High Pass = 3; Pass (on first attempt) = 2; Pass (on repeat attempt) = 1; and Fail, Fail/Academic Dishonesty = 0. Actual numeric rank from the clerkship year will not be released, as class rank is reported in categories (“Superior” is limited to the top 20% of students and “Outstanding” includes the next 20% of students. The remainder of the students are ranked as “Very Good” or “Good” with “Good” not exceeding 10% of the class.).

Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE) Class Rank:

1. Class Rank for MSPE solely will be based on required clerkship year courses.
2. Grades from Phase 1 will not be factored into MSPE class rank.
3. Electives and acting internships will not be factored into MSPE class rank but those grades and narratives will be included in the MSPE for residency applications.

All students take an Upstate Medical University administered Gateway examination at the end of the first year of medical school. The Upstate Gateway examination is a comprehensive examination of the integrated content of the first year curriculum. Scores on the Upstate Gateway examination are not factored into academic standing.

USMLE Requirements: 

Step 1 (4-Year Pathway or 4YP)
All students will prepare to take the USMLE Step 1 before the start of the core clerkship year, which date is published annually in the Upstate Medical University Academic Calendar. Students are allowed up to three attempts within one year of completing the basic science curriculum to pass USMLE Step 1. 

Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (4YP)
Students must take the USMLE Step 2 CK exam by August 15 of their graduation year. Any exception
to this policy requires prior approval of the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education. Students are allowed up to three attempts and one year from the original December 1 deadline to pass the USMLE Step 2 Clinical examination.

USMLE Requirements for Students in the Accelerated MD Pathway (3-Year Pathway or 3YP)
All students in the 3YP must take the USMLE Step 1 during the allocated period and must pass on their first attempt to remain in the 3YP.

Clinical Skills Exam (CSE): 
All students are required to pass an Upstate Medical University administered Clinical Skills Exam at the beginning of the fourth year of medical school to assess the core clinical skills of communication, data collection (history and physical exam), and clinical reasoning (differential diagnosis, diagnostic therapeutic plan).  In addition, most core clerkships require passing a subject specific Standardized Patient Exam as part of the overall evaluation of the medical student performance and to pass the clerkship.

Use of Narrative Comments with Grades and in MSPEs: 
Students are evaluated through examinations, both oral and written, and by direct observations in laboratories, discussion groups, and in the clinical setting. Summative evaluation results in a grade for each course, and may also include a narrative evaluation of the student. All of the clinical clerkship grades are accompanied by a narrative. Basic science courses may include a narrative if the amount of personal contact between the faculty and student allows knowledgeable assessment of performance that is not otherwise captured by the course grade. Grades and clinical narratives are printed, verbatim in the MSPE.

MSPE Composition and Student Review: 
The MSPE for each student comprises all objective and subjective formal evaluations during medical school. Other information is provided by the student regarding their co-curricular and research experiences. The MSPE process is facilitated by the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs and MSPE writers include members of the Dean’s staff. Students are permitted, and encouraged, to review the MSPE prior to transmission.