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New Grade Policy to Take Effect Academic Year 2014-2015

We want to let faculty know about some recent changes to our School’s grade policy in light of new programs planned for our incoming class of medical students this fall and in anticipation of implementation of the first phase of the new curriculum in fall 2015. It is our hope and expectation that these changes will simplify the grading process while still providing students and faculty with the tools to identify competence and areas for improvement.

  • First, the Curriculum Council Steering Committee (CCSC) approved (December 2012) the realignment and adaptation of our previous nine competencies into the six ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education) competencies that are more readily recognized by clinicians and those which our graduates are assessed by when they enter residency (see conversion table in Grade Policy document below). The CCSC has just approved (4/8/14) implementing this change effective with Academic Year 2014-5
  • Second, under the guidance of Dr. Abigail Klemsz – Assistant Dean for Academic Advising and Career Mentoring, the Office of Medical Student Affairs is implementing a longitudinal program for academic advising for students across the nine campuses. One of the roles of the academic advisors will be to monitor the academic progress of the student. This will enable earlier intervention when a student is struggling. These advising changes and changes in our competencies have eliminated the need for the grades of “Satisfactory with Concern” or “Unsatisfactory.” These grades will no longer be options.
  • Third, Isolated Deficiency (ID) grades will now be available in the pre-clinical courses when students do not satisfactorily meet the requirements of the competencies assessed in the course. There are two exceptions to this rule, however. Because of the central importance and weight of Medical Knowledge in foundational science courses and Patient Care in clinical clerkships, no ID-MK (foundational science courses) or ID-PC (clerkships) options are permitted. Course and clerkship directors will be expected to submit narrative comments in the grade sheet for competencies not specifically addressed in their course/clerkship. The new grade policy appears below. Let us know if you have any questions about this new policy.


Grade Policy to Take Effect Academic Year 2014-2015

With the introduction of a robust student advising system and the designation of an Assistant Dean for Academic Advising and Career Mentoring, the need for a distinct grade of “Satisfactory with Concern (SC)” has been eliminated. The distinction between an “Unsatisfactory (U)” grade and an “Isolated Deficiency (ID)” in the first two years has been inconsistently understood and applied. Although originally the use of different grading paradigms in the preclinical and clinical years was intended to reflect developmental skills that students acquire, implementation has been inconsistent and has not achieved this goal. To enhance the opportunity for course/ clerkship directors to communicate concerns about a student’s performance, narrative comments may still be submitted on the grade sheet. These concerns will be forwarded to the student’s academic advisor for follow-up.

Beginning with academic year 2014-2015, the grades of SC and U will no longer be available.  

The grade of ID- (PC, ICS, MK, P, PBLI or SBP) will be available for students who have an isolated deficit in a competency, with two exceptions: Medical Knowledge competency in a Foundational Science course and Patient Care in a clinical clerkship. These two competencies represent the core of such courses and hence, are not options.

2014 Competency

Prior Core Competency

(PC) Patient Care (2) Basic Clinical Skills
(ICS) Interpersonal Communication Skills (1) Effective Communication
(MK) Medical Knowledge (3) Using Science to Guide Diagnosis, Management, Therapeutics & Prevention
(P) Professionalism (7) Moral Reasoning & Ethical Judgment (9) Professionalism & Role Recognition (5) Self-Awareness, Self-Care & Personal Growth
(PBLI) Practice Based Learning and Improvement (4) Lifelong Learning, (5) Self-Awareness, Self-Care & Personal Growth (8) Problem Solving
(SBP) Systems Based Practice (6) Social & Community Contexts of Health Care



The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Mark Seifert

Bio coming soon.