New (and Improved) For you highlights positive changes made at IU School of Medicine with the help of student feedback. Check back often for frequent updates.

Nov. 2018: Class Ranking System

IU School of Medicine transitioned to a pass/fail grading system for all Phase 1 (Years 1 and 2) courses when the Class of 2020 matriculated in 2016.  Upon the start of Phase 2 in April 2018, course grades for clerkships and electives continued to use the school’s Honors (H), High Pass (HP), Pass (P) grading scale which was a part of the legacy curriculum.  This system will continue into Phase 3 for the class of 2020 and subsequent years.

Based on the fact that there is no longer a grade point average calculated for Phase 1 courses, the school has decided to drop the ranking system (as used in the past) for all students in the Class of 2020 and beyond. This will eliminate dividing students into quintiles during the development of the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE–aka Dean’s letter for residency application) starting with the Class of 2020 graduation. However, grade distributions for each required core clerkship during Phase 2 will be included in the MSPE, as required by the NRMP guidelines.

Oct. 2018: Career Development Program

With new leadership, programs and resources, what used to be the Career Mentoring Program is now the Career Development program to better reflect student needs. Check out resources for Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3; the career mentor request form; and a Q&A with one of the career program team members, Sacha Sharp, MA.

Hear Why Students Like the New Career Mentor Request Form

‘I was able to get in touch with my faculty member easily! He emailed me back the very next day.’ – Third-year student

‘I received a quick response from Dr. Elisa Illing and we set up a phone meeting. It worked well for me. Thanks.’ – Second-year student

‘I was assigned a mentor and everything is great – thanks!’ – Third-year student

‘I had a wonderful experience with requesting a mentor– I received an email from the assistant residency PD within 40 minutes of my online request with detailed helpful information for an MS3. He also gave me advice and resources for my subsequent questions that was very helpful.’ – Third-year student

Oct. 2018: New MSPE Process
Updated: October 15, 2018
To ensure that our fourth-year students have the absolute best Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) possible for their residency applications, we introduced a new review and editing process this year. New to this year, either a dean from Medical Student Education in Indianapolis or a campus dean reviewed and edited every MSPE after it was created by each student and their lead advisor. We have heard from many students that they appreciated this very high level of review and the improvements made to their MSPE from this editing process. We continue to make improvements and enhance the way that we prepare IU School of Medicine students for the match process! Good luck fourth-years!
Oct. 2018: Isolated Deficiency Policy and Academic Good Standing
Updated: October 8, 2018

Isolated Deficiency Policy and Impact on Good Standing: What it Means for Students

In an effort to reduce the potentially negative impacts of an isolated, unrepeated difficulty on a student’s transcript, the Isolated Deficiency policy for all courses, clerkships and electives has been changed. This change goes into effect retroactively, beginning on April 1, 2018 for current Phase 2 students, June 1, 2018 for legacy curriculum fourth-year students, and August 1, 2018 for current Phase 1 students. Additionally, the change will be in effect for all class years going forward.

The new policy change impacts the Isolated Deficiencies earned during all three phases of medical school as well as during the Class of 2019’s fourth-year legacy curriculum. For the curricular years covered by this policy change, any Isolated Deficiency after the dates the policy went into effect will no longer permanently stay on the student’s academic record. Additionally, these deficiencies will not be reflected on a student’s official IU School of Medicine transcript. However, any Isolated deficiency earned prior to these effective dates will remain as reported per prior policy.

How this Policy Change Impacts Student Academic Standing

When an Isolated Deficiency is earned, the school does still report that Isolated Deficiency to Indiana University School of Medicine’s Student Promotions Committee in accordance with the Guidelines for Promotion, Suspension, Dismissal, and Withdrawal. If this is the student’s first Isolated Deficiency, the student will likely remain in good academic standing and be allowed to remediate. However, if the student has had previous academic difficulties, the committee will recommend that the student be placed on academic probation while the Isolated Deficiency is resolved. The Student Promotions Committee must consistently apply these guidelines throughout the remainder of the 2018-2019 academic year. Given the change in the grading policy, the committee will determine if changes to the monitoring of such grades will change for the following academic year.

Answers to Student Questions About this Change

Question: If Isolated Deficiencies no longer appear on the transcript, is there an expectation that they will be included in the school letter (MSPE) for residency applications? The policy doesn’t mention anything about this and I generally thought the school letter for residency was positive, but I thought I would check.

Answer: The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE- aka Dean’s letter) is mandated by the AAMC to be a neutral reflection of the overall performance of the student within the curriculum. Although we make every attempt to put our students in the best possible light (and this policy change is part of this effort), we are compelled to mention any significant academic struggle a student may experience. Obviously, Areas of Concern are not included in the MSPE letter and even Isolated Deficiencies may not be reflected if they are truly isolated incidents and not reflective of ongoing concerns about a student’s ability to master the competencies. All course and clerkship failures must be addressed and multiple Isolated Deficiencies may need to be included. In particular, depending on the severity, single Isolated Deficiencies in professionalism may need to be reported on the MSPE in the Professionalism section, in order to comply with the guidelines for MSPEs set by the AAMC and NRMP. We work with students and their advisors to address factors on the MSPE that the student has effectively addressed and emphasize that because of these positive changes, the student will not be at risk of similar difficulties in the future.

Question: There was some confusion about the difference between one and more than one Isolated Deficiency. The policy indicates that two Isolated Deficiencies will result in failure of the course/clerkship/elective. Failure of a course/clerkship requires remediation. Similarly, one Isolated Deficiency also requires remediation. What is the difference?

Answer: In essence, if you have “isolated” deficiencies in more than one of the competencies within a single course/clerkship/elective, they are no longer isolated and indicate a substantial deficit in the skills, knowledge or attributes needed to receive a passing grade. Therefore, if based on assessment of the faculty, a student has deficiencies in more than one competency, the student receives a failing grade. That, in turn, would require remediation of the entire course/clerkship. The level of remediation for an Isolated Deficiency is by nature more limited in scope compared to remediation for a failing grade. This difference in the level of remediation is the basis of our policy change to reflect that—with successful remediation—an Isolated Deficiency would no longer appear on a student’s transcript.

Question: The policy indicates that the change is retroactive to April 1, 2018 (Phase 2) and June 1, 2018 (legacy fourth-year curriculum). Class of 2021 students who are halfway through Phase 1 wanted to know if the policy was retroactive to the start of Phase 1 for them, or if it is only applicable for the second half of their Phase 1. For example, if a student earned Isolated Deficiency-Interpersonal Skills and Communication in Host Defense in spring 2018 and then remediated in summer 2018, will the “Isolated Deficiency-Interpersonal Skills and Communication” still appear on their transcript or will it just be “P”?

Answer: It is fairly rare for a Phase 1 student to receive an Isolated Deficiency, but the deficiency would be handled in a similar manner as the other phases. Failure of the main competency taught and assessed in a course/clerkship/elective results in a failing grade. For Phase 1, Medical Knowledge is the main competency for foundational science courses (excluding Transitions 1 and Foundations of Clinical Practice) and a failure of Medical Knowledge results in course failure. Thus, no Isolated Deficiency can be assigned for theMedical Knowledge competency. Likewise, failure of Patient Care, the main competency taught and assessed in clinical courses (FCP)/clerkships/electives, results in failure. Thus, no Isolated Deficiency may be assigned for Patient Care in clinical courses/clerkships/electives.

In most cases, Phase 1, Year 1 or Year 2 students who end up with failing grades go through remediation during the appropriate summer or late spring remediation cycle. The retroactive date of April 2018 was delineated for Phase 2 as that is when the new academic year started for that phase of their curriculum. For the legacy curriculum fourth-year students, rotations started in June of 2018 and therefore the new policy was applied at that time for that class. Phase 1 is indeed delivered over two years, but each year is considered a separate academic entity. For instance, students must successfully pass all Phase 1 Year 1 courses prior to continuing into the Phase 1 Year 2 curriculum. Therefore, the new policy applies only to the 2018-19 academic year (August 1, 2018). Any Isolated Deficiencies earned from prior academic years before 2018-19 were subject to and will remain under the rules of the prior policy. This is similar to how Isolated Deficiencies earned in the legacy curriculum third-year were handled.