Uniform grading needed for clerkships, study says

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 3, 2012

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Grading of clerkships needs to be standardized to ensure that medical students’ clinical skills are being evaluated in a consistent way at schools nationwide, says an August Academic Medicine study (link).

Researchers analyzed data from 119 accredited medical schools and found great variability in how students were evaluated. They identified eight grading systems ranging from two-tier pass-fail systems to 11-tier systems that used combinations such as A- and C+.

The percentage of students who received the top grade varied greatly, from 2% to 93% of students among different schools, and 18% to 81% among different programs at the same school. A higher proportion of students received top marks in systems that used four or more tiers for grading. Fewer than 1% of students nationwide failed clerkships in internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics-gynecology, psychiatry and family medicine, the study said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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