All pre-clerkship PA program courses are graded on a pass/fail basis. It is the prerogative of each course director to determine the best method for assessing student performance for his or her course. Learning activities such as quizzes, short papers, laboratory exercises, problem sets, presentations, and group discussions, may be offered on a graded or ungraded basis at the discretion of the course director. Attendance and participation is essential to mastery of material and is expected of all students. Course directors are expected to announce criteria for passing a course by the end of the second week of the quarter, with any subsequent modification only upon approval of a majority of students in the class.
The following grading system is used to report on the official transcript the performance of students in all courses and clerkships taken while an MSPA Studies degree candidate:
Pass (+) indicates that a student has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the course director that he/she has mastered the material taught in the course. A marginal passing grade in pre-clerkship courses is internally reported by the faculty to the student and the School of Medicine Registrar’s Office, but does not appear in the official transcript.
Incomplete (I) indicates that extenuating medical or personal circumstances beyond the student’s control have prevented completion of course requirements. Following approval by the Faculty Advisor and Student Progress Committee (in light of the circumstances presented), the course director is notified prior to the final examination. An incomplete can be corrected in a manner specified by the course director and must be corrected within one year (unless the Student Progress Committee specifies an earlier date). When a student takes a final or makeup examination following an incomplete, it becomes a pass, marginal pass or fail. If the student does not attempt to correct the incomplete within the agreed-upon time, it becomes a fail.
Continuing (N) indicates that the course has not concluded and that the student is continuing the course or that a minor component of a course (as defined by the course director) is pending.
Exempt (EX) indicates that a course has been exempted by the course director. No units are granted. The student should register for “0” units so that the course appears on the transcript.
Grade Not Reported (GNR) indicates that a grade has not been reported by the instructor.
A student may not receive credit for repeating a course unless the content has changed significantly, as determined by the course director.
In addition to these transcript-related grades, additional designations are used internal to the School of Medicine to report on academic progress:
Marginal Pass (MP) indicates that a student has fallen short of meeting minimal performance standards for a pass but has done better than a fail at the end of the academic quarter, and that additional work or remediation is necessary to achieve a pass.
Fail (-) indicates that a student has not met the minimum performance standards for the course. A course in which a student has received a fail grade does not show up on the official transcript. A course in which a student has received a fail grade must be repeated, and the student must achieve a passing grade within one year of the failure or prior to beginning clerkships, whichever is sooner.
End-Quarter Policy Statement
The End-Quarter Period is a time of reduced social and extracurricular activity preceding final examinations. Its purpose is to permit students to concentrate on academic work and to prepare for final examinations. In Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, End-Quarter starts seven full days (to begin at 12:01 a.m.) prior to the first day of final exams. In Spring Quarter, final examinations begin on Friday; no classes are held on Thursday, the day before. In Summer Quarter, this period consists of the weekend and the four class days preceding the final examinations, which take place on Friday and Saturday of the eighth week. (See the Time Schedule for dates.)
During the End-Quarter Period, classes are regularly scheduled and assignments made; this regular class time is used by instructors in whatever way seems best suited to the completion and summation of course material. Instructors should neither make extraordinary assignments nor announce additional course meetings in order to “catch up” in course presentations that have fallen behind. They are free, however, and even encouraged to conduct optional review sessions and to suggest other activities that might seem appropriate for students preparing for final examinations.
No graded homework assignments, mandatory quizzes, or examinations should be given during the End-Quarter Period except:
- In classes for which graded homework assignments or quizzes are routine parts of the instruction process.
- In classes with laboratories where the final examination will not test the laboratory component. In such a case, the laboratory session(s) during the End-Quarter Period may be used to examine students on that aspect of the course.
Major papers or projects about which the student has had reasonable notice may be called due in the End-Quarter Period. Take-home final examinations, given in place of the officially scheduled in-class examination, may be distributed in the End-Quarter Period. Although the instructor may ask students to return take-home examinations early in the final examination period, the instructor may not call them due until the end of the regularly scheduled examination time for that course. Such a policy respects the principle that students’ final examinations are to be scheduled over a period of several days. End-quarter examinations may not be held during this period. This policy preserves the instruction time for courses and protects the students’ opportunities for extensive review and synthesis of their courses.
Final examinations are scheduled by the Office of PA Education in collaboration with the Office of Medical Education when appropriate, which posts tentative dates and times by the end of the previous quarter and final schedules by the end of the second week of the quarter. Students anticipating conflicts in examination schedules should seek to resolve them with course instructors.
Final examinations are governed by the regulations below:
- Students are expected to take the final examination unless at least 24 hours prior to the examination they have received formal written approval for obtaining an incomplete from a Faculty Advisor. Incompletes are given for significant personal or medical reasons beyond the student’s control. If a student does not appear for the examination and has not been granted an incomplete, the student will receive a fail.
- Students are expected to report for their examinations at the time and place designated by the Office of PA Education, the Office of Medical Education or the course director, unless the course director has made alternative arrangements. While examinations are not “proctored” as such, students must take the examination in the designated location within the prescribed examination time. Students are expected to adhere to the Honor Code at all times during examinations.
- When the final examination or its appropriate substitute is not an in-class examination (e.g., when an instructor assigns a take-home examination, paper, or project in lieu of an in-class examination), the schedule and format of the final examination, or its substitute, will be determined no later than the end of the second week of the quarter and, if changed subsequently, may be only a modification approved by a majority of the students in the class.
- Students with documented disabilities who have registered with and been determined by the Office of Accessible Education (OAE) to require special examination accommodations are responsible for notifying both the SOM Learning Strategies Education Specialist and their course directors at the beginning of the quarter or when their accommodation letter is given that they will need accommodations. Unless students receive accommodations mid-quarter, they must let the SoM Learning Strategies Education Specialist and their course directors know of their accommodations needs no later than the end of the second week of the quarter for which they are receiving accommodations. Reminder: students needing exam accommodations are to contact the OAE first, prior to notifying their course director(s).
- Feedback on written examinations is to be as complete as practicable. Students have the right to see their final examination and discuss it with a faculty member.
Correction of Deficiencies in Pre-Clerkship Courses
Students receiving notification of a marginal pass should meet with the appropriate faculty and discuss the requirements for achieving an unqualified passing grade. Once a student achieves a “pass,” the performance will no longer be recorded as “marginal” in the student’s record. Students who receive a marginal pass in a course of eight or more units (i.e. PCM or POM) must correct the marginal pass within 12 months of receipt of the marginal pass and prior to beginning any clinical clerkship. No student having more than one marginal pass in courses of fewer than eight units may begin any clerkship. If two uncorrected marginal performance grades accumulate in pre-clerkship courses of fewer than eight units, the student is required to correct at least one of the within 12 months of receipt of the second marginal pass and prior to beginning clinical clerkships. Students with one or more marginal passes will be counseled by a Faculty Advisor and reviewed by the Student Progress Committee.
Students who fail a pre-clerkship course must achieve a passing grade within one year of the failure or prior to beginning clerkships, whichever is sooner. If this cannot be achieved through remediation (as determined by the Course Director) then the student must retake and pass the course when it is next offered. Only the Student Progress Committee has the power to change this requirement. The requirements for achieving a passing grade are determined by the responsible faculty. Students with a failing grade will be counseled by a Faculty Advisor and reviewed by Student Progress Committee.
Academic deficiencies in pre-clerkship courses must be rectified prior to the beginning of clerkships or by a date specified by the Student Progress Committee (which has the power in an appropriate case to modify any of the requirements in this subsection).
Course Directors are encouraged to provide educational assistance to students failing required courses on the first-year grid, preferably during the first summer quarter following receipt of a failing grade, and to reexamine such students prior to autumn quarter registration. Students failing courses on the autumn and winter quarter grids for the second year should, as a general proposition, be required to correct these deficiencies prior to beginning clerkships. Students who receive an incomplete grade because of extenuating medical or personal circumstances should, once again as a general rule, be given the opportunity to correct the incomplete grade within one (1) year or prior to entering clerkships, whichever comes first, in a manner specified by the Course Director. Courses such as those in the Practice of Medicine sequence, where hands-on activities and small group interactions constitute a significant portion of the course, may require retaking of the course the following year.
Evaluation of Performance in Practice of Medicine
Students receive a Pass (+), Continuing (N), Marginal Pass (MP), Fail (-), or Incomplete (I) grade after each quarter. The grade is based on completion of quarter course requirements, satisfactory performance on end-of-quarter assessments, and professional behavior. Following are the guidelines for each grade option in the course:
Pass (+): Students have completed all course requirements, performed satisfactorily on the final Standardized Patient assessment and each section of the written final examination, and exhibited professional behavior in the course.
Continuing (N): Students have not completed all course requirements and/or did not perform satisfactorily on any individual section of the written final examination.
Marginal Pass (MP): Students have not performed satisfactorily on the final Standardized Patient assessment and/or the overall written final examination; there may be some concern about the student’s professional behavior in the course; and/or the student’s performance in in-class activities has raised some concerns about knowledge and competence.
Fail (-): Students have performed poorly on the final Standardized Patient assessment and/or the overall written final examination (using the criteria above for N Grade or Marginal Pass); there may be serious concerns about the student’s professional behavior in the course; and/or the student’s performance in in-class activities has raised serious concerns about knowledge and competence.
Incomplete (I): Student has satisfactorily completed a substantial part (but not all) of the course work. Students must request an incomplete grade by the last class meeting. Incomplete grades must be made up within one (1) year, or prior to entering clerkships, whichever comes first.
A grade of Continuing (N), Marginal Pass (MP), or Fail (-) will require notification to the Student Progress Committee
Students who do not perform satisfactorily on either the final Standardized Patient assessment and/or the written final examination must complete a plan of remediation tailored to student needs and course resources. Students who do not satisfactorily complete this plan of remediation will earn a “Fail” grade for the course.
Policy for Missed Assessments
Every student is expected to be present for each final Standardized Patient assessment and each end-quarter integrated examination in the Practice of Medicine course.
A formal Course Director's excuse is required to make-up any missed course examination. It is recommended that students meet with their Faculty Advisors prior to submitting a formal request for any missed course examination.
A Course Director's excuse may be issued before a regularly scheduled assessment or examination to accommodate some essential extracurricular event or after an examination for illness.
A score of zero will be credited towards a student’s final score if an assessment or examination is missed without a Faculty Advisor’s excuse.
If a Course Director's excuse is issued before a regularly scheduled assessment or examination to accommodate some essential extracurricular event, the student will be expected to take the scheduled makeup examination or assessment at Stanford. If the Course Director's excuse extends beyond the second date because of some essential activity away from Stanford, then appropriate arrangements will be made within the resources of the course. Failure to make such an arrangement will result in a score of zero on that exam. A student who misses an assessment or examination with a Course Director's excuse for illness should contact the POM course coordinator and appropriate arrangements will be made.
Policy for Remediation of a Continuing, Marginal Pass, Fail Grade in POM
A student who receives a Continuing (N) in any quarter of the POM series (INDE 201-205) must complete outstanding course requirements to correct the grade to a Pass (+). The student will be allowed to continue through the POM sequence. The Student Progress Committee will be notified. Students who do not satisfactorily complete this plan of remediation will earn a Marginal Pass (MP) grade for the course.
A student who receives a Marginal Pass (MP) in any quarter of the POM series (INDE 201-205) must successfully complete a course of remediation tailored to student needs and course resources to correct the grade to a Pass (+). The student will not be allowed to continue through the POM sequence, unless provided special permission from the course director. The Student Progress Committee will be notified. Students who do not satisfactorily complete this plan of remediation will not be allowed to continue to clerkships.
A student who receives a Fail in any quarter of the POM series (INDE 201-205) will be required to re-take that quarter the following year, including all required exercises and examinations. The student will not be allowed to continue through the POM sequence, unless provided special permission from the course director. The Student Progress Committee will be notified.