Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
MD Program

Academic Records Confidentiality

Posted December 1, 2019

Purpose: This policy outlines the rare circumstance in which information from a student’s academic records may be provided confidentially to future course (including clinical and non-clinical courses) directors for the benefit of the student, in the interest of the student’s academic success and for identification of additional resources for the student.

Background: Federal law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), protects the confidentiality of student "education records." Because student academic information qualifies as “education records,” information on student performance cannot be freely discussed with family members and among faculty and staff. Such information can be shared with school officials with legitimate education interest (see Family Rights and Privacy Act).


Official Academic Record

The Registrar is the official keeper of the students’ academic files.  Students have the right and are welcome to review the contents of their own academic file under supervision. Medical school admission materials are maintained but are not considered part of the academic file. Consistent with FERPA and the University’s policy on the Confidentiality of Student Records, students may seek correction of information in their academic file believed to be inaccurate or misleading. Requests to review one’s academic file or to seek correction of information in one’s file should be directed to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness.

Process by Which Academic Information May Be Shared

Information that is helpful to student progression through a course may be shared among the faculty of that course. The Associate Dean(s) for Curriculum and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness and/or the Associate Dean for Student Success and Professional Development will determine if sharing of student academic information in other instances is of educational benefit to the student or furthers a legitimate educational interest, in keeping with the University’s policy on the Confidentiality of Student Records. Information about student performance in one course may be shared with the Course Director of other courses only with discussion among the Associate Deans and consensus that this is necessary to support a student’s academic progression. Information will flow from the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness or the Associate Dean for Student Success and Professional Development to Course Directors, not directly between Course Directors without facilitation. If there are personal factors related to academic difficulties (e.g., life event), this information ordinarily will not be forwarded except when requested by the student.

Protection of Evaluation Process

Shared academic information should not affect the assessment of a student’s performance in the new course, and should not be referenced in the evaluation of the student’s performance in the new course. Course Directors receiving such information must recuse themselves from any involvement in the evaluation or grading of the student. Further, any sharing of academic information will not be mentioned or reflected in a student’s Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) letter.