Published 10.05.2021 • Updated 08.25.2022 • Revised 06.01.2023
Scope: These policies and procedures apply to undergraduate medical education students dissatisfied with a final grade and/or clinical narrative.
If a student is dissatisfied with a final grade and/or clinical narrative summary assessment, they must contact the Course/Clerkship Director (CD) to discuss the grade within 2 weeks of the grade posting. Further communication timeframes are required and specified in further detail within these policies and procedures. No grade appeals will be considered outside of prescribed timeframes, or for students who did not follow proper communication channels.
Students are not permitted to contact other faculty or housestaff who may have provided feedback or assessments. A student found to have done so will forfeit the right to pursue the appeal process.
Grade Change and/or Narrative Summary Appeal
If a student is dissatisfied with a final grade and/or clinical narrative summary assessment* they must contact the CD in writing via email within two weeks of receiving notification that the grade and/or narrative has posted to discuss their reasoning for a grade change and/or narrative summary change. This is the first step toward proceeding with the official grade appeal process if it comes to that.
The CD must respond to the student’s request within two weeks of the date of first contact, which is termed the initial response. If the CD does not reply with an initial response within two weeks of the student’s first contact, the student may consult with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness regarding the process to proceed with an appeal submitted to the Grade Appeal Committee (GAC).
After the initial response, the CD will review the student’s performance in the course, decide if a grade and/or narrative revision is warranted, and notify the student of their final determination for the grade and/or narrative. Prior to final determination, the CD may request additional information from the student for consideration (e.g., meeting with the student, a written grade appeal or student perspective, or other documented evidence). The timing of a final determination from the CD may be contingent on receiving this additional information from the student but will be at the discretion of the CD. If the CD does not respond with the final determination within two weeks of their initial response or within two weeks of the student providing the requested additional information (whichever is longer), the student may consult with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness regarding the process to proceed with an appeal submitted to GAC.
If the grade and/or narrative is not changed upon final determination and the student wishes to pursue the issue further, they must immediately contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness requesting a consultation regarding the process to proceed with an appeal submitted to GAC. Should the student decide to submit an official grade appeal to GAC, it must be done within two weeks of receiving the CD’s final determination, or within four weeks of the grade and/or narrative posting, whichever is longer.
*It should be noted that a clinical narrative summary assessment is included for each clerkship in the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), and this is the opportunity for changes related to the clinical paragraph.
Student appeals submitted to GAC for changing the grade and/or the narrative of clinical rotations from Pass to High Pass or changing High Pass to Honors will be addressed two times per year, generally in March and September. More details regarding GAC and the process of submission are below.
General Guide to GAC
Within four weeks of the grade posting, students must submit a written request by emailing the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness for their appeal to be forwarded to GAC.
The substance of the email must be limited to the facts of the appeal. Facts include:
- a very short rationale;
- the original grade or narrative and the desired grade or specified changes to the narrative;
- the timeline of their appeal including the date they first contacted the course/clerkship director, the date they met with the course/clerkship to discuss their appeal, the date they received a final decision from the course/clerkship director regarding their appeal;
- the course/clerkship director(s) names with whom the student communicated about their appeal;
- the course/clerkship number and title (i.e. MED200, Internal Medicine Clerkship).
The Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness will meet with the student to discuss the student’s supplied facts of the appeal and the process for moving forward.
The Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness will alert the course/clerkship director that the student wishes to pursue a formal appeal and confirm that due diligence was done to review the situation prior to proceeding with the appeal.
Finding due diligence, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness will either supply or direct the Associate Director for Academic Educational Affairs to request the course/clerkship director to send the grading rubric, all submitted student evaluations, and any additional comments from the course’s grading committee.
The Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness will organize all of the available documentation and provide a written summary of the process to the Senior Vice Dean for Medical Education, who approves an appeal to be forwarded to GAC.
The CD will be asked to join GAC’s meeting for the opportunity to provide any additional information and to allow GAC the opportunity to ask any clarifying questions they may have.
The student will be invited to join GAC’s meeting for the opportunity to provide a two-minute verbal statement and to allow GAC the opportunity to ask any clarifying questions they may have.
Within two business days of GAC’s decision, the Chair of GAC will submit a written decision and rationale to the Senior Vice Dean for Medical Education, who will notify the student of the committee’s decision.
GAC’s decision will be final.
The student may reach out to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness if they seek further explanation behind GAC’s decision.
About the Grade Appeal Committee
GAC consists of five standing faculty members, appointed by the Senior Vice Dean for Medical Education, including the committee Chair.
Three faculty will be required at meetings to reach a quorum of voters. The majority of voters must be standing faculty (CE or tenured).
A GAC member (including the Chair) may, at their discretion, recuse themselves from the deliberations and voting if the appeal creates a conflict of interest, such as involving their own department or a previous academic relationship with the student.
GAC will meet twice a year (generally in March and September), or at the request of the Senior Vice Dean for Medical Education, to review submitted grade appeals.
GAC members will independently review documents and information submitted on behalf of the student by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness, discuss their findings, and reach a decision whether or not to grant the appeal.
GAC’s decision will be based on a simple majority of the non-recused committee members present (excluding the Chair). If a tie occurs, the Chair will cast the tie-breaking vote.