Changes for students beginning core rotations in Term 2004

Establishing a University’s academic policies is an evolutionary process, especially for an institution as young as Oceania University of Medicine. One policy that remained constant throughout most of OUM’s 18-year history, before going through notable revisions in recent years, has been the grading scheme for clinical clerkships.

Since it was established in 2002, OUM’s clerkship grading policy has been Pass/Fail, originally based solely upon the Clinical Supervisor’s Report. In 2016, the Academic Board instituted end-of-rotation exams (EOR), changing the grading composition to be based 70 percent on the Clinical Supervisor’s Report and 30 percent on the end-of-rotation exam, but the final grades received by students remained Pass/Fail.

Moving forward, following the Academic Board Resolution ratified last month, core rotations no longer will be graded as Pass/Fail for students who begin clinical rotations in Term 2004 and beyond.

Final core clerkship grades reported to the Registrar and recorded on the student’s transcript will be:

  • 90 percent and above    = High Distinction (HD)
  • 80-89 percent                    = Distinction (D)
  • 70-79 percent                    = Credit (C)
  • 60-69 percent                    = Pass (P)
  • 59 percent and below    = Fail (F)

IMPORTANT: All students who began clinical rotations PRIOR to Term 2004 will remain with the Pass/Fail grading system throughout their clerkships to graduation.

“We know that internship and residency directors don’t spend as much time as we wish to digest our student information,” says Chris Dudley, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Administration and Student Affairs. “We didn’t want to take the chance that they may not notice a change in our grading structure and inadvertently penalize our students, so the new changes apply only to students who begin clinical rotations during Term 2004 and beyond.”

Both faculty and administration, as well as student and graduate representatives on the Academic Board, see this new grading scheme as a more well-rounded way to assess and acknowledge student progress, especially for those who excel during rotations.

“For years at TTM Hospital, I have seen some students who consistently put in extra time, work really hard, and do a great job, yet their grade remains a PASS,” says Dr. Viali Lameko, OUM’s Vice Chancellor and Supervisor of the Internal Medicine Rotation in Samoa. “Adding this additional grading component will also impact awarding of the Dean’s Medals at graduation which recognize academic excellence,” he adds.

Logbook assessments also amended

In addition to moving overall rotation grades away from Pass/Fail, logbook assessments for the core clerkships will move to a similar scale. Each will be evaluated by the student’s Regional Dean or designee as follows:

  • 90-100:  Five excellent, thorough, well-written original cases addressing all points
  • 80-89:    Five good, well-written original cases covering most assessment criteria
  • 70-79:     Five average original cases covering at least half of the points
  • 60-69:    Five marginal cases covering many points, but missing some key areas
  • <59:        Fewer than five logbook cases, or very poorly presented cases that miss critical points, or at least one case with material that does not appear to be original

In addition to changing logbook grading away from Pass/Fail, the Academic Board also established that the components of clerkship grading will be revised to include Clinical Logbook Assessments in Term 2004 and beyond.

For the students who begin clerkships in Term 2004 and moving forward, final grades for the seven core clerkships will now combine the clinical supervisor’s report, end-of-rotation exam, and clinical logbook assessment, weighted as follows:

  • Clinical Supervisor Assessment:  20%
  • End-of-Rotation Exam:  60%
  • Clinical Logbook:  20%

Grading scheme for electives: minor changes

Important: Elective rotations will continue to be graded, reported to the Registrar, and recorded on student transcripts as Pass or Fail: 60-100 percent = PASS (P) and 59 percent and below = FAIL (F).

Components of the grades for regular electives will be:

  • Clinical Supervisor Assessment:  50%
  • Clinical Logbook:  50%

Grading for the non-patient-contact electives taken online will be assessed as:

  • Clinical Logbook:  20%
  • Weekly Quizzes:  30%
  • Final Exam:  50%

As with logbooks for core rotations, elective rotation logbooks will be evaluated by the student’s Regional Dean or designee. Logbooks for the non-patient-contact electives will be evaluated by the course instructor(s).

Full descriptions of the new grading policies for clinical rotations will be updated in the OUM Student Handbook within the next few weeks.