Rush Medical College: Academic Policies

Course Credit
Rush Medical College assigns no credit hour value to its courses. First and second year courses are recorded on the transcript according to the quarter in which the courses are given; clinical courses/clerkships are recorded on the transcript according to the dates when the course is taken .

Communication Concerning Student Performance
Course directors are expected to notify a representative from the Office of Medical Student Programs (OMSP) of any student having academic difficulty or professionalism issues at the earliest possible time.

Professionalism Standards

Pre-clinical Narrative Evaluation Form (NEF)

(1) During the M1 and M2 years, faculty who are teaching in courses in which there is contact with individual students will complete a Narrative Evaluation Form (NEF) for each of those students within their responsibility. Evaluation rating categories will include outstanding, appropriate, cause for concern and/or no basis to judge. The narrative evaluations for each course will be maintained and monitored in the OMSP. (2) A representative from the OMSP will read and monitor these forms in a confidential file located in the OMSP. If more than one form has been completed for an individual student suggesting a pattern of unprofessional or inappropriate behavior, a representative from the OMSP will present the student to the COSEP. If only one form has been completed about an individual student, a representative from the OMSP may present the student to the COSEP at their discretion.

Professionalism Evaluation Form (PEF)

(1) During the M3 and M4 years , all staff or training personnel, which may include advisors, faculty members, course directors, residents, administrative personnel or ancillary staff who are either concerned about the professional development/actions of a medical student or who wish to acknowledge the exemplary professional behavior or a medical student, will be offered the opportunity to complete a Professionalism Evaluation Form (PEF).

(2) A representative from the OMSP will read and monitor these forms in a confidential file located in the OMSP. If more than one form has been completed for an individual student suggesting a pattern of unprofessional or inappropriate behavior, a representative from the OMSP will present the student to the Committee on Student Evaluation and Promotion (COSEP). If only one form has been completed about an individual student, a representative from the OMSP may present the student to the COSEP at their discretion.

Student Notification:
The OMSP will notify students of a substandard or concerning NEF or PEF .

Student Dismissal:
Following a review by the COSEP, the failure to satisfactorily complete a remediation plan offered by the COSEP, or the subsequent receipt of a new NEF/PEF which addresses concerns previously outlined and was the focus of a prior remediation program shall be considered as grounds for dismissal.

  1. Submission of Grades and Evaluations First and second year grades. Within one week of the student assessment (i.e., examination) the course director will report grades for first and second year students to the OMSP. This may include but not be limited to course data sheets, spreadsheets, and copies of the rosters from the Registrar's Office. The course director must report any delay to the OMSP.
  2. Third and fourth year grades and evaluations. Course directors should report a student's grade(s) and descriptive evaluations for clerkships to the OMSP within four weeks after completion of the clerkship. Such evaluations will be available for review by the student in the OMSP; these are maintained in the clinical course file for each student. The course director must report any delay to the OMSP.

Notification of Grades

  1. Within one week, the OMSP will release the grades achieved by all first and second year students to the students. The OMSP must report any delay of greater than one week to the Chair of the COSEP.
  2. The OMSP shall notify all students who attain any course failures or incomplete grades. Special notice is provided to any student who attains multiple failures.
  3. A student who fails a clinical clerkship will be notified by a representative from the OMSP. Such notification will include an explanation as to why the performance was found unsatisfactory. Students with a grade of Fail in a clinical clerkship must consult with both the course director and the representative from the OMSP regarding reasons for the failure and possible remediation plans. Remediation plans are to be approved by COSEP. Pending successful remediation, the student is to be removed from ongoing clinical rotations.

Recording of Grades

  1. Office of Medical Student Programs (OMSP) records. A student's OMSP record will reflect all aspects of the student's academic progress through the college, including records of any course failures, even though rectified by make-up examinations or repetition of the course(s). This permanent record may be used only for the legitimate business of the Office of the Dean or by the COSEP in their evaluation of the progress of a student in the college. When a student is to be considered by the COSEP, an appropriate member of the OMSP will provide the Committee with information relevant to its deliberations.
  2. Transcripts. Official transcripts sent from the Registrar's Office will reflect an unabridged version of the student's enrollment record at Rush Medical College. For students matriculating in 2008 and subsequently, all aspects of the student's academic progress through the college, including records of any course failures, even though rectified by make-up examinations or repetition of the course(s), shall be listed.
  3. Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE). The COSEP endorses the following OMSP policy on the MSPE. Consistent with the Rush Medical College transcript, the MSPE shall reflect an unabridged version of the student's enrollment record at Rush Medical College. All aspects of the student's academic progress through the college, including gaps in the educational timeline, such as a Leave of Absence, and records of any course failures, even though rectified by make-up examinations or repetition of the course(s), shall be described.

Definition of Student Status

The status of a student shall be determined in accordance with these rules by the OMSP or the COSEP. All statuses shall be recorded on the transcript. Status shall be defined as follows:

  1. Full time student. Any student enrolled in the College, paying tuition or appropriate fees and scheduled to take courses leading to the M.D. degree is a full time student.
  2. Independent Study. Independent Study coursework is academic work outside the established curriculum setting and is detailed in an agreement between the OMSP and a student. It can provide students with a unique opportunity to work on carefully selected projects under the direct tutelage of faculty members with a shared interest. In addition, independent study can also be used for remedial programs. All requests for Independent Study will consist of a formal educational plan, which includes objectives, specified timeline, and faculty mentor. This will be reflected on the transcript and become part of the student's file/record. This program is non-credit, non-tuition bearing enrollment limited to a defined time period — typically a 6 month limitation.
  3. Leave of Absence (LOA). A student who, for a predetermined period of time, is not paying tuition and not actively enrolled or pursuing requirements for an M.D. degree at the College shall be on a LOA. The length of an LOA is for no greater than one year. Any extension beyond a year must be approved by the OMSP and the COSEP.
  4. Intent to return. A student may not go on a Leave of Absence without first stating in writing to the OMSP his/her intent to return to the college to complete the requirements for an M.D. degree.
  5. Procedure. The OMSP shall decide upon requests for a Leave of Absence and shall determine their duration and the condition of any such leave. A representative from the OMSP will notify the COSEP insofar as possible before approving a Leave of Absence for a student with academic deficiencies.

Changes in student status are all recorded on the transcript :

Dismissal. Dismissal is the permanent administrative termination of a student.

Suspension. Suspension is the administrative termination of the enrollment of a
student for a specific period of time.

Withdrawal. Withdrawal is the voluntary termination of enrollment by a student.

  1. A student who withdraws from the college and subsequently seeks reinstatement must submit a written petition for reinstatement to the Committee on Admissions of the College, if withdrawal took place before the completion of the student's first quarter of enrollment. If the student withdrew subsequent to the first quarter, the student must submit a written petition to the COSEP for reinstatement.
  2. A student who fails to engage for courses according to the policies of the College will be considered to have withdrawn. A student withdrawing under this provision may submit a written petition to the OMSP for reinstatement. The OMSP shall determine whether special circumstances existed which justified the student's failure to engage or whether the student's petition should be forwarded to the COSEP as set forth in subsection (a) above.

Advancement to M-3 status. Students must successfully complete all M-1 and M-2 requirements and sit for the NBME Step 1 examination prior to beginning the M-3 clinical curriculum. Students who subsequently do not pass the NBME Step I Exam will be withdrawn from their clinical schedule and returned to a status of an M-2 student pending receipt of a passing score on this exam. Students must pass the NBME Step I Exam within 9 months of completing the M-2 coursework or will be referred to the COSEP for dismissal.

Advancement to the M-4 status. A student must complete core clinical clerkships
in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Neurology and Surgery prior to beginning the M-4 clinical curriculum.

Grades and Examinations

The grading system for Rush Medical College shall be established by the COSEP and
adhered to by course directors.

Course Grades:

  1. All M1 and M2 courses use a uniform minimum pass level (MPL).
  2. Minimum Pass Level (MPL) shall be calculated as the final course score that is 1.5 standard deviations below the class mean.
  3. If the final calculated MPL is above 70 percent, then the MPL is lowered to 70 percent.
  4. Any score of less than 55 percent will be considered a failure regardless of the calculated MPL.

M1-M2 Grading. The following grades may be awarded for the blocks :

H (Honors) — performance of superior quality as judged by the course director using criteria established and provided to students in written form at the beginning of the course. Students should not be required to carry out extra work over and above that required of other students in order to qualify for an Honors grade. Typically, Honors is awarded to those students in the top 15% of the grade scheme.

P (Pass) — all requirements for the course have been completed satisfactorily as scheduled.

F (Fail) — a grade of “Fail” is assigned when a student's performance in a course is unsatisfactory and insufficient to qualify for a grade of “Pass”. A student whose overall record is unsatisfactory in a course because of unexcused absences from examinations or other evaluative exercises will have earned a ‘Fail' grade.

I (Incomplete) — a grade of ‘Incomplete' may be assigned by a course director to a student who has not completed all the course requirements and has received permission to defer completion of unmet course requirements from the OMSP. The course director shall determine what work will be required to remove the Incomplete and shall establish a specific time within which the student must complete such work. This timeline should be reported to OMSP for monitoring. Such time shall not extend beyond one quarter following the completion of the course, unless otherwise approved by the Office of Medical Student Programs.

The Physicianship Program is graded pass / fail / I / W.

M3-M4 Grading. The following grades may be awarded:

H (Honors) — performance of exceptional quality, as judged by the course director, using criteria established and provided to students in written format at the beginning of the course. Students should not be required to carry out extra work over and above that required of other students in order to qualify for an Honors grade.

High Pass (HP) — performance of superior quality, as judged by the course director, using criteria established and provided to students in written format at the beginning of the course. Students should not be required to carry out extra work over and above that required of other students in order to qualify for a High Pass grade.

P (Pass) — all requirements for the course have been completed satisfactorily.

F (Fail) — a grade of “Fail” is assigned when a student's performance in a course is unsatisfactory and insufficient to qualify for a grade of “Pass”. A student whose overall record is unsatisfactory in a course because of unexcused absences from examinations or other evaluative exercises will be awarded a ‘Fail' grade. The course director may assign a failure grade based on the composite clinical evaluations and/or inadequate professional or behavioral performance.

Withdrawn (W) — a grade of ‘Withdrawn' may be assigned by a course director in consultation with OMSP to a student who has not completed all the course requirements and has received permission from OMSP to end their participation in the course without credit. The withdrawn grade will be reflected on the student transcript.

I (Incomplete) — a grade of ‘Incomplete' may be assigned by a course director to a student who has not completed all the course requirements and has received permission from OMSP to defer completion of unmet course requirements. The course director shall determine what work will be required to remove the Incomplete and shall establish a specific time within which the student must complete such work. Such time shall not extend beyond one quarter following the completion of the course, unless otherwise approved by the Office of Medical Student Programs. The incomplete grade will be reflected on the student transcript. Students with an incomplete in a clerkship may be removed from ongoing clinical rotations at the discretion of the OMSP.

Student Performance Assessment in a Course

Performance evaluation . Course directors will develop methods for evaluating
student performance that are designed to best evaluate students for
the specific course. The course director will determine the format and length of
examinations. Methods for evaluating student performance developed by the course director shall be approved by COSEP. These grading formats and methodology shall be provided in written format to the students enrolled in the course/program. Additionally this information must be provided in written format to the Committee on Curriculum and Evaluation (CCE) team reviewing the course.

Midterm and final examination periods. No classes are scheduled during examination periods. Examinations in pre-clinical courses are scheduled by a representative from the OMSP.

Absences from Examinations.

Excused absences . Students with valid reasons may request in writing permission to be excused from a scheduled examination prior to that event. The decision to grant such permission will be made by a representative from the OMSP. If permission is granted, a representative from the OMSP will consult with the course director to develop a mechanism to complete this course requirement. A student denied permission may request the Associate Dean, Medical Student Programs to review the denial. The Associate Dean's decision in the matter shall be final. Documentation for illness and other absence excuses will be required.

Unexcused Absence . Any unexcused absence from an examination shall be viewed by the COSEP for further action. A student with an unexcused absence may not sit for a substitute or make-up exam.

Failed courses in first and second years.

The make-up exam is a singular opportunity to recover from an uncharacteristic performance resulting in a final grade below the required standard (MPL). This allows a student the opportunity to overcome a single bad day or bad exam performance. These make-up examinations are not designed to compensate for a pattern of performance demonstrated by multiple failures , a lack of time to study, or time for preparation.

Make-up Examination Procedure. A student earning a failing grade at the completion of a course shall be given a single opportunity to take a single make-up examination. The following guidelines apply:

  1. Failures of M-1 and M-2 courses will require an educational remediation program prior to retaking an exam.
  2. Pending the COSEP approval, a student may take make-up examinations when and if the course failing grade was due to that examination. In addition, make-up examination are only permitted in no more than two courses for the academic year. If more than two courses are failed, the student's complete academic record will be presented to the COSEP for their determination of his/her status for future/continued enrollment.
  3. Make-up exams for the M-1 program must be completed during the summer break between the M-1 and M-2 years. The course director will determine format, content, and passing level for the make-up examination in their program, which must be provided to the COSEP, students, and the OMSP in written format. All make-up policies from each course must be approved by the COSEP. Make-up exams will be scheduled for the year by a representative from the OMSP in consultation with the course directors. No student may advance to the next level of training without completing the requirements for the current enrollment year.
  4. Remediation needs for the M-2 program of studies must be reviewed by the COSEP and should make-up exams be part of the educational plan, those exams must be completed prior to any clinical core clerkship coursework.
  5. Students with a record of two or more course failures for the academic year will be presented to the COSEP for determination of a remedial plan.
  6. Effective with the entering class of 2008, all failures and re-mediated course work will be recorded on the student's permanent record, and all course work will appear on the student's official transcript.
  7. Make-Up Examination Timing - These exams will be scheduled in August following the completion of the academic year. All grades from these exams must be received by the OMSP at least two weeks before the start of the next course work.

Status of students with course failures

At appropriate times during the academic year, as determined by the Chairman of the COSEP in consultation with a representative from the OMSP, the COSEP will review the students who have failed courses or have been recommended by a course director for a review by the COSEP. Students are encouraged to utilize all resources available to them, including academic advisors, student counseling center, consultation with learning specialists, and neuropsychological evaluators to assist with their performance.

After such review, the COSEP shall establish requirements that a student must meet in order to resolve his/her deficiencies in academic performance or shall recommend dismissal.

Remediation Referral and Delay in Academic Progression

Criteria for Student Referral to the COSEP.

  1. Students with academic or professional issues identified will be referred to the
    COSEP.
  2. Pre-clinical course directors and clinical clerkship directors may refer students
    with identified academic or professional issues directly to the COSEP for review.
  3. The following academic deficiencies will result in automatic referral to the
    COSEP:
    (a) A student who receives two or more pre-clinical course failures.
    (b) A student unsuccessful in rectifying a course failure by a make-up exam.
    (c) A student who has a failure in a single required clerkship or an elective
    clerkship.
    (d) A student who does not pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), Step I within 9 months following the completion of the M2 coursework.

M1-M2 Years . The COSEP shall establish requirements for remedial work for students whose outstanding course failures in the first or second year have not been completed by make-up exams. Remediation requirements shall be reasonably related to the seriousness of the student's deficiencies. Such requirements may include, but need not be limited to: a) summer tutorial study with re-examination, b) participation in an approved summer course, c) retaking
failed courses during the next academic year, d) advisor counseling, or e) retaking all courses including those satisfactorily passed. In addition, the COSEP may require the student to participate in an Individual Education Plan. An Individual Education Plan is, an agreement with a student that outlines the remedial plan. In developing requirements, the COSEP may consult with a representative from the OMSP, the student and their advisor, and/or the course director to consider the needs of the individual student. The COSEP will endeavor to develop a program, which, if successfully completed, will strengthen the student's prospects for successfully completing the remainder of his/her medical college program.

M3-M4 Years. A representative from the OMSP will present all failures in a required core or elective clerkship to the COSEP. With approval by the COSEP, remediation plans shall be completed in a manner prescribed by the course director consistent with the reasons for the student's failure. Should a student be required to repeat all or part of the core clinical rotation, efforts should be made to have the student work with different supervisory and instructional staff during that repeated coursework if possible. In addition, the COSEP may require the student to participate in an Individual Education Plan.

A student failing an elective clerkship must either repeat the elective or, with the approval of the COSEP, complete an alternative elective.

Third or fourth year students whose academic progression has been delayed must notify the OMSP at least three months in advance of their intended date of return to clinical activities.

The M-3 clinical year can be entered in either July or January of the academic year.

Academic Dismissal

Grounds for dismissal. The following shall constitute grounds for academic dismissal from the College:

  1. Outstanding failures, in any combination, in the first or second year courses whose total of scheduled instructional hours is significant, as determined by the COSEP in consultation with the OMSP. An outstanding failure is a failure which remains after a student has not passed a course's single make-up examination or which remains because the student did not qualify to take the make-up examination.
  2. Failure in a core clerkship with subsequent failure in the remedial plan.
  3. A failure in a second required core clerkship, even though one may have previously been made up.
  4. Unsatisfactory completion of a remedial program.
  5. A determination by the COSEP that a student is not fit to practice medicine. Fitness for the practice of medicine includes but is not limited to a demonstrated ability to be a competent and effective physician and performance that reflects good moral character, sense of responsibility, sound judgment, and the ability to master and properly apply subject mailer. Alternatively, a student may be judged unfit for practice by the COSEP following a single act or pattern of unprofessional behavior.
  6. Following a review by the COSEP, the failure to satisfactorily complete a remediation plan offered by the COSEP or the subsequent receipt of an unsatisfactory course evaluation or NEF/PEF which addresses concerns previously outlined and were the focus of a prior remediation program.
  7. Failure after three attempts to pass Step I of the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE), or failure to record a Pass on Step I nine months after completing the M-2 coursework, shall automatically result in dismissal by the COSEP.
  8. Beginning with the entering class of 2008, failure after three attempts to pass USMLE Step II (both Clinical Skills and Clinical Knowledge sections of this Step), or failure to record a Pass on Step U within one year of the first attempt, shall result in automatic dismissal.
  9. Inability to successfully complete all M-1 and M-2 requirements (including USMLE Step 1) within 3 years of matriculation. Special non-academic reasons for extension of this timeline will be reviewed on an individual basis by the OMSP but must be reported to the COSEP for approval.
  10. Inability to successfully complete all M-1, M-2, and M-3 requirements within 4 years of matriculation: Special non-academic reasons for extension of this timeline will be reviewed on an individual basis by the OMSP but must be reported to the COSEP for approval.
  11. Inability to successfully complete all requirements for graduation within 5 years of matriculation. Special non-academic reasons for extension of this timeline will be reviewed on an individual basis by the OMSP but must be reported to the COSEP for approval.
  12. Following a review by the COSEP, the failure to satisfactorily complete a remediation plan offered by the COSEP or the subsequent receipt of a new NEF/PEF which addresses concerns previously outlined and was the focus of a prior remediation program, shall be considered as grounds for dismissal.

Procedure for Dismissal

Review and Recommendation. The COSEP shall review the performance of a student in accordance with these rules, and where appropriate, may recommend the dismissal of a student.

The appeal to the COSEP. The Chairman of the COSEP shall notify the student who is subject to a COSEP recommendation for dismissal of the COSEP's action and of the student's opportunity to meet with the COSEP (called the appeal to COSEP) before it submits its recommendations to the Faculty Council. If the student fails to request a meeting with the COSEP within fourteen days from his/her receipt of the Chairman's notice, the student will have waived any right to such a meeting. In an appeal of a recommendation of dismissal, a student may be accompanied by an attorney. However, the attorney's role will be limited to advising his/her client and he/she will not be permitted to directly participate in the meeting. The COSEP may have an attorney present to advise the Chairman and Committee members.

Recommendation to the Faculty Council. After meeting with the student, if such meeting is requested in proper and timely manner, the COSEP shall submit its recommendation in writing to the Faculty Council. If the student fails to request a meeting with the Faculty Council within fourteen days from his/her receipt of the Chairman's notice of dismissal recommendation, the student will have waived any right to such a meeting.

Faculty Council Procedure . Students with a dismissal recommendation from the COSEP will have an opportunity to be heard by the Faculty Council. The Faculty Council will sit as an appeals committee with a senior faculty member of the Faculty Council presiding with the Dean present. The Chair of the COSEP and members of the OMSP will present the basis for the COSEP recommendation of dismissal. The Faculty Council will review the basis of the recommendation and the process followed by OMSP and COSEP and following discussion in the presence of the Dean will provide their decision as a recommendation to the Dean. The Faculty Council will provide feedback to the COSEP via communication between the chairs of these groups. The Dean will review the recommendations from both the COSEP and the Council when rendering the final decision for the student.

COSEP Policies and Procedures, July, 2011: