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Acad Med. 2002 Nov;77(11):1096-100.

Should medical school faculty see assessments of students made by previous teachers?

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  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine and the Division of Infectious Diseases, University Health Network, Toronto General Hospital, Ontario, Canada.


Whether medical school faculty should be provided with assessments of students made by previous teachers remains controversial. To document which schools have implemented policies that address this issue and to characterize the specific features of these policies, in 1998 the authors conducted a direct mail survey of deans of student affairs and medical education at 144 medical schools in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Replies were received from 129 (90%) of the 144 medical schools. Of those schools, 72 (56%) reported having policies that address this issue. The policies permit the sharing of information in 38 (53%) of the 72 schools that had policies; therefore, at the time of this study, 29% of the 129 medical schools that responded to the survey had a policy that permits the sharing of assessment information. The policies permit the sharing of information related to problems with academic performance (35%), professional conduct (35%), physical health (25%), and miscellaneous circumstances, such as learning disability (5%). Information may be shared with clerkship coordinators (44%), course directors (35%), faculty mentors (11%), clinical faculty supervisors (8%), and resident supervisors (3%). The findings show that there is considerable diversity in the format and content of policies that address the issue of whether medical school faculty should be provided with information about students' assessments made by previous teachers. The authors explain why policies that require the provision of such information are helpful to medical school faculty, and offer recommendations based on the survey findings.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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