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J Grad Med Educ. 2014 Jun;6(2):292-5. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-13-00179.1.

A multicenter study of the family educational rights and privacy act and the standardized letter of recommendation: impact on emergency medicine residency applicant and faculty behaviors.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Residency applicants have the right to see letters of recommendation written on their behalf. It is not known whether applicants are affected by waiving this right.

OBJECTIVES:

Our multicenter study assessed how frequently residency applicants waived their FERPA rights to view their letters of recommendation, and whether this affected the ratings they were given by faculty.

METHODS:

We reviewed all ERAS-submitted letters of recommendation to 14 ACGME-accredited programs in 2006-2007. We collected ERAS ID, program name, FERPA declaration, standardized letter of recommendation (SLOR) use, and SLOR Global Assessment ranking. The percentage of applicants who waived their FERPA rights was determined. Chi-square tests of independence assessed whether applicants' decision to waive their FERPA rights was associated with their SLOR Global Assessment.

RESULTS:

We examined 1776 applications containing 6424 letters of recommendations. Of 2736 letters that specified a Global Assessment, 2550 (93%) applicants waived their FERPA rights, while 186 did not. Of the applicants who chose not to waive their rights, 45.6% received a ranking of Outstanding, 35.5% Excellent, 18.3% Very Good, and 1.6% Good. Of applicants who waived their FERPA rights, 35.1% received a ranking of Outstanding, 49.6% Excellent, 13.7% Very Good, and 1.6% Good. Applicants who did not waive their FERPA rights were more likely to receive an Outstanding Assessment (P  =  .003).

CONCLUSIONS:

The majority (93%) of residency applicants waived their FERPA rights. Those who did not waive their rights had a statistically higher chance of receiving an Outstanding Assessment than those who did.

PMID:
24949134
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC4054729
Free PMC Article
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