In Pursuit of Honors: A Multi-Institutional Study of Students' Perceptions of Clerkship Evaluation and Grading

Justin L. Bullock, Cindy J. Lai, Tai Lockspeiser, Patricia S. O'Sullivan, Paul Aronowitz, Deborah Dellmore, Cha Chi Fung, Christopher Knight, Karen E. Hauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

PURPOSE: To examine medical students' perceptions of the fairness and accuracy of core clerkship assessment, the clerkship learning environment, and contributors to students' achievement. METHOD: Fourth-year medical students at 6 institutions completed a survey in 2018 assessing perceptions of the fairness and accuracy of clerkship evaluation and grading, the learning environment including clerkship goal structures (mastery- or performance-oriented), racial/ethnic stereotype threat, and student performance (honors earned). Factor analysis of 5-point Likert items (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree) provided scale scores of perceptions. Using multivariable regression, investigators examined predictors of honors earned. Qualitative content analysis of responses to an open-ended question yielded students' recommendations to improve clerkship grading. RESULTS: Overall response rate was 71.1% (666/937). Students believed that being liked and particular supervisors most influenced final grades. Only 44.4% agreed that grading was fair. Students felt the clerkship learning environment promoted both mastery and performance avoidance behaviors (88.0% and 85.6%, respectively). Students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine were more likely to experience stereotype threat vulnerability (55.7% vs 10.9%, P < .0005). Honors earned was positively associated with perceived accuracy of grading and interest in competitive specialties while negatively associated with stereotype threat. Students recommended strategies to improve clerkship grading: eliminating honors, training evaluators, and rewarding improvement on clerkships. CONCLUSIONS: Participants had concerns around the fairness and accuracy of clerkship evaluation and grading and potential bias. Students expressed a need to redefine the culture of assessment on core clerkships to create more favorable learning environments for all students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S48-S56
JournalAcademic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges
Volume94
Issue number11S Association of American Medical Colleges Learn Serve Lead
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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    Bullock, J. L., Lai, C. J., Lockspeiser, T., O'Sullivan, P. S., Aronowitz, P., Dellmore, D., Fung, C. C., Knight, C., & Hauer, K. E. (2019). In Pursuit of Honors: A Multi-Institutional Study of Students' Perceptions of Clerkship Evaluation and Grading. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 94(11S Association of American Medical Colleges Learn Serve Lead), S48-S56. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0000000000002905