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Using a Grading Committee to Address Grading Challenges

Objective: Final grades in the clinical clerkships are becoming increasingly important for medical students, especially as USMLE Step 1 becomes de-emphasized in residency applications by changing to a pass/fail assessment. Because these are high stakes assessments, the implementation of a grading committee can help to formalize the process, address individual issues, and improve equity by mitigating bias. We present our institution’s process using a committee comprised of clerkship directors from our two campuses, clerkship coordinator, and residents to address challenges in assessing a final grade.


Methods: (1) Presentation of background regarding previous literature on the value of team-based grading and committee best practices, as well as data from our institution regarding disparities in subjective clerkship grading. (5 minutes)

 (2) Interactive discuss of examples from our experience in challenging grade situations and their resolution through our committee approach. Examples include limited evaluation data from instructors, weighing and incorporating professionalism lapses into final assessment (10 minutes)

 (3) Discuss best practices for a team approach for a holistic evaluation (5 minutes)


Results: Creating a grade committee can help formalize the final assessment process, address individual issues, and improve equity by reducing bias.


Conclusion/ Discussion: Internal data from our institution has shown that students of color are more likely to receive lower clerkship final grades compared to White students, even when adjusted for objective data such as NBME scores, which underscores the role that individual evaluator bias plays in grading. A grading committee comprised of multiple educators of various training levels and backgrounds partly aims to address such biases.

Topics: Faculty Development Seminar, 2022, Faculty, Clerkship Director, Clerkship Coordinator, Systems-Based Practice & Improvement, Practice-Based Learning & Improvement,

General Information

Faculty,Clerkship Director,Clerkship Coordinator,
Systems-Based Practice & Improvement,Practice-Based Learning & Improvement,
Clinical Focus

Author Information

Bradley Bruggeman, MD; Erika Wert, MD

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