Student Progress and Promotions Committee

The Student Progress and Promotions Committee (SPPC) is charged with monitoring students’ progress through the curriculum. The committee regularly reviews each student’s performance and makes recommendations to the Dean of the College of Medicine on such actions as graduation, promotion, remediation, dismissal, and leaves of absence. Final authority on all matters of student progress and promotion is vested in the Dean of the College of Medicine.

Testing and Grading Policies
Student work is assessed by faculty members through the assignment of grades upon completion of all required courses and clerkships. Basic science grades are based upon such measures as written and oral examinations, laboratory practicals, and case write-ups. During the clinical years, grades are accompanied by detailed descriptive comments reflecting the instructors’ impressions of the student’s knowledge, attitudes, and technical skills. The emphasis of student evaluation is to place as much responsibility as possible on the student to secure continuous feedback relative to academic performance. To this end, departments should provide, when feasible, both non graded and graded examinations to enable students to be aware of strengths and weaknesses in their comprehension of the material. Because of previous advanced academic pursuit in a biomedical discipline, some students may wish to bypass a particular first- or second-year course. With permission of the course director and the Student Progress and Promotions Committee, a student may sit for an “opt-out” examination. The course director will determine the appropriate level of performance for bypass privileges. Students will be required to pass a written, comprehensive, standardized basic science examination (United States Medical Licensing Examination – Step 1) before promotion to the third year. Students may sit for three consecutive administrations of the examination in the attempt to achieve a passing score. During the interval between repeated attempts to pass the examinations, students are in a non promotional category. If unsuccessful after the third attempt, students will be dismissed from the College of Medicine. Students will be required to take a Clinical Performance Examination (CPX) at the end of the third year. Students who do not pass the initial examination will be required to participate in remediation activities. CPX performance scores are placed in the students’ academic record. Students exhibiting marginal performance in course or clerkship work may be required to repeat that course or clerkship or to perform some other form of remediation. Poor performance, withdrawal, or failure may necessitate summer school attendance at another institution, delayed graduation, and/or dismissal. Faculty members in each department determine the level of student competence in the course or clerkship for which they are responsible. Every department shall submit to the registrar’s office in the Office of Student Affairs a grade and, when possible, written comments on each student’s performance no later than four weeks after the completion of the clerkship. The Office of Student Affairs will provide every student with a copy of this grade sheet as soon as possible after it is received in the Office of Student Affairs. Several courses and clerkships provide students, through the Office of Testing and Evaluation, individual feedback reports. These reports give students detailed information about their examination performance, including individual strengths and areas of weakness, and a comparison of the individual performance to that of the class as a whole. The reports also help students prepare for the steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination. The Office of Medical Education will not issue transcripts, endorse certified documents, process enrollment, or nominate for graduation any student who fails to clear outstanding University debts (tuition, housing, financial assistance, fines, etc.).

Promotion Criteria for Numeric Grades

The education of a physician is a complex process, longitudinal in character, with many incremental steps. To assure that students graduating from the College of Medicine have the necessary knowledge, skills, demeanor, and ethical principles essential to professional competence, the following procedures will be used to evaluate and promote students:

  1. At regular intervals, the SPPC will review the academic record of each student and make specific recommendations addressing promotion, remediation, or dismissal. Beyond these recommendations, potential actions include but are not limited to adjustment of academic load, repetition of curriculum segments, and participation in counseling sessions.
  2. Promotion to sequential semesters or years in the curriculum is contingent upon the student’s attaining the expected level of performance as prescribed by the faculty of the College of Medicine. Students attaining a numeric average of 93.0% or higher in their current academic year will be promoted to the subsequent year With High Distinction. Students attaining a numeric average of 90.0% to 92.9% will be promoted With Distinction. This accomplishment will be noted in the students’ academic records and on their transcripts. Commencement honors of High Distinction and Distinction will be awarded at graduation for students who attain the appropriate cumulative average.
  3. A non-promotional category identifies students who are not being promoted because of unfulfilled requirements. These students may be involved in remediation activities, may be working to complete an “I” grade, or may be retained because they have not passed the standardized comprehensive examination. Students in the non-promotional category will be promoted on the basis of satisfactory correction of the deficiency or will be dismissed.
  4. A non-routine promotion category will identify students receiving a numeric average of 76.0% to 79.9% in their current academic year.  It will indicate marginal performance and warrant close monitoring. Marginal performance may indicate the need for remediation or repetition of curriculum segments. Continued marginal performance may be justification for dismissal. Unlimited opportunity to repeat courses, clerkships, or curriculum sequences is neither feasible nor desirable.
  5. A student receiving a numeric grade below 70.0% in a course or clerkship has performed at an unacceptable level. To address the issue, the SPPC will review both the student’s academic record and the recommendations of the department that assigned the mark. The SPPC will determine a plan of action that may include remediation; repetition of all or a portion of the course, clerkship, or curriculum year; or dismissal from the College.
  6. A probation category identifies those students who attain a numeric average of 70.0% to 75.9% for any academic year and those students who receive a numeric grade below 70.0% in a course or clerkship. Students promoted on probation must improve their academic performance in the subsequent academic year or risk dismissal.
  7. Dismissal from the College will result when students have an annually calculated numeric average of 69.9% or below; receive two or more numeric grades below 60.0%; receive three or more numeric grades between 60.0%-69.9% (inclusive); receive a numeric grade below 70.0% while on academic probation; or fail any of the comprehensive standardized examinations on three consecutive attempts. At the discretion of the SPPC and the Dean, students may be dismissed if they receive two numeric grades below 70.0%.

Grading System For Numeric Grades
Numeric grades in the College of Medicine range from 0.0%-100.0%. College of Medicine required and elective courses and clerkships will use the following numeric grade definitions:

Grade Achievement Level
90.0% to 100.0% – Represents exceptionally high achievement in performance.
80.0% to 89.9% – Represents the expected level of achievement or performance in each course. This grade reflects students’ competence in all areas of course requirements.
70.0% to 79.9% – Represents marginal performance.
60.0% to 69.9% – Represents unsatisfactory performance in a specific area of course requirements. It indicates that the student might earn a passing grade upon completion of make-up work. The must be made up by remediation or repetition of the course before the student can be promoted to the next year.
59.9% or below – Represents failure or unacceptable performance in a course.
P — Represents a passing grade in a course taken on a pass-fail basis.
W — Denotes withdrawal from the College or from an elective course. A grade of “W” must be approved or recommended by the Student Progress and Promotions Committee. Withdrawal from a required course is not permitted, except when a student withdraws from the College.
I — Represents incomplete work for courses as of the ending date of the course. It is given only when there is a reasonable possibility that a grade of 70.0% or better will be earned upon completion of the work.  An “I” grade may be awarded only under extenuating circumstances and by permission of the course director and acknowledgement by the assistant dean for Student Affairs.  Failure to complete a course by the ending date without course director permission may result in a failing grade.   All "I" grades in required courses must be removed by a passing grade before a student can be promoted to a subsequent year.  If a student later withdraws from the College, an outstanding "I" grade can revert to a "W", “W/P” or W/F” grade at the discretion of the SPPC.

 Promotion Criteria for GPA Based Grading System

The education of a physician is a complex process, longitudinal in character, with many incremental steps. To assure that students graduating from the College of Medicine have the necessary knowledge, skills,

demeanor, and ethical principles essential to professional competence, the following procedures will be used to evaluate and promote students:

  1. At regular intervals, the SPPC will review the academic record of each student and make specific recommendations addressing promotion, remediation, or dismissal. Beyond these recommendations, potential
    actions include but are not limited to adjustment of academic load, repetition of curriculum segments, and participation in counseling sessions.
  2. Promotion to sequential semesters or years in the curriculum is contingent upon the student’s attaining the expected level of performance as prescribed by the faculty of the College of Medicine. Students attaining a GPA of 3.7 or higher in their current academic year will be promoted to the subsequent year With High Distinction. Students attaining a GPA of 3.5 to 3.69 will be promoted With Distinction. This accomplishment will be noted in the students’ academic records and on their transcripts. Commencement honors of High Distinction and Distinction will be awarded at graduation for students who attain the appropriate GPA.
  3. A non promotional category identifies students who are not being promoted because of unfulfilled requirements. These students may be involved in remediation activities, may be working to complete an “I”
    grade, or may be retained because they have not passed the standardized comprehensive examination. Students in the non promotional category will be promoted on the basis of satisfactory correction of the deficiency or will be dismissed.
  4. A non routine promotion category will identify students receiving marginal grades whose performance warrants close monitoring. Marginal performance may indicate the need for remediation or repetition of curriculum segments. Continued marginal performance may be justification for dismissal. Unlimited opportunity to repeat courses, clerkships, or curriculum sequences is neither feasible nor desirable.
  5. A student receiving a grade of “U” or “E” has performed at an unacceptable level. To address the issue, the SPPC will review both the student’s academic record and the recommendations of the department
    that assigned the mark. The SPPC will determine a plan of action that may include remediation; repetition of all or a portion of the course, clerkship, or curriculum year; or dismissal from the College.
  6. A probation category identifies those students who attain a GPA of less than 2.5 for any academic year and those students who receive“U” or “E” grades. Students promoted on probation must improve their academic performance in the subsequent academic year or risk dismissal.
  7. Dismissal from the College will result when students have an annually calculated cumulative GPA of less than 2.0; receive two or more“E” grades; receive three or more “U” grades; receive a “U” or “E” grade while on academic probation; or fail any of the comprehensive standardized examinations on three consecutive attempts. At the discretion of the SPPC and the Dean, students may be dismissed if they receive two “U” grades.


Grading System for GPA Based Grading System
College of Medicine required and elective courses and clerkships will use the following grade definitions:

Grade Achievement Level
A — Represents exceptionally high achievement in performance. It is valued at four (4) quality points for each credit hour.
B — Represents the expected level of achievement or performance in each course. This grade reflects students’ competence in all areas of course requirements. It is valued at three (3) quality points for each credit hour.
C — Represents marginal performance. It is valued at two (2) quality points for each credit hour.
E — Represents failure or unacceptable performance in a course. It is valued at zero (0) quality points for each credit hour.
P — Represents a passing grade in a course taken on a pass-fail basis. It is not used in quality point calculations.
W — Denotes withdrawal from the College or from an elective course. A grade of “W” must be approved or recommended by the Student Progress and Promotions Committee. Withdrawal from a required course is not permitted, except when a student withdraws from the College.
U — Represents unsatisfactory performance in a specific area of course requirements. It is given instead of an “E” grade when evidence exists that the student might earn a passing grade upon completion of make-up work. In the interim, the “U” will be valued at 1 quality point for each credit hour. The temporary “U” grade must be made up before the student can be promoted to the next year. The quality point calculation will then be the average of the “U” and the grade given after make-up.
I — Represents incomplete work for courses as of the ending date of the course. It is given only when there is a reasonable possibility that a grade of "C" or better will be earned upon completion of the work.  An “I” grade may be awarded only under extenuating circumstances and by permission of the course director and acknowledgement by the assistant dean for Student Affairs.  Failure to complete a course by the ending date without course director permission may result in a failing grade.   All "I" grades in required courses must be removed by a passing grade before a student can be promoted to a subsequent year.  If a student later withdraws from the College, an outstanding "I" grade can revert to a "W", “W/P” or W/F” grade at the discretion of the SPPC.