A Movement to Change Grading at the Medical School

Learn how to avoid bias in medical student evaluations. You have an opportunity to sign a letter to the Deans requesting consideration of a pass/fail grading system for clerkships.

Avoiding Bias in Medical Student Evaluations

Disparities in academic medicine persist for both women and underrepresented minority students. Subjective evaluations make up a large proportion of clerkship grades and thus unchecked bias in medical student evals can have long term and detrimental impacts.

This unconscious bias can be mitigated with thoughtful and deliberate reflection.

Please see the following document to educate yourself on avoiding bias in med student evaluations.

Avoiding Bias in Medical Student Evaluations

Letter to the Deans

The medical students have drafted a letter to the deans, laying out bias issues in the current clerkship grading system. Please see an excerpt below:

In summary, we want to know what the University of Michigan Medical School is actively doing to address issues of racism, discrimination, and prejudice within the clerkship grading system that will affect the career trajectories of its students beyond deploying a workgroup.

They make the following suggestions:

In order to make the UMMS grading system more equitable and transparent, we suggest the following ideas, which are derived from Dr. Bullock’s and Dr. Hauer’s article: 

  • Analyzing the current grading data during clinical rotations stratified by race, gender, and socioeconomic status and methods (e.g., “hawk/dove” grading system) & making these results transparent prior to changes and continuing to make this data transparent for future classes
  • Following data collection and evaluation, considering pass/fail grading for clerkships with grading occurring in the branches portion of the curriculum during the clinical electives of our respective fields of interest
  • Training to all residents and faculty on how to grade and give feedback to address issues of bias more acutely in the clinical setting

Residents and Fellows are invited to sign the letter. If this is an issue you support, please consider adding your name to the letter. You can find the entire text of the letter in a Google Doc, where you can add your name to the signatories. If you intend to sign, please do so by January 28th.

Sign the Letter