Evaluation of Student Performance

The faculty of Albany Medical College has a responsibility not only to its students but also to the public which its students and graduates will serve. A basic part of that responsibility is to assure that our students and graduates perform in a manner consistent with the most appropriate standards of scholarship and professional behavior accepted by society and the medical profession.

The ultimate responsibility for decisions affecting the status of any student has been delegated by the Board of Trustees of Albany Medical College to standing or ad hoc committees of the faculty, such as the Promotions Committees, Disciplinary Hearing Panels and Committee on Student Appeals.

Medical students at Albany Medical College are graded utilizing a modified pass-fail system. The grades Excellent, Good, Marginal and Unsatisfactory may be awarded as described below. Distinguished performance is recognized by awarding the grade Excellent with Honors. Students whose performance is below the Good level may be given the opportunity to bring performance up to a passing level through individually arranged remedial exercises followed by re-evaluation.

In evaluating clinical performance, supervising faculty are required to judge professional characteristics in formulating the final grade. Along with problem solving ability, clinical judgment, skills and knowledge, faculty members will consider qualities that are part of an effective and humane physician's personal attributes, including honesty, trustworthiness, respect for confidentiality and social sensitivity. The faculty assessment of these characteristics, the professional profile, is retained in the student's permanent records. This profile provides the basis for a more comprehensive summary of performance, as might be forwarded to other institutions in support of the student's application for advanced training. In all instances, students are aware of and have opportunity to discuss with both the evaluating faculty and their faculty advisors all final grades and judgments relating to the aspects of the professional profile assessment as noted above.

A category of longer-term deficient performance occurs when there is an accumulation of marginal and/or unsatisfactory grades at the end of the curriculum period or upon completion of the curriculum year.

When a student has been identified as performing at an unsatisfactory or sustained marginal academic level, the Promotions Committee must make a determination relative to the student's continuing in the regular academic program, continuing in a modified program, repeating the year, being dismissed or other action deemed appropriate to the circumstances.

Upon completion of all third-year curriculum activities, including evaluation and promotions functions, the upper one-third of the class will be defined through a grade summation which is course duration weighted. Students in the upper one-third of the class will have this designation noted on the reverse side of their transcript, available to all who normally have access to such records. Such information is felt to be of benefit to students requesting letters of recommendation in support of applications for graduate training.

The Promotions Committee meets shortly after each general examination period, as determined by the chair of the committee. Where students are not performing satisfactorily, the Promotions Committee may determine at this time that a student may:

Be placed on probation and continue in the regular program.

Repeat the year.

Be dismissed.

At the end of each school year, the faculty committees on promotion again review the academic record and achievements of each student and forward through the Chair of the Promotions Committee to the Academic Governing Council:

A recommendation that students who have evidenced no significant deficiencies be promoted to the next succeeding year.

A recommendation that students in the fourth academic year who have completed required course work, and who have evidenced no significant deficiencies, be graduated from Albany Medical College.

A recommendation that students who have excelled in their achievement during that academic year receive letters of commendation or the committee may take other appropriate action.

In addition to evaluations conducted by Albany Medical College, students are required to take (and submit scores from) United States Medical Licensing Examination: Step I in June of the second year and Step II at the end of the fourth year. A second-year student not formally excused from taking the Step I USMLE in June of their second year will be required to sit for (and submit scores from) the examination in September of that year. The student will not start third-year rotations until after taking the examination.

There will, occasionally, be incidents or reports of behavior on the part of a particular student or students (other than those normally resolved through interaction of the Promotions Committee or the Student Honor Committee with the Office of the Dean) which may raise serious questions about the fitness of an individual to continue in the study and eventual practice or teaching of medicine. Such matters shall first be referred to the Dean or his designee who shall recommend appropriate action. If that recommendation is dismissal, a student is entitled to a hearing by a Disciplinary Hearing Panel in order to present his or her case.

It is the aim of Albany Medical College to comply with both the intent and the letter of the General Education Provisions Act, Section 438, as amended by Section 513 of Public Law 93-380 and Section 2 of Public Law 93-568, which deals with the rights of privacy and access to educational records. An outline of students' basic rights and the procedures established in order for the College to provide these rights is available in the Office of Student Records.