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Grading

Academic standards for successful completion of each course are contained in the course syllabi. Specific requirements for each course, including academic assignments, evaluation and grading schemes, and other conditions of satisfactory performance are contained in course syllabi. Modifications to course requirements and grading schemes may be made when judged necessary to improve instruction or to conform to scholastic regulations of the college. Students are expected to participate in all scheduled activities. Participation may be considered when assigning course grades.

Evaluation of Student Performance

Successful completion of the curriculum depends upon the student's ability to demonstrate the knowledge, attitudes, and skills commonly held by the graduate physician assistant working in a primary care setting. The use of a trained intermediary by the student is not permitted.

Frequency of examinations and evaluations is determined by course directors according to the volume and types of material covered. Primary methods used for evaluating student performance are by written examination, multiple choice, matching, true/false, short answer and essay-type questions. Evaluation of performance also may include demonstrations of particular skills: examples include identifying and naming anatomic structures, setting up and using a microscope to identify organisms and tissues, suturing of materials and tissues together, medical interviewing and physical examination, clinical problem-solving, and participating in group discussions. In some courses, research, self-learning and written reports are required. Evaluation of students in clinical and laboratory settings will often require students to demonstrate visual, somatic, communicative, analytical, behavioral and discriminatory skills. Participation at lectures and laboratory sessions may be used when evaluating student's performance in a course. Professionalism is also assessed and graded. Students will be required to successfully complete practical assignments that include technical skills, problem-solving skills, interactions with patients and other health care workers, and the use of research tools (textbooks, journals and sources of medical information). An overall performance grade based on the above factors is assigned for each course and clinical practicum. Students shall be informed of their progress through formal and informal feedback mechanisms and through grades. Course syllabi contain the value(s) of grade components during a course. Students are generally advised of their progress through interactions with instructors and preceptors.

Grade Appeals

Grades are assigned according to requirements contained in the course syllabus. Grade appeals must be submitted in writing and comply with the Student Grievance Policy found in the General Student Handbook. Disputes over individual grades within a course are handled at the course level by the course director and involved faculty members. Course grades may be appealed if: 1) The final course grade has been incorrectly assigned to the student (e.g., a miscalculation or failure to include points earned by the student in the final grade); 2) The final course grade has been unjustly rendered (e.g., did not follow the procedures outlined in the course syllabus); or 3) The final course grade appears to have been assigned in a capricious manner. A student will first seek to resolve the academic problem or complaint through the appropriate administrative channels, entering at the lowest appropriate level and proceeding in the order contained in the Student Grievance Policy with the exception that the Chair of Physician Assistant Studies shall be inserted. Grade appeals must be submitted within five working days of their official posting. Appeals of decisions must be initiated by the student in writing within five (5) working days of receipt of the decision. The decision of the Dean concerning academic appeals is final.

Remediation of Failing Course Grades

Any PA student who receives less than a passing grade in a course must remedy the deficiency and/or raise that grade to passing or face dismissal from the PA program. The opportunity to remedy a failing grade is a privilege that must be earned by the student and is subject to the approval of the Director of Physician Assistant Studies.  

Opportunity to remedy deficiencies depends on whether the student has made serious prior efforts to earn a passing grade. Such efforts may include:

• Participation in scheduled educational experiences

• Participating in class, laboratories, and small group activities

• Seeking help with study skills through the Center for Aca­demic Performance (CAP)

• Notifying the course director of problems before a failing grade occurs

• Seeking help from the faculty during the regular offering of the course

 Failure to remedy any failing grade or improve academic performance while on academic probation can lead to dismissal from the program. Remediation could include repeating courses or a series of courses, up to and including an entire semester or year. In the event a required course is no longer offered, remediation may include returning to the program under new graduation requirements listed for the class in which the returning student is entered into. Failed and remedied course grades are both posted on the student’s official transcript.

Academic Honors

It is a Health Science Center tradition to recognize its highest scholars and promote academic excellence. Students may be awarded “Honors” upon graduation if their overall grade point average is greater than or equivalent to 3.51 on a 4.0 scale. No more than 20% of a single PA graduating class will be awarded “Honors” at graduation.

The Dean's List is established to recognize academic excellence when the student achieves a semester grade point average of 3.51 or greater for a semester that is primarily didactic. Due to the variable nature of clinical practica, Dean's List recognition is not awarded for clinical practica. A student who has been placed on probation for any reason during their enrollment is not eligible for Dean's List recognition. Other special awards may be utilized by the PA program to recognize exceptional academic, clinical, and leadership performance by a student. Special awards are not annotated on the student's official transcript. No graduate who has failed a course or rotation, or who has not been enrolled as a full-time student, or who has been placed on academic or disciplinary probation during their enrollment can receive a degree with honors.

This page last modified April 1, 2011

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