University of Southern California
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Grading and Evaluation

The Keck School of Medicine employs a system of evaluation and grading designed to encourage student self-reliance, to stimulate the student's independent quest for knowledge and to promote excellence in academic achievement.

For courses of the medical curriculum, the Keck School of Medicine does not award numerical or letter grades. The evaluation process leading to a satisfactory or unsatisfactory report is based on performance of the student in relation to announced course criteria. Throughout medical school, students will be evaluated on their fund of knowledge, problem-solving ability, professional behavior, relevant personality traits and clinical and interpersonal skills. Additional information on grading and evaluation is contained in the handbook provided to every enrolled medical student.

Faculty instructors are responsible for establishing evaluation criteria appropriate to the objectives of each course, discipline and clerkship, and for specifying the manner in which evaluative information is to be gathered. Instructor comments on student performance form an integral part of a student's total evaluation. For each evaluation, descriptive comments based on the student's overall performance in relation to course criteria are submitted for permanent file to the office of the associate dean for student affairs, together with performance reports of satisfactory, unsatisfactory or honors.

The student's permanent file is used to prepare a letter from the dean of the Keck School of Medicine, which accompanies student applications for internships and residencies, and to determine scholastic suitability for election to Alpha Omega Alpha, the medical school honor society. These records are maintained by the Office for Student Affairs; students may review their records during regular office hours. During the lifetime of the physician, the permanent student record may be consulted as evidence of completion of the required curriculum and as certification for licensure.

Grading and evaluation policies for graduate degree programs and for joint M.D./Ph.D. degrees are established in conjunction with the Graduate School. In general, courses taken in partial fulfillment of graduate degree requirements receive letter grades that are recorded by the Graduate School.