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2018 Conference on Medical Student Education

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P19 The Lake Wobegon Effect: Are All Our Students Above Average?

David Sperling, MD; Stacey Gardner, PhD

02/2/18 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM Austin Grand Ballroom J-K

Narrative comments regarding student performance are essential for student success. Ideally, these comments allow students to receive specific written feedback regarding areas of strength and areas for continued improvement (aka "negative comments"). These comments are often also used to help compose various "high stakes" documents, including the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) and the Department of Medicine Summary Letter. Despite the fact that balanced feedback, including areas for improvement, are often included in the prompt for these comments, many times only areas of strength are included. Are evaluators reluctant to include areas for continued improvement, fearing this might jeopardize their student's success on residency applications? We are beginning to explore this idea, presenting data from our institution and quantifying the frequency with which areas for continued improvement are included in clerkship summary comments. We will also present information from a review of the literature summarizing guidelines for writing summative comments focusing on the medical setting.

Upon completion of this session, participants should be able to:

  1. Review quantitative data regarding "negative" comments from NEOMED's M3 clerkship evaluations.
  2. Consider if and how prompts for comments might change the content of the comments.
  3. Reflect how evaluators might incorporate constructive comments in evaluations at their institutions.


Copyright 2018 by Society of Teachers of Family Medicine