Pre-Clerkship Examination Policies

TUSM First- and Second-Year Examination Policies and Procedures

The function of examinations is to monitor the progress of students and to evaluate the competence of instruction.  They are considered an integral part of the learning process and are, as such, designed to stress concepts and emphasize problem-solving approaches. It is expected that all students follow the examination policies and procedures.

Absence from Preclinical Examinations

The following Absence from Preclinical Examination Policy is for extenuating circumstances only. Attendance at all examinations is mandatory and it is expected that all students will take the examination on the day and time scheduled.  Health, family, or personal emergencies that may interfere with attendance at an exam must be discussed with and approved by the Student Affairs’ deans PRIOR to the start of the exam.  The deans will notify the course director and the Office of Educational Affairs (OEA).  As soon as circumstances permit, the student is required to confer with the Office of Student Affairs and the course director to arrange make-up examination(s). Please note that make-up examinations are not administered in advance of the scheduled exam date.

A student who has an emergency within a few hours of an exam MUST NOTIFY the Student Affairs’ deans who will notify the OEA and the Course Director. The OSA office number is (617) 636-6534; contact Dean Kerle: janet.kerle@tufts.edu.  If the Associate Dean for Students is not available, a message may be left in the Office of Student Affairs on Sackler 4. This message system does not formally excuse a student from an exam.  It will serve to notify the Associate Dean for Students that the student will be absent from the exam and that the emergency was reported prior to the start of the exam. 

Seating

  • Students are assigned a seat for each exam.
  • Your seat assignment/location will be sent by email prior to the exam and it is your responsibility to confirm your seat location as it may change from exam to exam.
  • Students who may have issues with their current exam seating are encouraged to inform the OEA to see if accommodations can be made.

ExamSoft Download Policy

Students are responsible for downloading exams within a specified window of time (usually 48-72 hours), determined by the Office of Educational Affairs (OEA).  The OEA will notify students by email that their exam is ready for download.   Unless otherwise specified by the OEA, students will have until 2 p.m. on the business day before the exam is scheduled to download the exam so that any technical issues that arise may be addressed immediately, unless otherwise stated.  Therefore, if an exam is on a Monday, it must be downloaded before 2:00pm on the Friday before that exam is scheduled. Should there be a delay in posting the exam for download, the deadline will be extended accordingly.  Students who fail to comply with the download deadline will meet with the Student Affairs’ deans. If the download deadline is not adhered to a second time, the student will receive a grade of “zero” on the exam (which may result in failing the course) and be brought to the Student Ethics and Promotions Committee.

Arrival

  • Students may not bring personal belongings into the seating area of the testing room.
    • Backpacks and purses should be left in student lockers. 
    • Head coverings (except for religious reasons) may not be worn and should be stored in student lockers.  
    • Students may only wear pocket-less sweaters, sweatshirts, and jackets.
  • Phones (turned off or silenced) and smartwatches should be left in student lockers or with proctors.  If an electronic device emits a sound during the examination, the device will be collected, and the student will report to the Office of Student Affairs at the close of the exam. 
  • No food is allowed during examinations (except for health accommodations – students must apply through the OSA well in advance of the examination); drinks are permitted IN SEALED CONTAINERS. 
  • Exams will begin on time. 
  • Students must arrive and be seated 15 minutes before the beginning of an exam.
  • Exams will be administered in two different locations.  Specific information will be sent to students by email prior to every exam. 

 

Late Arrival to Exams

  • Students who arrive up to 30 minutes after an exam start time may begin the exam but will not receive additional time at the end of the exam.
  • Students who arrive late for an exam (up to 30 minutes beyond the exam start time) must immediately contact the Associate Dean for Students in Sackler 4, Office of Student Affairs.  The Associate Dean for Students may permit a student with extenuating circumstances to take the exam. 
  • Students who arrive more than 30 minutes after the start time of an exam will not be permitted to take the exam and will receive a zero score.  A zero exam score may result in a failure for the course and require review by the Promotions Committee in June.

Seating

  • Students must sit one seat away from each other during exams.
  • The seat assignment will be emailed prior to the exam. 
  • If a student has a concern about the seat in which they have been assigned it is their responsibility to contact the OEA immediately about it.
  • Students are not permitted to change their seats during exams without permission to do so.

Start

  • Unless otherwise specified, students will be given one packet of scrap paper.  Students must PRINT their name CLEARLY on the paper (it must be turned in at the end of the exam).
  • Student may use their own pencil or pen with the scrap paper.
  • Laptops should be turned on, sound turned off, and plugged in.
  • Students may only begin their exam when the announcement is made by the OEA staff person to do so.
  • Start and finish times and the number of exam questions will be written on the board.

 

During the exam

  • All technical problems during exams must be brought to the attention of the exam proctor.
  • Content-based questions will not be addressed; concerns about the exam questions should be sent to the OEA after the exam.
  • When using the restroom, students should tip down the top of their laptops or “hide” their screens.

 

Finish

  • Students are given a 10, 5, and 2-minute warning prior to the end of the exam.
  • Once the 2-minute warning is given, students are to remain seated until the end of the exam.
  • When the "stop" announcement is made, students must immediately stop work, submit and upload their exams.  Failure to stop after the announcement is made will result in a report to the Associate Dean for Students.
  • All paper (if provided) must be turned in at the proctor’s desk with the students NAME PRINTED CLEARLY ON THE PAPER.
  • All students must confirm submission of their exams by showing the proctor the “green screen” and checkmark. Failure to do so can result in the OEA contacting the student after the exam if it turns out the import was not done successfully.

Departure

  • Students are to exit through the doors designated by the proctor so that students still taking the exam will not be disrupted by noise from the lobby.

Secure Testing

The Curriculum Committee has voted to use a system of secure testing.  This means that exam questions will be kept in a secure exam-question bank.  Exams will not be returned to students.  There will be opportunity for self-assessment during the course with a series of on-line quizzes and/or interactive (i.e, iClicker) questions in lectures. 

Distribution of Examination Results

The OEA scores and returns interim multiple-choice exam results to students usually within five business days.  Essay examinations or other grading that requires manual scoring may take up to three weeks depending on faculty availability.  Results are posted to Examsoft or distributed on the third floor in the OEA. 

The exams themselves are not returned.  Exams and answers will be posted on a board in the OEA for several days with set viewing times.  Students will be sent an email with information about when they may view the exams in the OEA. Sharing exam answers or questions with students who have not yet taken the exam is a violation of the TUSM Honor Code and students who do so will be subject to disciplinary action.  Note: exams are only available for viewing during this time frame and will not be available during the summer remedial exam period. However, students will have access to course study materials/quizzes on TUSK.

At each stage in the educational process, the Student Affairs, Educational Affairs administration and faculty identify those students who are in academic difficulty or who are failing in order that proper remedial measures may be taken by the student.  It is the responsibility of the each student to pick up exam results in order to monitor his/her progress and to notify the Office of Student Affairs if tutorial assistance is desired.

Policy on Grade Reporting

Grades for course requirements other than multiple-choice examinations (essay examinations, small group participation, written assignments, presentations, etc.) are reported to the OEA by the course director two-three weeks after the deadline assigned to the work and prior to the end of the course.*  The OEA records and reports cumulative scores to course directors and academic deans. 

Multiple choice examinations are scored in the OEA using ExamSoft. The OEA runs grade reports on the day of the exam and provides an item analysis to the course director within 24 hours whenever possible.  Changes approved by the course director are applied to the exam questions and the OEA generates updated reports.  The OEA follows the grade guidelines as specified in the course syllabus.  Exam reports are posted to Examsoft.

Scores are reported to students when they are complete. Students who score less than 70% on exams are strongly encouraged to meet with course directors for assistance.  Score rosters are also given to academic deans so that students can be contacted about tutorial services.  The Office of Student Affairs will offer assistance or tutorial services to students who are falling behind or failing.

*Grading may require additional time based on the complexity of the material to be graded.  It may not be possible to report score details to students until after the course is completed.

Calculating Cumulative Scores for Final Grading

Calculation of final cumulative scores is done by the OEA except for courses where evaluation is solely based upon faculty evaluation of student performance.  In these cases, the evaluations with written comments are submitted to the OEA.

Final cumulative scoring is in accordance with the description provided to students in the course syllabus.  In extenuating circumstances, a course director may need to change the grading criteria while a course is in progress. As an example, should an examination not take place because of a weather-related school closing, the course director may allocate this component of the grade to other course elements.  Any change to the structure of final grades is recorded in the OEA and reported in writing to students prior to the end of the course.

Final Evaluation of Students

All first- and second-year courses and units are graded as Pass/Fail.  Information for evaluation may be derived from examinations, from student-faculty contacts in laboratory sessions and conference groups, or other requirements defined by the course director.  Final grading is determined by the course director and reviewed by the OEA. 

Once final grading is determined, the OEA applies the final course grading to the cumulative scores and reports them to the Registrar.  In general, final grades are completed within two weeks of the end of each course.  Failure notices are emailed to students from the OEA immediately.  Final grades are posted to TUSK.

Grade Appeal Policies

Preclinical Written Exams: Following the return of an examination to the class, there is a period of ten academic days during which a student may review the exam with the course director in order to determine if the grade on the examination should be changed. Usual reasons for making a change would include incorrect grading or an arithmetic error in computing the grade. Changes to interim exam scores are accepted in writing from the course director to the OEA. Changes that alter final grades are accepted in writing from the course director to the Registrar with a copy to the OEA. If the student does not discuss the issue with the course director during the ten academic day period, the student forfeits the right to have the grade change considered.

Standardized Patient or OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Exam) Exams: Course, clerkship or OSCE directors automatically review the data (including reviewing videotapes as necessary) of students who fail to achieve a satisfactory score on any standardized patient or OSCE exam. Students may not appeal the grading of these exams. Students may not review the videotapes for the purpose of challenging the scoring/grading of the exam. At the discretion of the course, clerkship or OSCE director, a student may review videotapes of the exam (in the presence of the course, clerkship or OSCE director or other designated faculty member) for the purpose of receiving feedback.

Clerkships: Students who believe they have received an incorrect grade (either due to an arithmetic error or other cause in computation of their grade) must begin the appeal process by contacting his or her clerkship site director and Carol Duffey (Registrar’s Office) within 30 academic days of receipt of the clinical evaluation. If the site director feels that there is merit to the student’s appeal, the site director must contact the Clerkship Director to re-open the grading process. If there is found to be a basis for changing the grade, the clerkship director will notify the Registrar’s Office. If the clerkship site director feels there is no basis for the grade change, the student will be notified by the site director that their grade will not change. Maine Track LIC students who want to appeal a grade should contact Dr. Bob Trowbridge, Dr. Amy Kuhlik and Carol Duffey.