Reviewing Internal Medicine Clerkship Grading Through a Proequity Lens: Results of a National Survey

Acad Med. 2023 Jun 1;98(6):723-728. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000005142. Epub 2023 Jan 6.


Purpose: Equity in assessment and grading has become imperative across medical education. Although strategies to promote equity exist, there may be variable penetrance across institutions. The objectives of this study were to identify strategies internal medicine (IM) clerkship directors (CDs) use to reduce inequities in assessment and grading and explore IM CDs' perceptions of factors that impede or facilitate the implementation of these strategies.

Method: From October to December 2021, the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine of the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine conducted its annual survey of IM core CDs at 137 U.S. and U.S. territory-based medical schools. This study is based on 23 questions from the survey about equity in IM clerkship assessment and grading.

Results: The survey response rate was 73.0% (100 of 137 medical school CDs). Use of recommended evidence-based strategies to promote equity in clerkship assessment and grading varied among IM clerkships. Only 30 respondents (30.0%) reported that their clerkships had incorporated faculty development on implicit bias for clinical supervisors of students; 31 (31.0%) provided education to faculty on how to write narrative assessments that minimize bias. Forty respondents (40.0%) provided guidance to clerkship graders on how to minimize bias when writing final IM clerkship summaries, and 41 (41.0%) used grading committees to determine IM clerkship grades. Twenty-three CDs (23.0%) received formal education by their institution on how to generate clerkship grades and summaries in a way that minimized bias.

Conclusions: This national survey found variability among medical schools in the application of evidence-based strategies to promote equity in assessment and grading within their IM clerkships. Opportunities exist to adopt and optimize proequity grading strategies, including development of programs that address bias in clerkship assessment and grading, reevaluation of the weight of standardized knowledge exam scores on grades, and implementation of grading committees.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Clerkship*
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Humans
  • United States