COM Student Handbook 

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Rules Specific for a Given Year

Remediation of modules and miniboards in M1 and M2 years 

Students who receive a deficient grade for a single module during an academic year shall remediate the module in which that grade was received. Remediation will occur at the end of academic year schedule and is scheduled in consultation with and supervised by the Assistant Dean for Curriculum Integration. The Assistant Dean of Assessment and Evaluation, or designee, will provide the performance profile of the students under remediation to assist in determining the weak areas of the student.

The Assistant Dean for Curriculum Integration will generate the customized plan for remediation.  The overall goal of the plan is to help the learner exceed the minimum standards of knowledge, skills, and attitudes of each area of weakness. Timing and duration of remediation will be determined by the Assistant Dean of Curriculum Integration on a case-by-case basis.  This should not exceed 6 weeks if remediating the entire module.

The plan will be customized for each student based on the student performance data.  The customized plan may include all or part of the following:

  1. Completion of learning materials and practice questions from educational resources (e.g. textbooks, journal articles, recorded lectures, etc.) or educational platforms (e.g. Osmosis, Aquifer, etc.) within a prescribed time frame
  2. Attendance of any learning sessions with individual faculty
  3. Completion of any writing assignments
  4. Achieving the minimum passing score on any customized test that is put together
  5. Completion of any form of assessment found suitable for the remediation content

Successful remediation requires a student successfully complete the customized remediation plan’s assessment outcomes.  Success will be determined by the Assistant Dean of Curriculum Integration. For a student remediating an F grade for a single module, the original F grade remains on the official transcript. Successful remediation of module during the summer will earn a P grade as a separate course recorded in the official transcript. 

A student who receives a deficient grade for failing two modules, will not be allowed to remediate in the summer of the academic year and will repeat the year or be subject to dismissal pending decision of the SPEC. If the year is repeated successfully, only the % scores earned for the original module(s) are used to determine class rank. 

Failure to successfully remediate a deficient module grade(s) on first attempt will trigger an automatic review by the SPEC.  

M3 Year

Policy for Students Who Fail a Miniboard

Students in all clerkships will be required to pass each clerkship miniboard, with a minimum passing score set at the 8th percentile nationally. 

Conversion of a raw 2-digit NBME scores to national percentile is determined by an NBME conversion table, which is provided with the official test scores for each clerkship and organized

according to academic quarter. For USA clerkships, quarter 1 is July- September, quarter 2 is October-December, quarter 3 is January-March and quarter 4 is April-June. Percentile scores are based on the academic quarter during which an exam is taken. In the event that a student is sufficiently delayed in beginning the junior year, the academic quarter will be adjusted to correspond to time of delay. 

A student who makes a failing percentile score on the miniboard but otherwise receives a numerically passing score for the clerkship will receive a temporary grade of U. If the failed miniboard occurs during the first semester, the student will be allowed to retake the exam the first week of January pending approval by the clerkship director. If the failed miniboard occurs during the spring semester, the student will be allowed to retake the exam during the period after the final rotation and before the beginning of M4 year electives. A successful retake requires a score ≥8%tile tabulated for the original quarter the exam was taken. If the miniboard retake is successful the U grade converts to a UP; however, the original numeric score of the failed miniboard (65) is used to determine the final clerkship score and class ranking. 

An unsuccessful first retake of the miniboard will be recorded as a UF and require the student to repeat the clerkship as a 4-week, individually customized course, culminating with a second retake of the miniboard for which the 8%tile remains the minimum passing score. This will occur during the time frame scheduled for the first block in the senior year. If the student successfully remediates the miniboard on the second retake, and performs satisfactorily in the clinical portion of the clerkship, a grade no higher than P will be earned and entered as a new course in the student’s transcript. If a student fails the NBME on the second retake, then a grade of F will be assigned.  Failure of the miniboard on the second retake will require a referral of the student to SPEC, which can require the student to repeat the entire clerkship, repeat the year, or recommend dismissal. 

Failing two different clerkship miniboards or failing the same clerkship miniboard twice will trigger a meeting of the SPEC. If a student receives a grade of U on more than one clerkship due to failure to pass the miniboard, there will be an automatic review by SPEC. SPEC may: 

  • Require the student to repeat both miniboards
  • Require the student to repeat both clerkships in their entirety, delaying graduation
  • Require the student to repeat the entire third year
  • Take other action as deemed necessary, up to and including dismissal. 
Policy for students who receive a deficient grades for Final OSCE

A M3 student who scores <70% on any one or more stations in Final OSCE gets a U grade and two chances to remediate all failed stations. If successfully remediated within 60  days of the first attempt, the U converts to a UP. Please refer to the section entitled Objective-Structured Clinical Examinations for the remediation process and various outcomes.  
Students are promoted to the 4th year contingent upon passing, or successful remediation, of Final OSCE. For a student who does not remediate Final OSCE within 60 days, the U grade converts to an UF, and the student is referred to SPEC with a recommendation for dismissal.  

Policy for M3 students who have failed one clerkship in the M3 year

Students who receive an F grade in a clerkship, regardless of passing the miniboard, shall be required to repeat the clerkship. Repeating the clerkship in its entirety will require a passing score (refer to cutoffs above) on the retaken miniboard. Upon successful remediation, the student shall be promoted into the senior year in good standing. Failure to successfully remediate will could result in dismissal. Students who successfully remediate a clinical clerkship may be required by SPEC to take an Acting Internship on that subject in the M4 year.

Policy for dismissal in the M3 year

A student is subject to dismissal from medical school for the following reasons: 

  • An F or UF grade is received for two or more different clerkships
  • An F or UF grade is received for the same clerkship twice
  • Failing a clerkship miniboard for the third time
  • Failing to successfully remediate the Final OSCE


M4 Year

The M4 Year officially begins when the student has been promoted into that year by SPEC. Credit for courses begun following the end of classes in the Junior year, but before the regular end-of-year meeting of SPEC, will be officially transferred into the senior year following promotion as described. 

In the event that a senior receives an (I), the course director and student will arrange for a timely fulfillment of the required performance. If the Incomplete remains on the record for 6 months, the matter will be referred to SPEC for a hearing under the Academic Standards section. 

International Electives

Students who wish to take international electives for credit must have the elective approved by the Associate Dean for Medical Education. In addition, the student must contact the University’s Office of International Programs and Development, which coordinates international studies for faculty and students. Students are required to purchase special insurance offered through that office to cover a variety of situations that may occur during international travel. 

Off-Campus Courses

Senior students must take 20 weeks of their senior course requirements at USA. The remaining 12 weeks of course work may be taken off-campus (in-state or out-of-state) with approval of the student’s advisor, the appropriate departmental chair, and the Associate Dean for Medical Education or designee. M1, M2, and M3 students must take all required courses at the University Of South Alabama College Of Medicine.