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Assessment of Student Performance

Academic Success

The mission of the School of Medicine is to provide educational services and programs for medical students who need academic support to improve their academic progress and for students to enhance their academic achievements. Through services provided by the University Academic Success Center and specialized programming provided by the School of Medicine’ Office of Teaching and Learning, students are empowered to develop the academic skills and abilities to promote and demonstrate academic excellence. For a full description of all our programming please see this link:

We are here to help you succeed. At entry students sign the MD Learning Expectations which shows us that they are committed to their own success. Students are empowered to take responsibility for their own learning and educated on where to go for help when they are not demonstrating success in all required competencies.

WSUSOM Examination Policies

Examination Policies

  1. Exam materials both written and electronic are property of Wayne State University School of Medicine. Students are not allowed to possess these materials outside of a secure testing facility nor are students allowed to transmit information regarding these materials. Such behavior is considered academic misconduct and may result in a referral to the University Code of Conduct Office.
  2. During the examination process, testing facilities are considered secure, which means that students are not allowed to possess non-permitted items on their person, at their seat, or in the testing facility. All non-permitted items are to be stored in a student’s locker. Items are NOT to be stored in the examination facility or adjacent hallway during the examination process. Storage of these materials on the floor constitutes a fire hazard and not allowed. Permitted and non-permitted items include the following:
    1. Permitted Materials
      1. Exam packet (envelope, exam booklet, scantron, images), if applicable
      2. A non-alarmed watch
      3. Pencils
      4. Erasers
      5. WSU student ID
      6. Earplugs
      7. Beverage
      8. Wallet or Purse – However, these items must be stored in your pocket or under the seat.
    2. Non-Permitted Materials
      1. Large/bulky coats
      2. Backpacks, satchels, luggage or briefcases
      3. Food – Students are not allowed to consume food in the testing facility during an exam.
      4. Reference materials (e.g., books, notes, papers)
      5. Scrap paper or paper for taking notes.
      6. Electronic devices that can transmit, store, or receive information including but not limited to cellular phones, pagers, cameras, video recorders, laptops, ipads, ipods or electronic organizers.
      7. Hats and hoods – Students wearing brimmed hats must remove them or turn them backwards. Students wearing hoods must remove them. Students are permitted to wear religious or cultural head attire (e.g., turban, hijab, yarmulke) as long as it does not interfere with the examination process.
    3. The length of all WSUSOM internally developed exams is based on the number of items (i.e., questions). For each item, 1.2 minutes is allotted plus an additional 10 minutes for citations. The total length of the exam is rounded up to the next minute. The length of external exams (e.g., NBME sponsored exams) and laboratory exams might be different.
    4. The official start time of all WSUSOM exams is defined in the class calendar. Students will be allowed into the testing facility 20 minutes prior to the start of each exam. The exam will begin with the reading of instructions at the designated start time.
    5. Students that show up after the start of the exam are not allowed to sit for the exam at that time. Proctors will inform the student that they must report to their counselor in the Office of Student Affairs to request an excused absence. If the counselor grants an excused absence, the student will take the exam on the next scheduled make-up date, which is also posted on the logistics memo sent out by Testing Services. This policy applies to students taking exams under regular testing conditions and to those receiving testing accommodations.

Types of Examinations

There are two types of examinations: non-promotional and promotional. Non-promotional examinations are used solely to allow students to assess their understanding of the material. The purpose of promotional examinations is to determine whether students have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills to pass the course/clerkship. The School uses protected exams for promotional examinations, which will not be returned to students. Students are not permitted to copy and/or share information regarding the content of protected examinations.

Examinations could include items from material covered in lecture notes, required readings, laboratories, and online assignments. The examinations may be purchased or developed by the course director. There will be promotional examinations in:

Year Subject(s)
Year 1: Gross Anatomy, Histology, Biochemistry, Physiology, Clinical Nutrition, Neurosciences, Medical Genetics, Population, Physician and Patient (P3)
Year 2: Immunology/Microbiology/Infectious Disease, Psychiatry, Pathobiology, Pharmacology, Pathophysiology, Clinical Medicine 2 with Physical Diagnosis
Year 3: Family Medicine, Medicine, Pediatrics, Neurology, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Surgery
Year 4: Emergency Medicine

The examination schedule, including make-up examinations, and remedial examinations is determined by the Director of Assessment and Medical Education Research in consultation with the Assistant Dean for Pre-Clerkship Education (Years 1 and 2) or the Assistant Dean for Clinical Education (Year 3 and 4).

Absence from an Exam

In some instances it might not be possible for a student to be present for an examination due to either a serious health problem or other unavoidable circumstances. It is at the discretion of the student’s counselor in the Office of Student Affairs to grant or deny an excused absence for an examination. An excused absence permits the student to take a make-up examination at the scheduled make-up date. See section on Excused Absences for further information.

Make-Up Examinations

An examination of comparable content is administered to students who have an excused absence. The examination is not returned to the student. At the time of the make-up or re-examination, the item citation process has concluded, therefore students taking these exams cannot participate in the item citation process.

For Years 1 and 2 there are scheduled make-up examinations times approximately on a monthly basis. Refer to the Curriculum Guide for the specific dates. All make-up examinations must be completed in a timely manner. Once a new course has started, missing exams from a previous course must be prioritized and taken first in the exam make-up schedule. Students are automatically scheduled for the next make-up examination time, but may, at the discretion of the Assistant Dean for Pre-Clerkship Education, be granted a customized make-up exam schedule to complete courses in a timely manner only under extenuating circumstances.

For year 3 each specialty department allows special designated testing dates for missed clerkship examinations. The exact dates for scheduled make up examinations are established by the Director of Assessment in consultation with the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education. Please see for the specific dates.

Academic Dishonesty Regarding Examinations

Disruptive Behavior During Examinations

A student engaging in disruptive behavior (i.e. behavior that interferes with the testing environment of other examinees) will receive a verbal warning. If the disruptive behavior continues, the student will be escorted to the Office of Student Affairs. The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in consultation with the appropriate education assistant dean (Pre-Clinical or clinical) will be responsible for evaluating and deciding appropriate next steps for a student who has engaged in disruptive behavior during examinations.

Disruptive Behavior in Course-Related or Clinical Activity

A student engaging in disruptive behavior (i.e. behavior that interferes with the educational or clinical environment of other students, faculty or employees at a clinical site) will receive a verbal warning. If the disruptive behavior continues, the student should be referred to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. The Assistant Dean of Student Affairs will be responsible for evaluating and deciding appropriate next steps for a student who has engaged in disruptive behavior in a course-related or clinical setting.

Academic Misconduct

Irregular Behavior During Examinations

Academic misconduct includes all actions or attempted actions on the part of a student that would or could subvert the examination process. Examples of irregular behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • Failing to comply with any testing policy, procedure, rule, and/or instruction of a proctor
  • Providing specific information regarding the content of examination to any other student
  • Seeking and/or obtaining specific information about the content of an examination from another student
  • Seeking and/or obtaining access to examination materials prior to the administration of an examination
  • Theft of examination materials
  • Impersonation of a student or engaging a proxy to take the examination
  • Copying answers from another student
  • Allowing another student to copy your answers
  • Possessing unauthorized materials during an examination
  • Making notes of any kind during the examination except in the test booklet
  • Taking photos of test materials
  • Reconstruction of test content through memorization
  • Altering or misrepresenting examination scores
  • Continuing to bubble in or erase an answer sheet after time is called
  • Failure to report suspected or actual irregular test-related behavior or cheating of fellow students

A student observed or reported to have engaged in Irregular Behavior during an examination will be escorted to the Assistant Dean for Pre-Clerkship Education or the Assistant Dean for Clinical Education, as appropriate.

The Assistant Dean for Pre-Clerkship Education or the Assistant Dean for Clinical Education, in consultation with the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, will be responsible for evaluating and deciding appropriate next steps for a student who has engaged in Irregular Behavior during an examination. To the extent such Irregular Behavior falls under the umbrella of Cheating, it will be handled pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct as discussed below.


A student whose behavior gives the appearance of cheating (e.g., who appears to be looking at another student’s answer sheet, examination booklet, or computer monitor) may be moved to a different seat for the remainder of the examination. Failure to move when requested will result in the collection of the examination and a zero for the exam.

A student observed to be cheating during the examination will be escorted to the Office of Student Affairs and reported to the Assistant Dean for Pre-Clerkship Education or the Assistant Dean for Clinical Education, as appropriate. Other forms of academic dishonesty (e.g., plagiarism) will also be reported.

All forms of cheating or plagiarism constitute “academic misbehavior” under the Student Code of Conduct and will be handled pursuant to the procedures set forth in SCOC.

Excused Absences

The authority to grant or deny an excused absence is the responsibility of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, and by delegation to the student’s counselor.

An excused absence does not mean that a student is excused from an activity (examinations and other required activities), but rather the student will be allowed to make-up the activity. Excused absences are granted the day of the activity and are based upon an unforeseen circumstance preventing the student from participating. All excused absence requires appropriate documentation.

Students cannot be granted a retroactive excused absence to set aside the results of an examination, nor can the result of an objective examination be appealed to a course or clerkship director. Students who get sick during an examination, and bring it to the attention of a testing proctor, will be handled on an individual basis.

Limit on Number of Excused Absences

Due to the intense nature of the requirements for academic progression with the medical education curriculum, no more than 6 excused absences from examinations (including make-up exams) will be granted in a given academic year.

Excused absences will be monitored and students who fall 3 exams behind or have more 6 requests for an excused absence in an academic year must meet with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs for evaluation of their status. Depending on the evaluation of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, the student may be placed on an administrative leave of absence or may be referred to the Promotions Committee.


A student who is ill on the day of an examination or other required activity, and who is unable to participate in the activity is required to contact the Office of Student Affairs prior to the start of the activity. The nature of the illness needs to be specified and an excused absence requested. An excused absence for illness will not be granted unless the student obtains a medical verification note from an appropriate health care provider. This note must be provided to the Office of Student Affairs as soon as the student is medically able to return to school. A student may not obtain a medical verification note from a healthcare provider who is a member of his/her family.

Religious Holidays

Because of the extraordinary variety of religious affiliations of the University student body and staff, the SOM Academic Calendar makes no provisions for religious holidays. However, it is University policy to respect the faith and religious obligations of the individual. Requests for an excused absence from an exam must be made through the Office of Student Affairs. Students whose classes, clerkships or electives conflict with their major religious holidays are expected to submit in writing their request for time away due to religious holidays to the course, clerkship or elective director on the first day of the course, clerkship or elective, with a copy of the request forwarded to his/her counselor.

Unexcused Absences

Failure to take a scheduled examination or required activity, without being granted an excused absence, will result in a score of zero (0) for the examination or activity. The consequences of all absences (unexcused as well as excused absences) from non-examination activities are determined by course directors as specified in the course syllabi.

Completion of Courses in a Timely Manner

It is expected that courses will be completed in a timely manner. In order to assist students, we will create a customized exam schedule for students that miss regularly scheduled make-up exams. All course work including examinations must be complete within thirty (30) calendar days of the course end date (defined as the date of the last exam) or prior to the start of the summer re-exam schedule, whichever comes first. Students not complying with the policy may be placed on a leave of absence and their status to return to course work will be evaluated by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.

Test Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Services for students with disabilities are coordinated by the Student Disability Services (SDS) Office located on the first floor of the David Adamany Undergraduate Library at 5155 Gullen Mall. Detailed information about SDS, the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), SDS policies and procedures, documentation guidelines, and types of accommodations can be found on the SDS website The medical school encourages you to refer to the SDS website ( if you have a documented disability or suspect you have a disability that will impact your medical school performance. The SDS office can be contacted at 313-577-1851. Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00 with extended evening hours on Monday and Thursday evenings until 7:00 during the fall and winter.

The Student Disability Services office provides reasonable accommodations for disabilities in the following categories:

  • Physical or medical disabilities
  • Deafness or hard of hearing
  • Blindness or low vision
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Learning disabilities
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Psychological or psychiatric disabilities

Required Documentation

Sufficient documentation for the disability is required to register with the SDS office and receive accommodations. Documentation guidelines for specific disabilities can be found on the SDS website. In order to establish that an individual is covered under the guidelines of the ADA and ADAA, documentation must indicate that the disability substantially limits a major life activity. Examples of major life activities include walking, sitting, standing, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, communicating, thinking, concentrating, and other similar activities. Quality disability documentation has the following essential elements:

  • Testing should be recent, relevant, and comprehensive, and, if appropriate, documentation must also contain test scores and interpretation (ex. learning disability report, audiogram, etc.)
  • Documentation must show a substantial impact on one or more major life activities
  • Indicate whether the impact is current and stable or fluctuating (fluctuations may require updated documentation of the condition)
  • Documentation must effectively confirm the nature and extent of the disability based on current professional standards and techniques
  • Documentation must effectively validate the need for accommodations
  • Evaluation must be provided by a licensed clinical professional familiar with the history and functional implications of the impairment(s) and must not be member of the student’s family
  • Evaluation must show the official letterhead of the professional describing the disability with the name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator
  • Report must be dated and signed by the evaluator
  • Report should include all documentation for multiple disabilities disclosed

If you suspect that you have an undiagnosed learning disability, attention deficit disorder, psychological disability, or other type of disability, you are encouraged to consult with a disability specialist in the Student Disability Services office. Resources for diagnostic evaluations will be provided.

If a student submits insufficient documentation of a disability for determining reasonable accommodations, Student Disability Services has the right to request further documentation with the student bearing the cost of the evaluation. SDS does not do diagnostic evaluations but can provide students with testing resources.

Students who receive accommodations need to:

  • Communicate with the Office of Student Affairs in the School of Medicine during the semester regarding accommodations and/or services.
  • Contact the Office of Student Affairs and SDS immediately if any significant course/clerkship changes occur.
  • Inform the Office of Student Affairs and the SDS Disability Specialist immediately if any problems regarding accommodations and /or services occur.


Student Disability Services (SDS) follows strict standards of confidentiality in the management of student disability information. SDS is the sole holder of disability documentation and this documentation is kept separate from other records such as the student’s permanent educational record. Accommodations provided by Student Disability Services do not appear on the academic transcript and there is no marker on the transcript to indicate that a student is registered with SDS.

It is important to be aware of the responsibility that SDS bears in a “need-to-know” student case. In the case of disclosure of any information to a faculty or staff member, it is decided on a case-by-case basis. When students request accommodations, it may be necessary to discuss with a faculty or staff member the nature of the disability and the relationship of the disability to the course in order to implement the appropriate accommodations without making a full disclosure of the disability to the faculty or staff member.

How to Register with Student Disability Services

  1. To register with SDS you must first be admitted to the WSU SOM.
  2. Call the SDS office at 313-577-1851 or TTY 313-577-3365 to schedule an intake appointment with a disability specialist. Intake appointments generally require 2 hours.
  3. At your intake appointment you will provide the disability specialist with documentation.
  4. SDS intake forms will be completed and a history will be taken. Accommodations will be determined and accommodation letters will be issued to the student. Accommodations are reviewed annually.
  5. Once accommodations have been granted, students must notify the Office of Student Affairs at Wayne State University School of Medicine by providing the OSA with a copy of the accommodations letter received from SDS.

Testing Accommodations

  1. Once accommodation letters have been presented to the Office of Student Affairs at Wayne State University School of Medicine, OSA will then forward the accommodation letter to testing services or the appropriate faculty member at the School of Medicine.
  2. Testing services and/or the faculty member will be responsible for fulfilling the recommended accommodation.
  3. Students with accommodations will be notified by testing services regarding their testing environment.
  4. If a student opts not to use their accommodations during any exam they must provide written notice to testing services at least 1 week in advance. Students should contact the Director of Assessment.


  1. Student Disability Services has an obligation to confirm disability status in order to issue appropriate accommodations.
  2. Students have a right to privacy and not to have confidential information freely disseminated throughout the university.
  3. When students register with SDS and sign the accommodation form, they are acknowledging that some level of disclosure to a faculty or staff member may be necessary in order to implement requested accommodations.
  4. Disability documentation records are not shared directly with any faculty or staff member outside the Student Disability office.

Accommodations and services are individualized and based upon the student’s documentation. It is for this reason that students should insure that they have sufficient documentation that supports the need for appropriate and reasonable accommodations. Accommodations and services cannot be guaranteed if students choose not to follow the procedures for registering with Student Disability Services in a timely manner. Accommodations and services can be revisited as needed, but they are not retroactive and cannot be guaranteed if procedures are not followed with reasonable, advanced notice.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Students with disabilities have the right to:

  • Full and equal participation in the services and activities of Wayne State University
  • Reasonable and effective accommodations, academic adjustments and /or auxiliary aids as determined by SDS
  • Maintain confidentiality regarding disability information including the right to choose to whom the disclosure of disability is made, except as required by law
  • Information readily available in accessible formats as long as request deadlines are met to ensure availability

Students with disabilities have the responsibility to:

  • Meet Wayne State University School of Medicine’s academic and professional standards as established by the School of Medicine with or without reasonable accommodations.
  • Identify as an individual with a disability and request accommodations through SDS in a timely manner and to seek information, counsel and assistance as necessary
  • Provide documentation to SDS from an appropriate professional source verifying the nature of the disability, functional limitations, and the rationale for specific accommodations being recommended
  • Follow specific procedures for obtaining reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids as outlined by SDS .

University Rights

The School of Medicine, through faculty and staff, has the right to:

  • Establish and maintain academic and professional standards for its medical students, which includes establishing essential functions, abilities, skills, knowledge and standards for courses, programs, services and clinical internships, and to evaluate students on this basis.

The University, through its Student Disability Services, has the right to:

  • Confirm disability status and request and receive current, relevant documentation that supports requests for accommodations
  • Select among equally effective/appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services and provide the student with written documentation of the accommodation(s) granted for presentation to the SOM.
  • Deny requests for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids when disability documentation does not identify a specific disability, fails to verify the need for the requested services, or is not provided in a timely manner
  • Deny requests for accommodations, adjustment, and/or auxiliary aids that are inappropriate or unreasonable based on disability documentation

Other Year 1 and Year 2 Examination Issues

Posting Exam Scores

Immediate draft scoring is available for most examinations. Official draft scores are posted to MYSOM after each written examination, consisting of a student’s raw score, percentage, and items missed. Scores are posted no sooner than the afternoon of the second business day after the examination to allow for scoring, verification of results, and for students to complete required evaluations. Final scores are available after Course Directors and course faculty use available psychometric information and students’ question citations to make decisions about whether to change the answer key.

Interpreting Scores

The percent score obtained on an examination(s) allows a student to ascertain his/her mastery of the material, and at the end of the course, to determine whether his/her performance is sufficient to pass the course. For a course with multiple examinations, a “danger” line of 70% is provided for each exam, whose purpose is to alert a student that continued performance at that level places the student at risk for failing the course. The danger line was developed using historical examination scores and is used to alert students, but should not be interpreted as the likely pass rate for the course.

Citing Examination Questions

Students are given one opportunity to identify examination questions which they feel are flawed or poorly written. At the completion of an examination, students may cite up to five questions for course directors and faculty to review as they make decisions to “drop” questions or to accept alternate answers. Ten minutes is allotted for citing questions at the end of the examination. Students are not permitted to contact individual faculty or course directors directly to lobby for changes to the answer key. Students taking make-up or remedial examinations cannot cite exam questions.

Requests for Hand Scoring of Examinations

Students who feel there is an error in their examination score my request a hand scoring of the examination by contacting the Director of Assessment. The hand scoring will insure that the electronic scoring has worked properly. Students are responsible for submitting an answer sheet that is complete and accurate.

In these cases, the hand scoring would confirm the student’s score and that the electronic scoring worked as intended. The results of all objective examinations cannot be appealed, other than having the score verified through the hand scoring process. Students must report any testing irregularity at the time the examination is turned in to the proctors and prior to leaving the examination area.


Year 3 Examinations

There are three types of examinations, which the student may encounter while on required clerkships in the third and fourth year curriculum:

  • Oral, practical or objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) administered by the department or school.
  • Those that are written by School of Medicine faculty and are not returned because the faculty designates them as “protected” examinations.
  • Those that are “copyrighted” examinations developed by an external body and purchased for administration to medical students during the clerkship.

Unless specifically designated as an examination that will be returned to the student, written examinations during the clinical curriculum are either protected or copyrighted examinations. As such, the student has no right to retain these examinations, and possession of current copies of these examinations outside the testing room would violate School of Medicine Professionalism guidelines and University policy.

All Year 3 Clerkships use the Subject Examinations available from the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) as the written examination at the end of the clerkship. These examinations are the property of the NBME. They are scored by the NBME with results then reported to the School of Medicine. Because they are “copyrighted” examinations governed by NBME policies, students do not have the right to either retain or review them. For a fee, a student can request hand-scoring of a failed examination. Requests for hand-scoring should be directed to the Director of Assessment.

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

Each Year 3 student, who has completed a minimum of 5 months of Year 3 coursework, participates in the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) during Year 3. The OSCE is used to assess a student’s clinical skills. The OSCE consists of a series of simulated clinical encounters during which students perform clinical tasks under the direct observation of faculty, proctors, and standardized patients. Examples of OSCE clinical stations include focused organ-system or regional examination; obtaining a history from a patient with a particular chief complaint; interpretation of x-rays, or other clinical data; construction of a management plan, writing a chart note, etc.

The OSCE is graded to provide feedback about a student’s clinical skills. The School of Medicine reserves the right to alter some, or all of a student’s senior program based upon OSCE deficiencies. Participation in the OSCE, and the completion of any prescribed OSCE remediation, is a degree requirement. The MD degree may be withheld until all prescribed OSCE remediation is completed.