This Section:

News & Events


Medical Student Performance Evaluation Task Force Update

November 13, 2017

By John Graneto, DO

This is the first year of the revised Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) use and the AAMC surveyed all LCME schools prior to the start of the ERAS cycle to get a feel for who were planning on using the new format and to what extent:

  • 90% of responding institutions planned to take steps to introduce the new guidelines in time for the 2018 cycle.
  • 85% of the respondents were confident they would be ready to use the new MSPE format at least in part for this cycle.
  • Only 53% of respondents confident they would be ready to use the new MSPE guidelines in full.

When the MSPEs were released on October 1, 2017, a comprehensive review at one very large institutions revealed which recommendations schools actually adopted this year:

  • Most schools have adopted the six recommended sections in the recommended order.
  • 91% of all MSPEs replaced unique characteristics with noteworthy characteristics with 80% limiting this section to the recommended three bullet points.
  • 70% placed graphic representations adjoining the verbal description of each rotation, including information on how final grades and comparative data were derived.
  • 89% have limited to 7 single spaced pages of 12 point font. (Average actual length this year is 6 pages down from 8 ages two years ago.)

Less likely adopted by schools this year:

  • The number of MSPEs that appear to use a final adjective without providing a school-wide comparison (so called “code word” summaries) has declined to 13 MSPE (9%) from 24% in 2015 and 20% in 2016. In 2017, 5% ranked students, 68% used categories, 9% used “code words” only, and 18% did not provide a final overall rating.
  • 100 schools’ MSPEs (68%) placed a statement regarding professionalism at the beginning of the Academic Progress section. Many of these statements enumerated how the school assessed professionalism that often extended into paragraph or even page long descriptions.
  • Only 22 schools’ MSPEs (15%) provided some information about core competencies. In a few cases, this consisted of a statement that the student had met all competencies. Most of the others provided graphs of how the applicant compared to the class as a whole in the Summary section of the MSPE.

Program Directors are receiving an increasing number of MSPEs with each application cycle. It was generally discussed, while not a mandate to any LCME or COCA accredited school, those schools/COMs not adopting the MSPE recommendations may be putting their students at risk for matching if the MSPEs don’t start to “look like the others” to the PDs.

Further outcomes and assessment will continue by AAMC including a survey of PDs after the match this year to see who actually reads the new format (based on specialty and geography).