Policy Portal

Administrative Policy: Academic

COM – Narrative Assessment

Policy Number: 3349-AC-411
Effective Date: 07/11/2017
Responsible Department: Office of the Dean and Medical Education, College of Medicine
Approval Authority: Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Responsible Office: Office of the Dean and Medical Education, College of Medicine

A. Purpose

To establish a Policy by which all medical students receive a Narrative Assessment of their performance whenever course structure provides for such assessment, in accordance with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). LCME requires that “a narrative description of a medical student’s performance, including his or her non-cognitive achievement, is included as a component of the assessment in each required course and clerkship of the medical education program whenever teacher-student interaction permits this form of assessment.” (LCME Functions and Structure of a Medical School, effective March 2017, Element 9.5)

The College of Medicine acknowledges that documented Narrative Assessment provides learners with essential feedback about their performance in a course of study – knowing what they have done well so that those behaviors can continue and knowing what they need to improve, which leads to academic and professional growth.

B. Scope

This Policy applies to all required and elective credit-bearing courses that are contained in the College of Medicine curriculum in which a grade is assigned to the student and instructor-student interaction provides the opportunity for Narrative Assessment.[1]

C. Definitions

  1. Course Director refers to the appointed faculty member who is responsible for the overall design, conduct, student assessment within and evaluation of a Credit-bearing Course.
  2. Credit-bearing Course refers to a course offered by the College of Medicine in which a student is enrolled, the course appears on the student’s official transcript with either contact hours or credit-bearing acknowledgment, and a grade is assigned.
  3. Final Grade refers to the cumulative assessment of a student’s performance in a single course. The grade is assigned by the faculty course or rotation director at the conclusion of the course offering. Final Grades are posted to the student record/official transcript by academic year and term. A student’s course grade is considered to be a Final Grade when it is posted for the student in Banner Self-Service.
  4. Grade Assignment refers to the assignment of a Final Grade for a specific course or clerkship/rotation, it is the responsibility of the faculty member who has been designated as the faculty course or rotation director in accordance with the guidelines of, and oversight by, the Curriculum Management and Assessment Committee (CMAC), as the guiding authority for the curriculum.
  5. Grade Posting refers to when the Final Grade itself appears for the student to view in Banner Self-Service (hereafter referred to as “Banner”).
  6. Narrative Assessment refers to written comments from faculty that provide a descriptive assessment of student performance and achievement in meeting the objectives of a course or clerkship, including but not limited to non-cognitive achievement. (LCME Functions and Structure of a Medical School, effective March 2017)

D. Policy Statement

  1. The determination of whether it is feasible for a course to provide a Narrative Assessment of students is the responsibility of the Course Director in conjunction with the Associate Dean of Medical Education, with final approval by the Curriculum Management and Assessment Committee (CMAC).
  2. Applicable Course Directors are solely responsible for preparation and submission of students’ summative Narrative Assessments.
  3. Faculty development will be provided for Course Directors and course faculty to support them in providing and documenting Narrative Assessment of students.
  4. For student understanding, all course syllabi will have a statement regarding Narrative Assessment and include if and how it will be provided in the course, and if not, the reason(s) why.
  5. The Narrative Assessment is expected to be available for the student to view within two (2) working days of the posting of the Final Grade in Banner, which must be posted within six (6) weeks of the final day of the course.
  6. Courses in which Narrative Assessment is required are those courses that have, as documented instructional methods, small group teaching and/or required laboratory sessions and/or longitudinal observation of student participation and performance.
  7. This policy does not apply to:
    1. Courses in which Narrative Assessment is not possible or feasible given the instructional methods; and
    2. Courses in which Narrative Assessment is included as part of feedback to students but due to the personal nature of the comment and feedback, it is not made public.
  8. Creation, documentation and submission of Narrative Assessment for applicable courses
    1. The Course Director is responsible for the creation of course guidelines regarding Narrative Assessment.
      1. Each course syllabus should include whether narrative feedback is provided and, as applicable, if it is provided only to students as a formative assessment, and whether it is verbal only or documented and shared with the student.
      2. Each course syllabus should include, as applicable, that documented Narrative Assessment is used as part of the Final Grade (summative assessment in the course).
    2. The Course Director is responsible, as applicable, for documentation of Narrative Assessment for each student.
      1. The Course Director may seek input into Narrative Assessment from course faculty and staff, and others who have had interaction(s) with the student.
      2. In general, Narrative Assessment should include comments about what the student has done well and what needs to be improved, covering, as applicable, categories such as knowledge, behavior, attitudes, values, communication, conduct, professionalism, problem-solving and critical thinking.
        1. Any summative Narrative Assessment comments that are of a personal or confidential nature will be removed prior to the Narrative Assessment becoming part of the student’s permanent record.
      3. Narrative Assessment as a component of the summative assessment is required for all M3 clerkships. Narrative Assessment for each competency is encouraged. Narrative Assessment as an overall summative site director comment is required. This summative comment, excluding any comments designed as “for internal use only,” will be used verbatim as part of the Medical Student’s Performance Evaluation (MSPE), also known as “the Dean’s Letter”.
      4. Course Directors are encouraged to retain copies of documented   formative Narrative Assessments so that the information can be           reviewed, upon request, with the student and is available to           College of Medicine administration in the event of a disputed grade.
    3. The Course Director is responsible for submitting a Narrative Assessment simultaneously with the student’s Final Grade.
      1. Final Grades and Narrative Assessments must be submitted to Enrollment Services to be posted for student review in Banner, or posted, as applicable, by the course coordinator.
      2. Final Grades are expected to be posted in Banner for the student to view no later than six (6) weeks after the final day of the course.
      3. It is expected that summative narrative comments will be visible to the students within two (2) working days following the posting of the grade in Banner.
  9. All summative Narrative Assessments are considered to be part of the student’s academic record.

[1] It is the expectation that this Policy will be phased in over the next three academic years beginning with AY 2017-18.


Lisa Noland
Administrative Specialist
Phone: 330.325.6354
Email: lnoland@neomed.edu

Office of General Counsel

Northeast Ohio Medical University