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Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

MSPE sample

Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) was formerly known as the "Dean's Letter" and is a summary and evaluation of your performance while in medical school. It is neither a letter of recommendation nor a self evaluation. Every medical school writes an MSPE for each graduating student. It is a required part of every residency application. The MSPE has a standardized format which allows us to describe your character as a person, summarize your academic career and highlight your best qualities. It includes in full the summative comments as they appear in clerkship evaluations. If there have been serious academic difficulties or disciplinary problems, we must explain them. The letter attempts to present an honest evaluation of your performance in medical school and your assets for residency application. Information directed toward your choice in a specialty is not incorporated in the MSPE, but rather in Letters of Recommendation from the clinical faculty of that specialty. MSPE's follow a basic format, but every attempt is made to personalize them as much as possible.

After meeting with you and reviewing all of the data, your chosen writer crafts the first draft of your MSPE. It is edited and signed by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs for consistency across all writers. Every student will be permitted to read the letter before it goes out and may return to review it one more time if any changes are required. Students may submit changes to correct factual errors, punctuation, etc. If you have questions or concerns about the narrative sections, these should be addressed directly with your letter writer. Any changes in content of the junior and senior evaluations must come directly from the clerkship directors and preceptors. We suggest that you read your clerkship evaluations as they come in and contact directors as soon as possible (and certainly within 6 weeks of receiving grades) to discuss issues with evaluation content. School policy states that evaluation revisions do not have to be considered after that time. The national release date for the MSPE is October 1. Our timetable has all drafts available for student review during the first week of September with final versions prepared by mid-September. With these time constraints, we will attempt to include evaluations from July and August rotations. If September evaluations are submitted in a very timely manner, we may be able to include them as well. Any crucial evaluations that do not make it into the letter may be hand carried to interviews or mailed/emailed to programs. Students elected into AOA and/or the Humanism Honor Society will automatically have this notation in their MSPE. 

The following items are also required attachments to the MSPE.

Special Programmatic Emphases Strengths and Mission: The University of Maryland School of Medicine is dedicated to providing excellence in biomedical education, basic and clinical research, quality patient care and service to improve the health of the citizens of Maryland and beyond. The School is committed to the education and training of medical, MD/PhD, graduate (including public health), genetic counseling, physical therapy and medical and research technology students. We recruit and develop faculty to serve as exemplary role models for our students.

Special Characteristics of the School's Education Program: We have outstanding faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping students achieve to their highest abilities. We offer exciting and personalized medical education with students playing a significant role in their own educational process. Our students receive a solid basic science education as well as numerous and varied research opportunities. We consider clinical experience to be the backbone of medical scholarship, and our students are exposed to a wealth of clinical experiences during their tenure in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Community service is highly valued. The School encourages mutual respect among faculty, trainees, staff, students and patients, demanding the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct.

Average Length of Enrollment (initial matriculation to graduation): 3 years, 10 months

Evaluation System: For most courses, letter grades A, B, C, D, F are used. Clinical evaluations may potentially use "plus" or "minus" designations as well. Some courses in the pre-clinical years are graded Pass/Fail. Honors grades (H) may be given in lieu of "A" or "P" for superior performance and may require additional work (e.g., paper). Class standing is computed based on required courses in the first three years with clinical rotations weighted higher than pre-clinical courses. Grades of P and D do not contribute to numerical computations of class standing.

USMLE Requirements: Passing Step 1 is required for promotion into the third year. Taking, but not necessarily passing, both parts of Step 2 before graduation is required.

OSCE Requirements: Required for graduation.

Utilization of Narrative Comments from Course Evaluations: Edited for grammar and spelling; edited for content only in extreme circumstances.

Compliance with AAMC Guidelines for Academic Transcripts: Completely in compliance.

Composition of the MSPE: Administrative staff enter data as available. The MSPE is drafted by the Associate or an Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and is reviewed by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

Student Review of MSPE: Permitted.

MSPE Graph 



Last Revision: July 15, 2014