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Uniform Testing Policy

"Students have the right to be evaluated fairly and equitably in a manner appropriate to the course and its objectives" (University of Maryland, Baltimore, Policy for Faculty, Student and Institutional Rights and Responsibilities for Academic Integrity).  

Periodic student evaluation has many purposes, including: proving a means for the School of Medicine to evaluate student achievement; providing feedback to students on strengths and weaknesses; providing faculty feedback for assessment of teaching quality; encouraging students to study; encouraging and facilitating student synthesis of course material; and, demonstrating student responsibility.

In view of these purposes, a Uniform Testing Policy needs to be developed to ensure fair and equitable evaluation.

Examination Construction

  1. Question format
    Acceptable question formats:
    1. Multiple choice
    2. Problem-solving
    3. Extended matching
    4. Essay
  2. Multiple choice questions will be developed using USMLE format.  

  3. Essay
    If essay questions are used for an exam, they would be limited to up to 20% of grade. An agreed upon answer with key words would be provided by the faculty member who originated the question(s) prior to the administration of the exam. Each question would be graded by the author of the question. Grading should be blinded to student name.

    For essay or problem-solving questions, a template should be produced prior to the exam to determine partial credit.

  4. Question submission/timeliness
    All questions should be submitted to the course director when the lecture material (or other teaching material) is submitted. Each question should be derived from identified learning objectives.

Examination Administration

  1. Exam Postponement in Years 1/2 

    1. The decision to allow a student to postpone an examination will be made jointly by the course director and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs (or designee).  Students seeking an examination postponement must submit their reasons for doing so to both the course director and the Associate Dean for Students Affairs.  Permission to postpone an examination is granted only for exceptional circumstances arising close to the date of the examination and that interfere with the student's ability to study or take the examination.  Such circumstances include severe illness, death of a family member or other similar emergencies.  Examination postponements are tracked, and if more than 2 are postponed cumulatively over years one and two, documentation of the delays may appear in the Medical Student Performance Evaluation.  Further, as repeated examination postponement may be viewed as unprofessional behavior in certain instances, there will be discussion at the Advancement Committee about the need for interventions such as disciplinary probation or a fitness for duty evaluation.

    2. Unless technically unfeasible, the same exam should be given when a postponement is granted.  The same exam may be taken early if a change of scheduled has been approved.  An oral exam is not an acceptable substitute for a written exam.  All make-up exams are to occur within 7 school days of the original test date unless specific permission is obtained in advance from both the course director and the Associate Dean of Student Affairs (or a designee) who will jointly make the decision on granting the postponement.

    3. Since students who arrive late for exams are likely to unfairly distract their classmates who arrived on time, late comers may be directed to a particular exam room to minimize the distraction.  Students who arrive more than fifteen minutes late for either regularly scheduled exams or for scheduled make-up exams may, at the discretion of the course director, be required to (a) take the exam at a later date but within 7 school days, or (b) in cases of repeated tardiness, receive a score of zero for the exam.  Except in extraordinary circumstances, exams will begin and end at the scheduled time.

    4. Protocol for make-up exams resulting from conditioning or failing a course:  Exam dates must be approved by the course director.  Students who have conditioned one course must take that exam by the end of June; students with two make-up exams to complete must take both exams by the middle of July.  All make-up exams must be completed at least 10 school days prior to the start of Fall classes unless extenuating circumstances make meeting the deadline impossible.  Any exceptions to this scheduled must be approved in advance by the course director.  The same rules noted in items 1, 2 and 3 apply.

  2. Important Notice:  Students are responsible for (a) monitoring their own schedules and being awre of any personal demands that conflict with exam dates and other required school activities and (b) appropriately resolving any such scheduling conflicts.

  3. During Exam  

    1. "Students are expected to be ready to begin examinations at the scheduled time.  Students who arrive for the exam more than 15 minutes past the scheduled start time will be considered late".

    2. No coats, book bags, cell phones, PDAs, texts or notes may be taken into the examination rooms. The student may bring the laptop computer, writing instruments, beverages and snacks.

    3. Each student will affirm in writing their acceptance of the Rules of Conduct and University Honor Code cited in the Student Academic Handbook. The statements affirmed by students shall be as follows:

      1. I pledge that I have not given or received prior knowledge of this exam by any unauthorized process as defined in the Rules of Conduct during Examinations published in the Academic Handbook.
      2. As required by the Rules of Conduct, I pledge that I will not give information relevant to the exam to any other student during the exam, and I will not receive information relevant to the exam from any other student during the exam.
      3. I pledge that I will not duplicate the exam for personal use or for distribution to others.
    4. No proctor clarification of questions is allowed. Typographical errors must be announced to the entire class.

  4. Post Exam  

    1. Pencil & Paper Tests

      1. Exam keys (and initial scores) will be posted after statistical analysis to remove seriously flawed questions at the discretion of the Course Director in collaboration with the Office of Medical Education. No credit will be given for removed questions.
      2. Student responses to the exam or to specific questions are always welcome. However, course directors are not required to solicit clarifications to exam questions.
      3. Final scores will be released as soon as practical and posted on MedScope.
    2. Computer-Based Tests

      1. Students will have access to their raw exam grade immediately upon completion of the computer-based exam.
      2. Students will be able to review questions answered incorrectly immediately after submission.
      3. Student responses to the exam or to specific questions are always welcome. However, course directors are not required to solicit clarifications to exam questions.
      4. Final scores will be released as soon as practical and posted on MedScope after removal of seriously flawed questions by the course director, in collaboration with the Office of Medical Education. No credit will be given for removed questions.
    3. Exams will be retained by the faculty.

    4. Click here for other issues related to examinations.


Examination Frequency

Every effort should be made to limit the average frequency of formal examinations to every four weeks. If the block is less than four weeks in length, there should be one exam.

In an effort to obtain more quantitative and useful course and instructor evaluation data, student participation in course/instructor evaluation is a mandatory process. A student's final course grade will be withheld from submission to the Registrar's Office should a student fail to submit requested evaluation(s) in a timely manner.

Last Revision: January 29, 2013