Operating Guidelines Overview

The Student Progress Committee (SPC) exists to monitor medical students’ progress toward graduation and to determine if the standards of the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM) are being met in individual cases. All areas of student progress are monitored, including promotion, remediation, probation, leave of absence, expansion, reprimand, suspension, dismissal, USMLE exam performance, and graduation. SPC also recommends students for awards including Graduation with Honors, Graduation with High Honors, and Graduation Awards. 

SPC is not responsible for the UWSOM’s grading system, which is the purview of the Curriculum Office. Grades and evaluations are submitted by course, block, thread, and clerkship directors; these form the basis on which SPC makes decisions about individual students. When there is an allegation that UWSOM’s academic or professionalism standards have been violated, the inquiry is completed by a designated UWSOM or University process. The findings of the investigation are then presented to SPC for a decision on the sanction or other appropriate action. 

SPC considers each case on an individual basis within the context of UWSOM’s standards. SPC may allow latitude within its guidelines for managing a student’s progression in the medical school program when SPC members agree that the circumstances of the case support it. 

SPC reviews a student’s record when there is concern about performance in coursework and/or behavior. UWSOM’s grading and evaluation system and SPC’s review process provide for due process. This includes notifying the student of inadequacies, careful and deliberate decision-making, and an opportunity for the student to meet with SPC in a scheduled informal review meeting. When a student’s record, when viewed as a whole, does not show satisfactory progress, and/or there are reports of unacceptable professional conduct, SPC determines the appropriate course of action, with the advice of block, course, and clerkship director(s), administration, and/or other requested consultant(s). 

In order to graduate, students must: 

  • Successfully complete all curricular requirements 
  • Pass Foundations-2 and Patient Care Objective Standardized Clinical Evaluations (OSCEs) 
  • Pass USMLE Step 1, Step 2-CK, and Step 2-CS 
  • Demonstrate appropriate professional development and standards of conduct 

A pattern of “evaluator concerns” about a student’s performance, behavior, or conduct may constitute a failure to meet graduation requirements, even if all curricular elements and exams are passed. 

SPC’s guidelines are reviewed and updated as needed. 

The UWSOM’s policies may differ from the University’s policies. This is due to the unique structure of the medical school, dispersed over academic and clinical sites in a five-state region. SPC’s guidelines for managing students’ academic progress and professional development may differ from the University’s policies, but not to the detriment of the student. 

SPC maintains strict confidentiality surrounding students’ academic performance and progress in the medical school program. The following individuals have knowledge of the student’s status and/or are informed when appropriate to facilitate the student’s successful progress: 

  • SPC chair and SPC members 
  • Academic and regional affairs deans and staff who serve as ex officio members of SPC 
  • The student’s college mentor. College mentors are informed of any action taken by SPC regarding one of their students 
  • Academic, rural, and regional affairs staff who schedule appointments with deans, schedule students in courses and clerkships, write letters of good standing, maintain the academic files, etc. 
  • Block, thread, course, and clerkship directors (or designees) who present or provide information to SPC about students having difficulty in their curricular component, and who need to manage remediation plans 
  • Academic faculty of affiliated degree programs (e.g., Medical Scientist Training Program) 
  • Director of Academic Support 
  • Anyone with legitimate need to know as defined by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).