Purpose of the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

The MSPE should primarily contain information about the student’s medical school performance, although a brief summary of verifiable premedical experiences and achievements may be included when relevant. The MSPE is a summary letter of evaluation, not a letter of recommendation.

The purpose of the MSPE is not to advocate for the student, but rather to provide an honest and objective summary of the student’s personal attributes, experiences, and academic accomplishments based, to the greatest degree possible, on verifiable information and summative evaluations.

Identifying Information
  • Student’s legal name and year in school
  • Name and location of the medical school
Noteworthy Characteristics

This section includes information intended to help a residency program selection committee review applicants holistically to achieve a residency class that brings a diverse set of background experiences, characteristics and perspectives. This section should be presented as a bulleted list. Each characteristic should be described in 2 sentences or less. Provide a maximum of three characteristics highlighting the most salient noteworthy characteristics of the student.

Academic History
  • The month and year of the student’s initial matriculation in and expected graduation from medical school.
  • An explanation, based on school specific policies, of any extensions, leave(s) of absence, gap(s), or break(s) in the student’s educational program.
  • Information about the student’s prior, current, or expected enrollment in and the month and year of the student’s expected graduation from dual, joint, or combined degree programs.
  • Information, based on school specific policies, of coursework that the student was required to repeat.
  • Information, based on school specific policies, of any adverse action(s) imposed on the student by the medical school or its parent institution.
Academic Progress
  • This section includes information about the student’s academic performance and professional attributes in preclinical/basic science coursework and core clinical and elective rotations. It should also include a separate statement regarding the student’s attainment of professional standards as defined by your school.
  • If pre-clinical courses are Pass/Fail, the MSPE will convey that the student met all requirements.
  • Graphic representations of student’s comparative performance should be incorporated within the body of the MSPE, not as appendices. Doing so allows the narrative comments from the courses to provide context to the graphical representation.
  • Narrative assessments from preclinical and clinical courses should be based upon summative faculty evaluations that are not edited for content. Minor editing for length, redundancy, grammar, and spelling should be undertaken so long as it enhances the readability of the document without substantively affecting the objective assessment provided by the faculty.
  • Areas of relative strength and areas for improvement should be included when provided by the faculty evaluators.
Professional Performance
  • Describe how the medical school defines professionalism and what it assesses in students.
  • If preclinical courses are graded as Pass/Fail, the MSPE should convey that the student has met all requirements.
  • If the student received commendations for exemplary professional behavior, please describe the behavior. If the student was cited for unprofessional behavior, please describe the incident and any actions taken to remediate the professionalism concerns.
Clinical Courses and Elective Rotations
  • The components of each clerkship grade and the weight of each component (for example, % clinical assessment, % written exam, % case write-up, % OSCE, etc.) should be included to better inform program directors on performance.
  • Clerkship evaluations are a crucial piece of information for program directors and are considered by many to be the most important section of the MSPE in determining applicants for interview selection and rank order list.
  • Provide a summative assessment, based up on the school’s evaluation system, of the student’s comparative performance in medical school, relative to his/her/their peers, including information about any school-specific categories used in differentiating among levels of student performance.
  • Include a final “adjective” or “overall rating” only if a school-wide comparison of the applicant is provided.
Medical School Information
  • Information about specific programmatic emphases, strengths, mission(s), or goals(s) of the medical school
  • Information about unusual characteristics of the medical school’s educational program, including the timing of preclinical/basic science coursework, core clinical clerkships, and elective rotations.
  • Information about the average length of enrollment of students in this graduating class, from initial matriculation until graduation.
  • Information about the medical school’s compliance with the AAMC “Guidelines for Medical Schools Regarding Academic Transcripts.”
  • A description of the evaluation system used at the medical school, including a “translation” of the meaning of the grades received by the student.
  • A statement about medical school requirements regarding a student’s successful completion of USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 for promotion and/or graduation.
  • Information about the use of Objective Structured Clinical Evaluations (OSCEs) in the assessment of an institution’s medical students.
  • Information about the use of narrative comments from medical school course, clerkship, or elective directors in the composition of the MSPE.
  • Information about the process by which the MSPE is composed at the medical school.
  • Information about whether the student is permitted to review his/her MSPE prior to transmission.

The chart below lists of the individuals and their role in preparing the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE):

Title Role
Associate Dean for Student Affairs Signature and oversees the finalization of the MSPE and its submission

If a student feels that Associate Dean for Student Affairs cannot prepare the MSPE in an unbiased manner, they may submit a request for an alternate author through the Office of Student Affairs via studentaffairs@medicine.illinois.edu.

For questions about the MSPE, please contact Dr. Danny Teraguchi, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, at teradani@illinois.edu.

For more information about the MSPE, please visit the AAMC website.