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Content Background

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Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

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The MSPE is a summary letter of evaluation intended to provide residency program directors an honest and objective summary of a student’s salient experiences, attributes, and academic performance. In 2016, after two years of review, the AAMC MSPE Task Force released recommendations for revising the MSPE aimed at enhancing its usefulness.

AAMC MSPE Task Force Recommendations

  • Standardize, to extent possible, information in the MSPE across schools, and present it clearly, concisely, and in a way that allows it to be easily located.

  • Highlight the six ACGME Core Competencies when possible.

  • Include details on professionalism—both deficient and exemplary performance.

  • Replace “Unique Characteristics” with “Noteworthy Characteristics.”

  • Limit “Noteworthy Characteristics” to three bulleted items that highlight an applicant's salient experiences and attributes.

  • Locate comparative data in the body of the MSPE.

  • Include information on how final grades and comparative data are derived (i.e., grading schemes).

  • Provide school-wide comparisons if using the final “adjective” or “overall rating and define terms used.

  • Limit the MSPE to 7 single-spaced pages in 12-point font.

  • Include six sections: Identifying Information, Noteworthy Characteristics, Academic History, Academic Progress, Summary, and Medical School Information. Please see the MSPE Recommendations (PDF) for more detailed guidance on content in each section.

Download the revised MSPE Template (DOC).

Though these recommendations encourage standardizing information—and the location of information—across schools, medical schools retain their unique missions and approaches to education and assessment. The pace of implementation will vary across schools.

Sample MSPEs

Here are two real-life, redacted MSPEs shared by medical schools. They each incorporate several of the Task Force’s recommendations. Please note that both examples were submitted during the 2017 ERAS application cycle, and the schools that shared these examples are still working toward fully implementing the MSPE Task Force’s recommendations.

Medical schools are strongly encouraged to adopt the recommendations in the 2018 ERAS application cycle, though implementation will be an iterative, multiyear process. The MSPE Task Force continues to review the MSPE and evaluate implementation and impact of the recommended revisions. All comments and questions should be sent to mspe@aamc.org.

MSPE Review Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

MSPE Taskforce Charge

Over the past decade, much has changed in academic medicine that merits an in-depth review of the MSPE in its current form. The 2014 MSPE Taskforce is charged with including but not limited to:

Comprehensive review of:

  • Program directors', ERAS, NRMP and other recent surveys indicating strength and preference of current MSPE in the evaluation process
  • Literature regarding standardized assessments and competency based statements
  • Existing work accomplished at the UME admissions level as it relates to standardized letters of evaluation
  • Current timeline for review and release of MSPE

And to Recommend:

  • Means to incorporate objective holistic review principles into new evaluation methodology
  • A common threshold for standardization of language and/or forms in the evaluation process across all medical schools
  • Communication methods and timeline for rollout and implementation

MSPE Taskforce Members

Lee Jones, MD, Chair
Associate Dean of Students
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
Immediate Past Chair, AAMC Group on Student Affairs

AAMC COUNCIL OF DEANS
Cynda Johnson, MD, MBA
President and Dean
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

COUNCIL OF MEDICAL SPECIALTY SOCIETIES ORGANIZATION OF PROGRAM DIRECTOR ASSOCIATIONS (OPDA)
Deborah S. Clements, MD, FAAFP
Nancy and Warren Furey Professor of Community Medicine and Chair, Family and Community Medicine
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

AAMC GROUP ON RESIDENT AFFAIRS 
Daniel Wayne Giang, MD
Associate Dean
Director of Graduate Medical Education
Loma Linda University Medical Center

AAMC GROUP ON EDUCATIONAL AFFAIRS
Karen E. Hauer, MD, PhD
Associate Dean for Assessment
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

AAMC ORGANIZATION FOR RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVES
Meghan E. Kapp, MD
Resident Physician
Department of Pathology
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

SPECIALTY SOCIETIES
Jeffrey N. Love, MD
President, Board of Directors, Council on Program Directors in Emergency Medicine
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Program Director of Emergency Medicine
Georgetown University Hospital

Robert Sterling, MD
Council of Orthopedic Residency Directors (CORD)
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Johns Hopkins Medicine

AAMC GROUP ON STUDENT AFFAIRS
Hilit Mechaber, MD
Associate Dean for Student Services
University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

Angela Nuzzarello, MD, MHPE
Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) 
John Graneto, DO, M.Ed 
Associate Dean
Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine

AAMC Staff
Geoffrey Young, PhD, Senior Director, Student Affairs and Programs
Brandon Hunter, Director, Student Affairs and Programs
Dana Dunleavy, PhD, Director, Admissions and Selection Program
Amy Addams, Director, Student Affairs Strategy and Alignment

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