To grade or not to grade

Explore the concerns of grading systems and the strategy for eliminating grades within a competency-based assessment system

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The Scientia Education Academy is delighted to welcome guest speaker Professor Karen Hauer, Associate Dean for Competency Assessment and Professional Standards at the University of California, San Francisco.

The use of grading systems generates debate in medical and general education, with heightened concerns about the role of grades in programs implementing competency-based medical education. Grades are widely used in education to communicate achievement and distinguish learners. Earning high grades opens doors to future training and practice opportunities in desired specialties and settings. However, many challenges with grading call this practice into question.

Educators and learners infer that grades convey a level of precision and accuracy about performance and future potential that is likely not possible in a complex clinical environment. In this lecture, Professor Karen Hauer will discuss concerns about grading in 4 key areas: fairness, equity, learners’ mindset, and wellbeing. Professor Hauer will illustrate a strategy for eliminating grades and shifting focus to supporting learner development and achievement of proficiency within a competency-based assessment system. This assessment system offers a way forward to shape learners’ achievement and approach to lifelong learning.


About the Speaker

Karen Hauer headshot

Karen Hauer is Associate Dean for Competency Assessment and Professional Standards and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She designs and leads the program of assessment in the UCSF School of Medicine Bridges curriculum and directs the School’s medical student coaching program. She is an active researcher in medical education and a research mentor for fellows, residents, students, and faculty with a focus on competency-based medical education, learner assessment, equity in assessment, coaching and remediation.

In 2015, she completed a PhD in Medical Education through a joint program with UCSF and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. She is active on leadership committees with the National Board of Medical Examiners and Macy Foundation, serves as deputy editor for the journal Medical Education, and is past president of the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine national organization.  


About the Event

This event will be delivered in-person at the Tyree Room located in the John Niland Scientia Building which will be followed by light refreshments and networking opportunities. If you cannot join us in person, you can use the livestream link: Teams Livestream here