Changing the Grading Scale

You know how our GPA is based on Honors, Near Honors, Satisfactory, and some other options? Remember in college when it was a simple A-F scale? And in grade school it was Excellent, Great, or Satisfactory. (I think that Satisfactory in 2nd grade for Handwriting really affected my elementary school GPA—I studied extra hard second semester. Now the Satisfactories seem to run together.)

I’m halfway through residency interview season. I feel confident that everywhere I’m interviewing at will offer me top notch clinical training, as well as a lot of other elements I’m looking for in a program. It’s a whirlwind—ask any fourth year. And it seems to follow the 80/20 rule: 20% exhaustion, but 80% so much fun. It’s interesting: I love every program at every interview, and I leave thinking, this could be The One. But then things start to settle out.

There’s a technique in qualitative research called immersion/crystallization. You immerse yourself in the material, by reading, talking to people, experiencing it—whatever. And ideas or conclusions start to emerge. Then you delve back in, and revisit the core principles that crystallized the first time, see if they’re truly applicable, and see if you missed any. You discuss it with people, and see what they’ve come up with. You read through things again. And reevaluate. And read again. And again. (It sounds soft, I know, relative to ‘objective’ data outcomes, but it seems to work pretty well for evaluating some sets of subjective data.) Anyhow, after a while, programs start crystallizing into place. Right now, they’re sorting themselves into two categories: “Awesome” and “Absolutely Amazing.” (Absolutely Amazing > Awesome.)

I anticipate finishing interview season before Christmas, reflecting a little, back burnering it all to let it simmer, going back over everything, and then visiting the NRMP website. Hopefully by then I’ll know out how to log in.

In the meantime, wouldn’t it be swell if we were evaluated on the basis of Awesome vs Absolutely Amazing? Do you think the administration would go for it?

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