A better way to manage learner remediation at medical schools

Even with the best MedEd curriculum and instruction, it’s possible for learners to find themselves in need of additional support. A medical school’s ability to identify those students early and enact a plan to get them back on track is paramount to the success of both the learner and the school itself. 

With a data governance plan in place that accounts for the recording and tracking of remediation, staff in the Office of Medical Education or Office of Student Affairs can save time analyzing data and identify necessary improvements proactively

Here’s how to use the learner data you collect to identify these remediation needs early and foster an environment of continuous quality improvement (CQI).

Different learners with different strengths and competencies

In a competency-based MedEd approach, learners progress along the same developmental trajectories, but not all of them will advance at the same pace on all of the required competencies. Remediation is often required to assist an underlying learning deficit. 

When a learner falls short on an exam or practical requirement, institutions must reactively find a way to help them bridge the gaps and meet the program requirement. The challenge lies in identifying that need early and proactively dealing with remediation before it becomes even more challenging to catch them up to speed. 

With proper data governance, medical schools can monitor remediation requirements as they happen and address them quickly. 

Why MedEd data governance best practices are important for all institutions

A lot of medical schools have less than ideal practices around remediation and follow-up support for learners, especially when it comes to tracking the data associated with remediation overall. It’s often a “side of the desk” confidential spreadsheet — the topic is sensitive and there are real ramifications for a student’s progress and success if that data isn’t captured with their privacy in mind. 

The absence of a solid data governance solution can cause a lot of unnecessary issues for medical schools. Relying on spreadsheets and a ‘manual’ approach to data management can lead to a number of undesirable outcomes. 

The remediation data challenge for medical schools

In a typical medical school’s data systems, grades are tracked in an LMS, Excel and/or a curriculum and assessment system, and final grades end up in the Student Information System (SIS).  

Ineffective data governance can lead to plenty of costly problems:

  • lost or hard-to-find data, instead of automated reporting
  • an inability to constantly monitor and support learners with academic difficulty
  • deficiencies in driving a true CQI initiative and affecting positive changes 
  • a learner’s private data or circumstances being exposed to parties without the clearance to view it

When tracking in an LMS, or even a purpose-built data tool, oftentimes schools keep the remediations out of those systems and recalculate final grades after remediation in a spreadsheet. The student ultimately ends up passing the course but the score from the actual remediation is locked away in a disconnected spreadsheet that has to be referenced manually. The SIS gets updated but the source systems end up having the original grade get bumped to a P without capturing the retake scores. 

Follow best practices for data governance and remediation

The word data gets thrown around a lot. Virtually all medical schools are already collecting and analyzing their share of key data points. When that process becomes too onerous because of the volume of information collected, a purpose-built MedEd data analysis tool can save time and turn that data into a proactive tool rather than strictly a manually-accessed repository. 

Capturing trends, any actions taken, as well as the key data points in between IS possible, while also protecting the learners’ privacy. Schools can monitor success as well as the interim progression points captured for reporting and trends, giving them the ability to identify remediation needs early and proactively. 

The opportunity cost of ineffective MedEd data governance carries serious ramifications to learner outcomes, an institution’s ability to improve, and workloads in the Office of Student Affairs or Office of Medical Education. 

Best practice example: identify remediation needs early 

By capturing remediation scores through your institution’s grade book, your school is able to identify all students who remediate an exam, quiz, and/or overall course. Schools can use remediation tracking to identify low-performance thresholds, monitor failures, track trends over time, and more. 

Having the remediation history, including previous attempts and historical scores, gives institutions a clearer picture of learner and program needs, allowing them to act before they become a concern. 

With the requisite data, schools can identity and address patterns early. By automating the process of adding remediations into the grade book, you can easily identify, across courses and years, which students remediated, the types of remediation, and more. This can be used to segment population groups to identify characteristics of potentially at-risk learners for student success teams to provide early support. 

Learn more about MedEd analytics and data governance

If you want to learn more about MedEd data governance, read our case study with Northeast Ohio Medical University, or watch our webinar about best practices in MedEd data governance

If you’d like to see how to use Acuity to record and track remediation in our Analytics tool, book a demo of Acuity and we will show you what’s possible.