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Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

 Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) (formerly known as the Dean's Letter) is completed upon the successful completion of all core clinical clerkships (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery) in the third year. The MSPE contains six sections: Indentify Information, Unique Characteristics, Academic History, Academic Progress, Summary, and Appendices

Students are required to schedule a personal meeting with the Associate Dean of Student Affairs prior to beginning the fourth year of medical school in preparation for ERAS and composition of the MSPE.

The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) is a comprehensive assessment of your performance in achieving the educational objectives of our medical school curriculum. It is neither a letter of recommendation nor VTCSOM's prediction of your future performance in a residency program.

The MSPE describes your performances through three full years of medical school and part of your fourth year.  It is added to ERAS for viewing by the residency programs to which you apply during your senior year.

"Final authority for composing the MSPE, as an institutional assessment composed on behalf of the medical school faculty, should rest with a professional person, at the faculty level in the institution, who has access to all relevant evaluation data for all students. Ideally, the process by which the MSPE is composed should include a personal meeting with each student." - AAMC

Contents of the MSPE

Identifiying information

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • Information about special considerations, including any distinguishing characteristics exhibited by the student in medical school (e.g., demonstrated leadership and research abilities, participation in community service activities).
  • Information about any significant challenges or hardships encountered by the student during medical school.
  • These will take the form of three distinct bulleted items.

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 upon school-specific policies, of coursework that the student was required to repeat or otherwise remediate during the student’s medical education.
  • Information, based on school-specific policies, of any adverse action(s) imposed on the student by the medical school or its parent institution.
  • Narrative information regarding the student’s overall (rather than course specific) performance in the preclinical/basic science curriculum.
  • Narrative information, provided in chronological order, of a student’s overall performance on each core clinical clerkship and selective away rotations completed to date, with a focus on summative, rather than formative, comments by clerkship/elective directors.
  • Narrative information about the student’s level of initiative, enthusiasm, and ability to self-start in all curricular components. 
  • An assessment of the student’s compatibility with faculty members, peers, other members of the health care team, and patients during all curricular components.
  • Details pertaining to a student's professionalism is provided including "both deficient and exemplary performance."


The AAMC requires a "summative assessment based upon the school’s evaluation system, of the student’s comparative performance in medical school, relative to his/her peers, including information about any school-specific categories used in differentiating among levels of student performance."  Because VTCSOM is a four-year pass/fail school, we use a distribution chart of numbers of letters of distinction.  The letter concludes with a narrative reiterating the student's overall successes in medical school.

Your Input

  • Select the author. Unless you request otherwise, the Senior Dean for Student Affairs will be the author.
  • Provide a draft of the Noteworthy Characteristics section.
  • Meet with the Senior Dean for Student Affairs.
  • Review the MSPE for accuracy prior to its being uploaded into the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®).