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Are there curves?

Discussion in 'Podiatry Students' started by krabmas, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. krabmas

    krabmas Senior Member
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    Do any of the podiatry schools curve test grades?
     
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  3. jonwill

    jonwill Podiatrist
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    DMU definitely doesn't! I'm not so sure about some of the schools out there though. I've spoken to more than one residency director that has talked about students applying to their program that are ranked 15-20 in the class and STILL HAVE 4.0's! I will wager that overall, DMU has the lowest average GPA of all of the schools. Strangely enough, our board pass rates are always higher than every other school! Enough said.
     
  4. Curves?

    Does that include....

    1. Recycled test Q's from previous exams (that could be hoarded by "good students")
    2. Changing the difficulty of test Q's with the class average
    3. Throwing out Q's that aren't "statistical"
    4. Adding points to get the desired average at the end

    To tell the truth, I personally have become very suspect of "A" students and sometimes I think that the C students are the ones who actually studied the material instead of old tests....

    It's almost laughable when straight A students can't pass the boards.... I wonder how that could have happened...

    Do students really hoard and study old tests? Really? No way... Impossible...

    It's almost nuts and then the students wonder why the profession isn't on par with physicians..... While seeking out the next old test to study from... I mean, when you have at least 20%? of your class with a 4.0 (in a "medical" school") that would seem real fishy to me.... Actually it seems kind of bizaar, freakish and utterly weird.

    It actually belongs in a test tube for further study.

    Maybe all med schools attract such outstanding candidates that just naturally know what to study in med school.... Or maybe they have mastered it all... I mean it's not like there isn't a ton of info to sort through, but some students seem to be so keen, they seemingly know exactly what to study for every test...

    Who says some people can't read minds!!!!!!!!!

    If you are going to go to podiatry school and care about A's, maybe you should seek out the old tests and a couple of mind readers too.

    Just my opinions.
     
  5. jonwill, be very, very proud of your GPA, no matter how low, you EARNED it...

    These hacks are only making you smarter. because they are making you work and study harder.

    Don't cheat your mind and better yet, your future patients.
     
  6. dpmgrad

    dpmgrad Senior Member
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    Amongst all of the Podiatry schools, only DMU and Temple utilizes a grading system based on 100% scale. All of the remaining school utilizes the standard 4.0 GPA system (A, B, C, etc...). Sometimes, I feel that Temple and DMU grading system causes the students to be more competitive in class because there is a difference between an 81 and 89 in a course. Whereas, in schools with the A, B, C, etc.. grading system, both 81 and 89 would have resulted a B in the course. I am curious about the opinions of the other students on this subject matter.
     
  7. krabmas

    krabmas Senior Member
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    NYCPM uses the minus plus and whole grade system. For example an AHonors is 96.5-100%

    An A is 92.5-96.4%

    An A- is 89.5-92.4%

    and the B's and C's work the same way bt with 80s and 70s.

    Then when the 4.0 comes in an AH and an A are both 4.0, an A- is 3.7, a B+ is 3.3, a B 3.0 and a B- is 2.7 and so on down the list.

    Every year at NYCPM there is talk about how the other schools grade and if they curve because in the end we are all compared to each other for residency slots and not just compared to fellow students at the same school. The top people in most classes at NYCPM by the time they are 3rd years have about 3.6 - 3.7.

    The other point that students make is that soem residency programs require a minimum of 3.5 or 3.0 to apply. If some schools curve and some don't is that really an even playing field.

    All that said what schools curve as in when the test is over the professor makes a bell curve or something similar. I am not talking about student's other methods of "studying".

    And one last thing for now, I also agree that whatever the GPA is that you have if you studied and worked for it then you earned it and that it is more about knowledge than grades. But when it comes down to top res programs grades matter. I wasn't trying to start a war with this post I just wanted to know what the other schools did because there are so many rumors that all the schools curve...?

    Happy Thanksgiving!
     
  8. scpod

    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    The "official" grading policy at Barry is:

    A 90-100%
    B 80-89.99%
    C 70-79.99%
    D 66-69.99%
    F 65% and below

    However, keep in mind the Gaduate Catalog says, "In keeping with the policy of academic freedom, each faculty member reserves the right to determine the percentage of the final grade that is comprised of attendance, dress, attitude, professional behaviour, examinations, quizzes, laboratory assignments, etc."
     
  9. "I am not talking about student's other methods of "studying"."

    Unfortunately, from my observations, these methods of studying are not an alternative, but rather a primary method of study?

    I guess it doesn't help when Q's from old exams are recycled word-for-word.

    I compare it to athletics and steroids.

    We can all agree that athletes that use steroids to enhance their abilities are hacks and cheats.... They aren't tolerated.

    But "medical" students that memorize old test Q's that ARE recycled are "resourceful and seeminly rewarded with "high yield, low effort" points.

    Curving across the board is one thing with all other factors are equal, but when you have students that have literally hundreds of pages of old anatomy/physio etc pages of test Q's..... While other students DON'T.... The curve is already set in my opinion and the cards are considerably stacked in favor of the student(s) with the most "resources."

    It is down right SHAMEFUL in my personal opinion and the schools should recognize and correct it.

    It is no wonder to me why our education is seen as inferior to many MD/DO medical students....

    I'm not here to bash the profession; instead I am here to share my personal experiences as a podiatry student and a reality that I am very ASHAMED of.
     
  10. oncogene

    oncogene Senior Member
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    This is a problem in all professional schools not just podiatry. I don't believe that our education is seen as inferior to MD/DO because in some schools the classes are the exact same. I know first hand that this happens in SIU Dental school. Every student has a mentor and they recieve a file with old exams that is passed on year after year. Just because you have the answers to some test questions doesn't excuse you from learning the material. No one has answers to the boards questions. RELAX!
     
  11. IlizaRob

    IlizaRob IlizaRob-erator
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    This is probably one of the most rediculously things I have ever heard. Give me a break! Of all the things to worry about this is what is occupying your mind? It sounds like a bitter student that is getting beat in class rank. As oncogene has said, this is a reality in all academic settings, not just podiatry. Get over it!
     
  12. Just because the dental school down the street hands out packages to EVERY student doesn't invalidate my point. Obviously that school saw the problem and leveled the playing field for all students. Actually this is a very good idea and the schools where this is a problem should take notice and do the same. In all honesty, in a real professional school, I'd kind of expect that....

    The reality is, that at some "pod" schools, the sneaky smart ones hide their old tests on CD's like golden treasure. Some schools don't hand out packages of old tests to their students. The result is low input and high yield grades.

    I don't know about you, but I wouldn't feel comfortable with any physician, podiatrist or dentist that got through school by primarily studying old tests!

    Maybe the reality is that all professional schools are really a big joke where if you pay the cash you can get your degree.... Which, if true, is simply outrageous and purely wrong regardless of what the school down the street is doing!

    Unfortunately, for the patients, they don't know.... they have to TRUST that the schools have appropriately TRAINED their students, maybe by not turning a blind eye to academic "steroids....."

    Another point, it is embarassing to the profession when these high scorers (pod's brightest) get to residency, in a hospital among MD/DO "peers" and they don't know their head from their rear..... "Ummmmm, I don't know." Imagine how they would perceive our 3.0 students!!!!!

    It makes the rest of us and our hard-earned education look utterly foolish..... DUMB.

    I honestly have to wonder about any profession that allows some of their trainees to blow past the "grading scale weeder-outer" with A's by studying old tests.

    I don't know about other professions and really, I don't care.... If they want to "cheapen" their degree to pass and graduate a bunch of idiots, that's fine with me, they are only hurting their own reputation as an academic institution and profession as a whole.

    I care about MY profession and would like to see each school take a more active role in making it more "professional." I don't want my profession's brightest to be a bunch of "old-test hacks saying.. "Ummmmm, I don't know."

    It's really a pretty simple concept. It's kind of like having... standards?
     
  13. scpod

    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    You don't live in Utopia; you live in the real world. In the real world, that's the way things work. It's not just in professional schools, rather it's in every single institution of learning in the world. In nearly every clas I've ever had, at any level, there are people with copies of old tests. The only time that doesn't happen is if it is a new professors first class, or those few professors who don't let students keep their tests.

    When you talk about "any profession", you are actually talking about every single profession on the face of the Earth. You are talking about every school and every learning experience. Why are you so worried about what everyone else is doing? Study hard, get A grades the "right" way and be proud of what you accomplished, instead of whining about everyone else. If you make all A's in pod school, knock out your boards, and impress the hell out of the people you meet during your residency, what difference does it make what other people do? You can be the one to change everyone's mindset about podiatrists by being a leading example. That's a hell of a lot better thing to do than sit around and whine about what everybody else is doing. What are you accomplishing when you do that?
     
  14. Ezj391

    Ezj391 Junior Member
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    I agree. But the way the system is now is not ideal. In allopathic medical schools they get to take "real" boards with a score. As opposed to a 150 question pass/fail test. As a result, we have academic interviews as opposed to the mostly social interviews that occur for allopathic residencies.
     
  15. Willcott

    Willcott Junior Member
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    A person can learn a lot of good information from an old test. One thing that old tests provide is an indication of what particular parts of vast subjects an instructor might think are important. Consider also that most forms of MCAT (or DAT or GRE) prep are a version of "old tests." While the information may be in outline or narrative form, it is an essentialized version of what has appeared on the test in the past. Otherwise, the big Kaplan review books would be one sentence long, saying "Re-read your notes and college textbooks in Biology, Zoology, Genetics, Algebra, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics-and know it for the test." If my podiatrist knows a trick on how to fix my foot, I don't care if she got it from an old test or from an "honest-to-goodness" textbook.
    Just to carry a semi-useful analogy further, If a steroid-enhanced athlete crosses the finish line first, isn't he still the one that crossed the finish line first? Please look at this comment not as a way to condone steroid use in sports, but as an emphasis on the desired result (whether that result be the completion of a race or the acquisition of knowledge).
     
  16. The "real world?"

    Actually, in the real world, most people are busting their rears at under-paid jobs and if they don't perform, they get canned.... In the real world most people don't have the opportunity to become doctors of anything. But I can understand where you are coming from....

    I also find it wildly interesting that some think that this is a wide spread and accepted policy and there for it must be O.K.
    Just google "academic dishonesty old tests" and see how accepted this turning a blind eye approach to the problem is.

    Many universities, colleges and even GRADE scools have already addressed this issue, which begs the question, "what are our schools doing about it?"

    Face it, getting through any school via old exams cheapens a degree and the school that issued it and should not be tolerated unless those materials are readily available for every student.

    In my opinon, if this is still an issue at this late point in time, I think we as a profession really need to evaluate our own moral capacity to become health care providers on par with Physicians. I mean, there certainly will be larger moral questions that confront a provider, will that "provider" have the integrity to do the right thing if they've been "hacking" it for their entire education?

    The institutions can't force morality on anyone, but they can police their own standards.

    In my opinion being a Physician should be earned, not bought and the schools owe it to the profession, students and the general public to ensure these high standards aren't compromised.

    Flame away and let that "real-world" integrity show for the other professions on this forum to see!! Lol!

    A few sample academic sites (out of many) that have addressed this problem.

    http://academicintegrity.missouri.edu/graduates/prevention.html
    http://naples.cc.stonybrook.edu/CAS/ajc.nsf/pages/prevent
    http://www.lehigh.edu/~indost/integrity.html
    http://www.math.ksu.edu/math221/fall-2005/calc2f05.html
    http://www.registrar.gatech.edu/rules/18.php

    "A person can learn a lot of good information from an old test."

    You are correct, but what if 70-90% of the questions were the exact same Q's/A's?
    And some students had the Q's and some didn't? There is where the problem arises and why I suspect such animosity to my posts on this matter.
     
  17. jonwill

    jonwill Podiatrist
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    I guess I just don't see this as a problem, at least not at DMU. Besides, the great equilizer is boards. You can study all of the old tests you want, but this won't help you on the boards. I've seen the board pass rates for every school over the past two years. Judging by the SERIOUS pass rate issues that some of the schools are having, maybe this is a bigger deal at other schools. But as stated before, if people at some of the schools really are studying this way (ONLY studying old tests), boards are going to kill them!
     
  18. scpod

    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Let's just take a look at just a few things. In the real world (the one that I've worked in for the last eighteen years) most people are not "busting their rears" at all. Most of them are just barely getting by, but they are doing the very minimum they possibly can in order to pick up a paycheck. Many of them aren't even working at all. They think their boss (or the government, or whoever) owes them a living and the boss should be glad that they showed up to work at all. They all say, "I would work harder if they gave me more money," but the truth is that they would get more money if they worked harder.

    What makes you think "most people don't have the opportunity to become doctors..."? Actually, every one of them has the very same opportunity that you and I both have. Unfortunately, for them, most of them don't have the willingness to put forth the effort needed to become a doctor. True, some people just don't have the intelligence to do it. That's a genetic problem that just can't be fixed. Still, there are a lot of people who could do the work, but choose not to do it.

    Another point-- it's not the institution's job to "force morality on anyone". Most institutions understand this. Many have an honor code, but looking at old tests is just not a part of it. Are you jealous because someone else has old tests but you don't? Forget about it. Do your own thing and let them do theirs.

    Do you know what out Organic II professor did before we had to take the ACS exam? He spent two days showing old tests on the board because he wanted us to be familiar with the ways that the American Chemical Society asked questions. Now, he did not allow anyone to take notes during those two days, because those tests are considered proprietary information, but he wanted us to take a look at them. Do you know what happened? Well...surprise, surprise-- not a single question on the actual tests was the same as the ones we looked at. Still, it was an excellent review of material, especially those things that we had covered in a prior semester. He did the same thing with his old tests, only he let us take notes. He used some of them for reviews because he wanted us to be familiar with the types of theings he would ask. BTW, none of those same questions were ever on the new versions of the tests either.

    Most of my professors (the ones that let you keep your tests) have always recommended that we use those to study for the final. Why? Due to the fact that they usually contain the most pertinent information that we need to retain, they are excellent study guides. And that is the very word to remember-- guide. If professors are letting students keep their tests, then are using the very same questions on future tests, then they are doing a poor job.

    What will happen when it comes time to take the podiatry boards. Did you know that they (like all other organizations) have sample tests available on line? Click here for Part I, II, and III of the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners Did you know that they encourage you to download and study them because they are guides? They are not the test you will be taking; they are guides. Is that any different?

    I used to feel the same way that you do, many years ago. I don't really feel that way anymore,though. I've still never gotten a copy of any professors old test from a sibling or a friend who had the class before, however, because I didn't need it. But I'm not going to complain about the people who do that. I'm just going to mind my own business, study hard, and do what I personally think I need to do to get A's. I'm certainly not going to rave on an on about how horrible a certain school or profession is because they condone behavior that I don't believe in. If it bothered me that much, though, I might think about picking a different school or a different profession. Perhaps you should do the same.
     
  19. Wow! It's a wonder anything gets done with so many lazy workers in America today! Lol!

    My contention isn't with just "old exams...." I don't understand why posters continue to redirect this into a 1 dimensional argument over simply old tests....Instead it's with:

    1. High % of recycled Q's from old exams + 2. Low number of students that have access to them

    = 3. Potentially skewed grades that aren't reflective of???

    NOTE for potential students:

    In selecting a school (If I had the opportunity to do it over again a few years ago...)

    I personally would strongly advise any potential podiatry student to strongly consider this factor in their selection of school because it can become an aggravating issue.

    I'd recommend selecting a school that cultures an academic environment whereby every student has the same OPPORTUNITY to succeed or fail.
    If that includes giving every student access to old exams because the school believes that there are 20 years of old tests floating around, that is great.

    Similarly, in my opinion, I'd be hesitant to select a school where there is a hierarchy of access to old test materials especially if the material is recycled to a degree. On many exams the difference between an A and a B is 5 points. In other words be careful of places where some students have 300+ pages of gross anatomy test Q's while others have 0.

    Your residency/ scholarship opportunity etc could depend on it.

    Select wisely!

    By the way, if an institution really had the best interest of their students at large, why don't they come CLEAN on the whole issue during orientation.....

    I mean, how difficult is it to say "Listen up young pod wannabes, there are old exams floating around this place like foam on the sea, it is in your best academic interest to acquire for yourself as many of them as you can. It's like a scavenger hunt.... The more you find, the better you'll possibly do, because some of the profs recycle Q's from the old exams. Get them while you can!"

    It's dirty and the schools should bear the responsibility to their students, the profession and the podiatry patients to ensure a fair and equal education/access for all.....

    You young pod wannabes had better get with the program and FIND out for yourselves…. Don’t count on anyone telling you what resources are or aren’t available. Because chances are, they won’t.
     
  20. IlizaRob

    IlizaRob IlizaRob-erator
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    Whiskers,

    You have got to be the most dramatic person I have ever seen. You're bored arent you? That has to be it. There is no way someone can get so worked up over something rediculous as old tests. Why do we all think that is what you are talking about? Maybe because that is all you have talked about. Anyway, Im sorry you were screwed over by other students with old tests. If they were obtained legally than I dont see the problem. If they are illegal old tests, then they are cheaters and they have to live with that. But do us all a favor and stop preaching damnation to the world because some overzealous medical student got a hold of old tests. Thats like starting a revolution because the IRS cut you 10 bucks less on your tax returns. Get a grip of yourself.
     
  21. Willcott

    Willcott Junior Member
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    One thing I've noticed in the "real-world" is that physical prowess is not what determines survival in the human species, it is the ability to establish symbiotic economic relationships with other humans. The ability to network is a social evolutionary adaptation that determines an individual's fate (think Donald Trump: the Art of the Deal). The basis of business and medicine and education is human interaction. In a perfect world, the medical students would retain in their mental queue all of the vital information that they encounter in their 4 years of intensive training; but, in the "real-world," the incredible explosion of medical knowledge has become too vast for any individual to know completely, much is forgotten or irretrievable. In order to survive, we must know where to find information and how to access it. In the real world, there seems to be some sort of reward given to people that can elicit information from other people in all sorts of creative ways. Maybe this reward system, whether its right or wrong-unethical or not, fosters those that can work together to find those coveted test questions. In residency and in practice, we will inevitably need the contents of another doctor's cranium. We will be rewarded for knowing how to acquire it. :love: The schools aren't morally depraved: if you were caught looking on someone else's test or viewing some sort of a cheat sheet in any of the podiatry schools, you would definitely be dismissed. However, the knowledge you bring in to the testing situation is yours, no matter how it got into your head. Don't scoff at the source of the knowledge, just get it. Look high and low to get your answers; look it up in a book-if it's not there, sweet talk it out of a friend.
    In a small, safari utopia (aka the zoo), snow white Siberian tigers are revered for their roar, and marveled at for their majesty; but, in the "real-world," they're getting poached and skinned. In the "real-world," felis domestica is so successful that they get virtually their own aisle in the grocery store. Maybe the ability to "purr" at humans is a social evolutionary adaptation that has meant their survival. If you try rubbing your whiskers on a couple of legs, rather than biting the neck of your handler, you just might be the resourceful cat that those residency directors are looking for.
     
  22. scpod

    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Well and generously spoken. I guess that "survival of the fittest" thing doesn't necessarily apply to the strongest. "Fit" can also mean the "smartest" as well.

    I'm originally from South Carolina, which is predominantly Republican. This issue reminds me a little of the Republican primary two terms ago. All of the political pundits were sure that John McCain would easily win the primary over George Bush because Democrats were allowed to vote in the Republican primary and McCain's moderate stance appealed to both parties at the same time. The pundits were wrong, though, because George Bush won in a landslide. Why? Because every other word out of John McCain's mouth was "campaign finance reform". It was everywhere, "Campaign finance reform! campaign finance reform! campaign finance reform!" But the truth is that nobody at all cared about campaign finance reform. It was a non-issue, so people just stopped listening to him altogether.

    This is kind of the same thing. Old tests are a non-issue. Nobody cares about it. The few people who cry on and on about it sound like religious zealots and are virtually ignored. The administration doesn't care about it because they don't consider it cheating. Nor is it their job to warn students about it because they just don't care. Does it reflect badly on them? No, because the same thing is going on in every high school, community college, university, and professional school in the country. You might then ask, is it morally right just because everyone is doing it? Next, ask yourself when was the last time you can recall that America was concerned with morality?
     
  23. krabmas

    krabmas Senior Member
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    Wow, I can't believe that my simple little questioned turned into such a hot topic.

    I think this is a great discussion we are having, but I am still really curious about which schools use bell curves and which do not and what grading scale is used for letter grade conversions and 4.0 grading.
    So far it seems that:

    DMU grades on a B-, B, B+ system (what do these convert to in the 4.0 scale?) and without curves.

    NYCPM grades on a B-(2.7), B(3.0), B+(3.3) system without curves.

    Barry does straight grades 80-89 = B (no pluses no minuses), and I am guessing a 4.0 = A, 3.0 = B... which would make for very large jumps in GPAs?

    I think that is all we have for now.

    If you go to Scholl, OCPM, Cali, Temple, or Arizona please let me know what they do. Thanks.

    There is a reason I am looking for all this info. Let me know what you think... Would it be better if all the pod schools used the same grading system?
     
  24. scpod

    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    There are not many studies which look at conversion to a plus/minus system, but a literature review by UTA in 2005 found typically a decrease of less than 0.06 in overall GPA. The effect on individual students may be quite different, however. A 1998 GSU study which converted plus/minus grades back to the old system found that approximately 34% of the students would have a lower GPA, 43%would find no difference and 23% would get a higher GPA.

    I don't think that you will ever see all the pod schools use the same grading system unless that was to become part of the criteria for accreditation. There are some very valid positive and negative points for either system, though, so I don't think you'll see it in out lifetime. You really could argue either way very effectively.
     
  25. dpmgrad

    dpmgrad Senior Member
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    As mentioned in an earlier post in this thread, Temple and DMU DO NOT use letter grading systems. Both schools use a numerical scale for grades (based on 100% scale). For example, if the average of the course was 83, you get an 83 listed on your transcript. It does not get translated to any letters. Since the course grade is based on the actual average of test scores, etc..., course grades at Temple and DMU CAN NOT be based on a bell curve. I know that the remaining schools, except for Arizona uses a letter grading system (whether it uses a plus or minus depends on the school). This is based on the transcripts that my residency program gets for the residency applicants from the various schools. Since Arizona has not graduated any students or have any students started externships yet, I have not seen their transcripts.
     
  26. krabmas

    krabmas Senior Member
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    So then do DMU or Temple convert to a 4.0 scale?
     
  27. scpod

    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I was told that at DMU you have to have 70% or better in didactic courses to pass-- that's all, no letter grades. Clinical rotations are pass/fail. I haven't heard about Temple, but would assume they are the same way based on the previous post. Of course, someone who actually goes there might be able to give you better information.
     
  28. dpmgrad

    dpmgrad Senior Member
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    Both Temple and DMU do NOT convert to a 4.0 scale. The cumulative GPA is the weighted average of your course grades based on 100% scale. If your cumulative GPA is 85%, then it is 85%. It does NOT get converted to the 4.0 scale. Temple's cumulative GPA does get carried out to two or three decimal points to allow for appropriate class ranking.
     
  29. dpmgrad

    dpmgrad Senior Member
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    As a Temple grad, I can tell you that Temple is similar to DMU in that you need to have 70% or better to pass the didactic courses. Similar to DMU, clinical rotations are pass/fail system. To my knowledge, Temple has not changed their grading system based on the transcripts that we get from Temple students for residency and externship process.
     
  30. krabmas

    krabmas Senior Member
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    Since you see residency applications....

    There are some programs that require minimum GPAs on a 4.0 scale - do those programs convert the Temple and DMU grades?
     
  31. dpmgrad

    dpmgrad Senior Member
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    I can not speak for other programs, but for my program, we do set a minimum average that would correlate to the corresponding minimum GPA on a 4.0 scale. Since my program is in Philadelphia, most programs in the Philadelphia are used to the average out of a 100% scale due to large amount of Temple students applying to the local area program.
     
  32. krabmas

    krabmas Senior Member
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    would an 88% be a 3.3 or a 3.5?
     
  33. jonwill

    jonwill Podiatrist
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    For DMU, the registrar can convert our percentage to a 4.0 scale if we request it. Otherwise, it is reported as a percentage.
     
  34. dpmgrad

    dpmgrad Senior Member
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    3.3
     
  35. krabmas

    krabmas Senior Member
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    thanks for all the answers!
     
  36. dpmgrad

    dpmgrad Senior Member
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    you're welcome
     

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