Categorized | Local, No. 9

Thoughtful Reflection on Student’s Failure to Pass Step 1 Rescues Borderline Summative Portfolio 

Thoughtful Reflection on Student’s Failure to Pass Step 1 Rescues Borderline Summative Portfolio 

CHICAGO – Prospective MS3 Rick George submitted his Summative Portfolio Review in February despite encouragement from his college mentor to flesh-out several embryonic competency reflections.

“At that time, it reeked of insouciance,” says his college mentor, under conditions of anonymity.

More recently, George earned a board exam score in the upper two-digits.

“Sub-par,” says George. “It probably takes a few things off the table. But I’m making lemonade.”

After obtaining his results, George produced a 10,000-word reflection on the trying experience of preparing sub-optimally for an exam only to receive a score that will disappoint prospective evaluators – sure – but is a disappointment to himself most of all.

“I wrote it in crayon,” notes George, “first the black crayon, and then the darkest blue in the whole box after the black crayon ran out.”

After completing the reflection, George “tagged” a PDF version of the document to his summative portfolio.

“George really likes ‘tagging,’ which we encourage,” notes summative portfolio review reviewer Dr. Kligaine. “Rick’s placement of the document in the ‘Community Engagement’ competency section was eccentric, but I suppose the notion that the eight competencies of the competency compass are distinct in the manner of cardinal directions is probably one worth challenging.”

The last-minute amendment provided a marked boost to the quality of George’s summative reflections. Prior to the addition of his thoughtful exposition concerning what he learned from being an instrument of profound unlearnedness, George’s portfolio was populated largely by “tags” linking to YouTube pages displaying 1990s hip-hop videos, as well as to George’s curated Pinterest boards dedicated to fast food sandwiches and depictions of Peaches from Mario Cart in various states of undress.

Reviewers of the portfolio were uniformly impressed by George’s thoughtful insight.

“I thought his reflection displayed thoughtful insight,” said one. “I liked the use of ‘tagging’ to display thoughtful insights,” opined a second. The work is likely to earn George promotion.

“Look, sometimes things don’t go your way. So you find a way to turn your misfortune into something positive. It’s like with the story my society’s namesake, Stanley Ricketts, who contracted Ricketts only to then discover H. Pylori.”

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