Narrative Assessment Policy

Narrative Assessment Policy


This policy relates to LCME Element 9.5, which states: “… a narrative description of a medical student’s performance, including his or her non-cognitive achievement, is included as a component of the assessment in each required course and clerkship of the medical education program whenever teacher-student interaction permits this form of assessment.”

The policy is guided by Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine’s institutional learning objectives (ILOs), and the non-cognitive domains highlighted specifically in:

  • Behaves in a caring, compassionate and sensitive manner toward patients and colleagues of all cultures and backgrounds (Patient Care and Professionalism)
  • Communicates with colleagues and patients to ensure effective interprofessional medical care (Interpersonal and Communication Skills, Patient Care)
  • Acts in accordance with the highest ethical standards of medical practice (Professionalism)
  • Exhibits commitment and aptitude for lifelong learning and continuing improvement (Practice Based Learning).

In the pre-clerkship curriculum, the doctoring courses are where the majority of these non-cognitive domains can be observed and where students integrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes they acquire from their other courses.  The clerkship years provide opportunities for all domains to be observed both cognitive and non-cognitive.


The curriculum must provide students with opportunities to receive narrative assessments on their performance in the domains listed above and to advance student performance in these domains to prepare them for clinical practice.

  • During the pre-clerkship curriculum: Students will receive narrative assessment of their behavior, communication skills, professionalism and life-long learning in the doctoring courses. Students will also receive narrative assessment in any non-doctoring preclinical course in which students have four or more sessions in a small group of 12 or fewer students with the same instructor at each session.
  • During the clerkship curriculum: Students will receive narrative assessment in all core clerkships. These assessments will address cognitive and non-cognitive domains and encompass all of BU CARES.


Compliance with the narrative assessment policy is monitored by the medical education office and reviewed annually by the MEC.

Relevant LCME Element(s):  9.5 Narrative Assessment

Approved by the Medical Education Committee (MEC) on July 14, 2016
Revised on June 13, 2017 and  January 10, 2018