Published August 31, 2022
The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is implementing a new academic success Honors/Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading System beginning with the first year PharmD class matriculating academic year 2022-23 and will be used for all future incoming PharmD classes. The new system will emphasize learning over the attainment of traditional letter grades, improve assessment of student knowledge and empower students to become the next generation of pharmacy leaders.
“Adopting this new grading system has the potential to improve our academic culture by reducing competition between and among students, by focusing communication between students and faculty on concepts rather than on grades, and by more clearly linking evaluation of performance to a student’s mastery of concepts and capabilities,” says Gary Pollack, PhD, dean of the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “I am thrilled that our faculty and staff have embraced this change. It’s an important example of how focused they are on the success of our students and the quality of our PharmD program.”
This innovative approach will provide students with an academic success path where they will receive Honors for an overall score of 90% or higher and Satisfactory for an overall score of 70% of higher and will be used in all didactic, lab skills and experiential course work; additional performance criteria for skills courses will be assessed.
“We are excited to launch this grading system, and believe this initiative puts us ahead of the curve in pharmacy education,” says William Prescott, PharmD, department chair, pharmacy practice at the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “While traditional, multi-tiered grading systems are commonly used in colleges and schools of pharmacy across the nation, grades do not always accurately measure learning, can adversely affect student motivation, and do not provide good feedback. At UB, we’re striving to motivate our students by focusing on what is most important, learning.”
This transition to H/S/U grading also aligns with pass/fail or other H/S/U grading polices at medical schools across the nation where data have shown potential benefits to overall student well-being, without compromising academic performance. Over the next three years, the school will study the impact this grading system has on the academic performance and wellness of UB PharmD students, allowing the school to be a national thought leader in this important area of academic pharmacy.