Independent Student Analysis (ISA)

MedCred U of T Accreditation 2020 work mark

The student voice is foundational and important to the accreditation process. In addition to responses to the AFMC Graduation Questionnaire, students in all four years of the Program are asked to participate in a student-led Independent Student Analysis (ISA).

On behalf the ISA Task Force, the MD Program is pleased to make available:

In light of the postponement of the MD Program's on-site visit (originally scheduled for May 2020), the MD Program would like to provide a formal update on progress made on the "Priority A" recommendations from the ISA Task Force:

The Program would like to thank the many students involved in the production of the ISA Report, from survey development to data analysis to the writing of the report. The high response rate to the student-led survey was integral to the success of the ISA process: Over 90% of students answered some component of the survey, with 942 of 1080 students completing the entirety of the survey.

The University of Toronto (U of T) ISA Report is notable not only for the amount of work involved, but also for the thoroughness and quality of analysis, including the identification of programmatic strengths, key areas of improvement, and critical recommendations.

None of the recommendations included in the ISA Report came as a surprise to MD Program leadership. In fact, work is already underway to address keys areas of improvement identified in the ISA Report, including with respect to student diversity, needs-based financial support, mistreatment reporting, and CaRMS preparation and career advising.

The Program greatly appreciates how the ISA Task Force prioritized those recommendations that are explicitly linked to accreditation criteria, and will follow their lead in the prioritization of our efforts to provide students with the best possible medical school experience. Full engagement in the Medical School Self-Study is an important phase in determining how to most effectively move forward. Following the self-study process, the Program will provide a more detailed response to specific recommendations included in the ISA Report.

View the full membership of the ISA Task Force

What role do students play in accreditation?

Students conduct an independent student analysis (ISA) of the medical school in parallel to the self-study that the medical school completes as part of their accreditation preparations. The site visit team that reviews a program will meet with students selected from all class years, and will tour educational facilities with assistance from student guides.  The site visit team will include students’ perspective taken from the ISA survey data, from the AFMC GQ, and from students it meets on-site when making its determinations about the extent to which the medical school meets the requirements of the accreditation elements.

Why is it important to do well in an accreditation review?

While a program is unlikely to lose its accreditation following a survey and site visit, a probationary or warning status may have a significant and lasting impact on the program.

A program on probation must send written notification to all current students and applicants for admission that it has been placed on probation.

A probationary status will affect the reputation of the program, and can negatively affect a student’s access to post-graduate training.

Adverse accreditation findings also affect the institution’s place in national and international rankings, and may have a negative impact on the institution’s development activities.

What is the Independent Student Analysis (ISA)?

A student-led task force is selected by the student body to coordinate ISA activities.  The ISA is primarily driven by a required questionnaire provided by the CACMS, with additional questions proposed by the student task force in areas of interest to the student body.

Officials from the MD Program are not permitted to influence the data analysis or final report of the ISA.  The MD Program is permitted to provide support to the ISA Task Force in order to achieve its goals.

The student task force compiles a comprehensive report, based on the results of the ISA survey.  The report will highlight major findings of program strengths and areas for improvement.  Additionally, the report will provide a narrative summary of findings related to each topic covered by the required questionnaire: Student-Faculty Administrative Relationships; Learning Environment; Facilities; Library and Information Technology Resources; Student Services; Medical Education Program; and Opportunities for Research and other Scholarly Activities and Service-Learning.

The final ISA Summary Report will provide MD Program leadership with recommendations for continuous quality improvement in the areas addressed by the survey.

What happens to the ISA Report after it is submitted to the MD Program?

The ISA Report forms part of the MD Program's documentaiton package.  The final report is submitted to the CACMS Secretariat, along with the MD Program's Data Collection Instrument (DCI), Medical School Self-study (MSS), and Summary Report.  The CACMS visiting team will review the ISA alongside data presented by MD Program officials as it prepares its report to the CACMS.

Members of the MSS subcommittees, which include student members, will review the ISA and its recommendations alongside the MD Program's DCI.  Recommendations in the ISA directly related to accreditation requirements will be considered as part of the MSS process.  Other recommendations will be reviewed by MD Program leadership, in consultation with student leaders, to ensure follow-up where appropriate.

How was the ISA Task Force selected?

MedSoc conducted a recruitment campaign to encourage MD students to apply to be ISA leads and to serve on class-specific task forces.

Selection of ISA leads was conducted by anonymizing the applications and having the First-year, Second-year, and MedSoc Presidents score each answer of the application (regarding motivations and role-specific skillset).  Appointments to each position were made primarily from aggregate scores, while also considering the unique perspectives and skills that each applicant can bring to the team.

Selection of class-specific task forces differed among classes: First-year and Second-year task forces were selected by application as outlined above, and the task forces for Third year, Fourth year, and MD/PhD classes were assembled by the respective class presidents.

Why does the survey response rate need to be so high?

An effective ISA will be based on extensive data from the entire student body.  A high response rate to the survey is critical for the credibility of the data. The site visit team and the CACMS itself take student-reported data from the ISA very seriously.  If the initial response rate for the student survey is low, it may be necessary to conduct a follow-up survey to improve the response rate.

What is the MD Program's policy regarding student mistreatment?

The MD Program places the utmost importance on the safety and well-being of students, and their ability to learn in an environment of professionalism, collegiality, civility and respect.

All members of the MD Program community have a joint responsibility to protect the integrity of the learning environment and a right to appropriate treatment and response when the environment is compromised.

The MD Program's Protocol for addressing incidents of discrimination, harassment, mistreatment and other unprofessional behaviour articulates procedures for University of Toronto medical students to report incidents of student discrimination, harassment, mistreatment and other incidents of unprofessionalism that they have experienced or witnessed, including how reported incidents will be managed and tracked.

How do I report an incident of discrimination, harassment, mistreatment or other unprofessional behaviour?

The Student Assistance button is available on all MD Program webpages for any situation in which a medical student requires guidance or help, including in reporting incidents of student mistreatment or other unprofessional behaviour in the learning environment.

Specifically, the Student Mistreatment page includes a flowchart, FAQ, and the Incident Report Form for use when reporting such incidents.

Reporting procedures are outlined in the Protocol for addressing incidents of discrimination, harassment, mistreatment and other unprofessional behaviour.