Term of Award

Fall 2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Juliann McBrayer

Committee Member 1

Antonio Gutierrez de Blume

Committee Member 2

Daniel Calhoun


There is a trend towards using pass/fail (P/F) grading in the first two years of medical school. Existing literature reveals that P/F grading improves medical student well-being and academic performance is not negatively impacted (Ali et al., 2015; McDuff et al., 2014; Reed et al., 2011; Spring, Robillard, Gehlbach, & Moore Simas, 2011; White & Fantone, 2010). However, there is little existing research regarding the impact of P/F grading in the first or first and second years of medical school residency placement. It is important that medical students are afforded the best medical education possible to prepare them for residency placement. This study compared archival residency match data for two graduating classes at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. The Class of 2016 had tiered grading in the first year of medical school and the Class of 2017 had P/F grading in the first year of medical school. Doximity’s Residency Navigator was used to rank the residency programs for the Class of 2016 and 2017.

The results of this study concluded that there are no differences in residency placement when comparing a cohort of medical school graduates with tiered grading in the first year of medical school to a cohort with P/F grading in the first year of medical school. These results are consistent with the results of a seminal literature review conducted by Spring et al. (2011), which concluded that there were no significant differences in residency programs obtained when comparing students with P/F grading in medical school to students with tiered grading.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material