Clinical Distinction

Your future, by you

From Start to Finish: the Contract and the Narrative Evaluation

Clinical Distinction is based on Adult Learning Theory

You decide what you are going to learn and how you are going to be assessed. You even evaluate yourself.

The online forms you draft are the work of the course that every student completes. The forms are part of the learning process. By completing them you are fulfilling your responsibility as a self-directed student. and without these forms, you can’t succeed in Clinical Distinction. They tell us what your course involves, how you do in the course and if you passed. But more than that they are documentation of your role as both instructor and student.

The Contract and the Narrative Evaluation are the keys to capturing your coursework.

They describe the course you have designed:


  • Your learning outcomes
  • Your assessment plan
  • The activities you will complete

Narrative Evaluation:

  • How the process went
  • Obstacles encountered
  • Changes made to the plan
  • How you demonstrated growth

What’s in the contract

The contract describes your project. It includes your learning outcomes, the topic or area of study, the activities you will complete, your criteria for assessing yourself and passing the course, and your sponsor’s information.

What’s in the Narrative Evaluation

The narrative evaluation gives you a chance to review your contract and evaluate your growth. You can include a final product as well as a self-assessment. Your sponsor evaluates your growth as well by assessing competencies and writing a narrative commentary on your growth.

How It Works

The contract and evaluation are online forms. They work because you fill them out correctly. For example, you enter your sponsor’s name and email and then when you are ready for your sponsor to review your contract you select the option to send the form to your sponsor. Your sponsor immediately gets a form that allows them to review the contract.

The Contract

The word “contract” is chosen deliberately. You are making a commitment and putting it into words. You have a sponsor to “hold you to it” and when they sign it they are committing to be responsible for supporting you.

The learning contract is a commitment by you, made in collaboration with your sponsor.

Online Form

The learning contract, an online form completed by the student, and reviewed and signed by the faculty sponsor, is a key component of the specialty course. Without successful completion of this form, you can not pass the course.

Tool of Communication

The contract describes the student’s learning needs and goals, framed in the language of competence and entrustability.  It also ensures that the faculty sponsor understands the work they will do as your sponsor.

Foundation of Narrative Evaluation

Done well, the contract will prepare the student to write a powerful narrative evaluation.

Plan Ahead

There are steps you can take to optimize your success but they require planning ahead.

First: It’s a good idea to meet with your Course Director before you complete your contract to discuss your ideas and make sure you understand the requirements

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Your course director can give you valuable feedback that allows you to refine your ideas, learning outcomes and assessment tools so that your sponsor will be able to more effectively evaluate you.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Second: If you submit your contract at least a week, if not more before the course starts you will have two opportunities: You can get feedback on your contract and make revisions in collaboration first with your course director and then with your sponsor.

You can send your contract to your Clinical Distinction Course Director before you send it to your sponsor by checking the second item at the end of the form. Select “before sending this to my faculty sponsor I would like my CD course director to review it” and the form will go directly to your course director. Their comments won’t appear on the version you send to your sponsor.

After you make revisions based on your course director’s advice, you should select “Please send this contract to my sponsor for review,” If your contract is early enough there is plenty of time for your sponsor to make suggestions and send the form back to you. Then you can revise your plan and still have the contract completed by the first day.

The Narrative Evaluation

The word “narrative” is chosen deliberately. Rather than an achievement, your work in Clinical Distinction represents your process. This is better described in a narrative than with a letter grade, number or p/f/honors.

The narrative evaluation contains your self-evaluation and your sponsor’s evaluation of you.

Online Form

You’ll receive a link via email to the narrative evaluation when your contract is approved. If you don’t have the link at the beginning of your project it means your contract isn’t approved. Get help before proceeding. The course coordinator is a great resource.

Tool of Communication

Meeting with your sponsor for an exit interview to discuss your self-evaluation and their thoughts not only allows learning through feedback but will also help your sponsor effectively evaluate you in the final form. The more you are able to communicate your experience, the more authentic and specific their evaluation can be.

MSPE Fields

Specific Fields from the Narrative, including the executive summary, your self-evaluation, and your sponsor’s evaluation will be transcribed into your MSPE. Specifically describing competency growth is the foundation of the best evaluations.


Review these documents to get some ideas about the possibilities.


low angle photography of tunnel

Criteria for passing are different then learning outcomes. When you complete your contract you’ll be asked about these things separately.

low angle photography of tunnel

When you write your narrative evaluation, you’ll refer back to your contract and use the goals and learning outcomes you decided on to determine your growth and development during the project. 

low angle photography of tunnel

The more refined and robust your contract is, the more likely you’ll have a shining narrative evaluation and dean’s letter.

Your Support Team

Throughout third year, students can rely on the course coordinator and course directors to guide them through the journey. The contract and the narrative should be a regular part of your conversation with the CD team.

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