The Standardized Letter of Evaluation (SLOE)

(formerly SLOR)

Instructions for Authors

New in 2013!  The SLOE has always been intended to be an evaluative tool and not necessarily a recommendation.  For this reason, the name SLOR has been replaced by SLOE.  This instrument was developed to provide a global perspective on an applicant’s candidacy for training by providing meaningful comparisons to peers applying for training in emergency medicine.  Please keep this in mind as you complete the SLOE.

Only Emergency Medicine Faculty may complete this form

The SLOE was developed to be1

  • Standardized
  • Concise
  • Discerning/Discriminating

Consequently, please refrain from changing the template, keep comments succinct and relevant, and make every effort to avoid grade inflation in your comparisons so as not to detract from the effectiveness of your SLOE.

A well written SLOE provides an overall perspective on what an individual candidate offers to a training program.  It is unique in its ability to provide comparative data to peers in addition to important information regarding the distinguishing non-cognitive characteristics (e.g. Maturity, professionalism, leadership, compassion, initiative, enthusiasm) that an applicant possess.

Each year the pool of candidates applying to emergency medicine is very competitive. As such, applicants “at the level of peers (middle 1/3)” should be viewed as a positive evaluation and “below the level of peers (lower 1/3)” may still describe a competitive candidate.  In addition to the applicant’s non-cognitive qualities, the written comments should include an explanation of areas that need attention or any low scores you provide.  Keep in mind that training programs vary in the attributes they value in a successful candidate.

Do’s:

  1. Please do answer every question
  2. Do avoid reiterating information that can be found elsewhere in the ERAS application
  3. The “Written comments” section should be about the applicant
  4. For institutions that see a moderate number of students, do write a Group SLOE that is authored by program leadership e.g. PD, CD, APD.  When done appropriately, these letters provide a balanced perspective of the applicant.
  5. Do keep in mind that most programs match out between #40-100 on their rank list.  As a result, middle 1/3 and lower 1/3 rankings should be viewed as competitive applicants who will likely match (Question C2b).

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t list random faculty comments from the rotation without context
  2. Don’t write lengthy dissertations.  The comments should be concise and limited to 250 words.
  3. Don’t use the comments section to describe your grading system or institution. 

If it is important to provide information regarding your institution’s demographics (e.g. grading, clinical experience, values) to better frame the applicant’s performance, please complete the SLOR Demographic Form. Completed forms will be posted on the CORD website as open access information on the Program Demographics page.  In addition, you may download a copy of this completed sheet to attach to individual SLOEs. 

Before you write a SLOE, you will need to:

  • Review the annual instructions, as they may change
  • Obtain last year’s clerkship grades for question A5.
  • Review the SLORs you authored last year to report both the total # authored and the # recommended in each of the global assessment rankings.  Remember that Question C1 requests the entire profile of global assessment rankings from the previous year for each applicant’s SLOE.

For authors who are new to the process, we encourage you to seek mentorship from CORD, the SLOE Task Force or your program leadership (PD, APD, CD, etc.) before completing the SLOE. 

Also available is the document Bibliographic Citation Guidelines for EM Residency Applicants. Please copy and share these guidelines with anyone interested in applying to emergency medicine residencies. Applicants are requested to provide a signed copy of this form with their completed application.

As envisioned by the original SLOR Task Force, this instrument “remains flexible and reflective of membership opinion”.  Please contact the CORD office (cord@cordem.org) or any task force member with any suggestions you may have.  Additional resources can be found at the ERAS/AAMC web site.

Reference
1. Keim SM, Rein JA, Chisholm C et al.  A Standardized Letter of Recommendation for Residency Application.  Academic Emergency Medicine  1999;6:1141-1146

SLOE Form Template

If you experience problems when downloading and would prefer to receive the document via email please contact the CORD office by phone at 888-444-2090 ext 3229 or email at cord@cordem.org. If you have questions about the content of the form please contact Dr. Jeff Love at cord@cordem.org.  If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions for revision of the Standard Letter of Evaluation, please send an e-mail to Dr. Love.

For more information rearding the SLOR/SLOE:

  • Keim SM, Rein JA, Chisholm C, Dyne PL, Hendey GW, Jouriles NJ et al.  A Standardized Letter of Recommendation for Residency Application.  Acad Emerg Med.  1999;6:1141-1146.
  • Garmel GM.  Letters of Recommendation:  What Does Good Really Mean?  Acad Emerg Med.  1997:4:833-834.
  • Harwood RC, Girzadas DV, Carlson A, Delis S, Stevison K, Tsonis G et a.  Characteristics of the Emergency Medicine Standardized Letter of Recommendation.  Acad Emerg Med.  2000;7:409-410.
  • Girzadas DV, Harwood RC, Dearie J, Garrett S.  A Comparison of Standardized and Narrative Letters of Recommendation.  Acad Emerg Med.  1998;5:1101-1104.
  • Girzadas DV, Harwood RC, Delis SN, Stevison K, Keng G, Cipparrone N et al.  Emergency Medicine Standardized Letter of Recommendation:  Predictors of Guaranteed Match.  Acad Emerg Med.  2001;8:648-653.
  • Love JN, Deiorio NM, Ronan-Bentle S, Howell, JM, Doty C, Lane DR, Hegarty C.  Characterization of the CORD Standardized Letter of Recommendation in 2011-2012. Academic Emergency Medicine.  2013;20:926-932.
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