Law School Discussion

Grading Curve Question

Re: Grading Curve Question
« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2005, 04:17:43 PM »

Second, some professors just throw the tests down the stairwell and give those that land on the top steps an A, middle steps a B, etc. The legal term for this is Stairy Decisis ..


In addition, professors conspire with administration to distribute grades ... they will look into the students undergrad school (the more prestigious the undergrad school the higher the grade) the LSAT score and other indicias of "smartness," such as your parent's income, occupation (if one of your parents is a lawyer you've definitely an edge). Blacks, Latinos and other minorities are usually C-ed, boys are almost always given higher grades (a fraction) just for being boys .. and so on, you get the point ..

On the other hand, if you do a really good job, they can not downgrade by more than one letter ... that is to say, if you write a stellar exam after being loaded with drugs for an entire week and your exam is absolutely the best A+, the most they can do is downgrade you to something like B+ -- they won't go that far as to give you a B- (or even B for that matter)! Please note, though, that it takes a hell of a lot of work and effort in law school to write a stellar exam to be absolutely the best! Remember that as much as half of your classmates are probably on something on the day of the exam (especially at cutthroat schools) so to get an edge you'll have to be on something EVERY SINGLE DAY of your exams time period to actually increase your assimilation capacity (and probably jack up your IQ too!) For instance, it's pretty much a well-known fact that many students randomly use, say, 3X30 mg tablets of Adderall everyday during the exam period and 2-3 coke blowns on the day of the exam!


Re: Grading Curve Question
« Reply #31 on: September 11, 2005, 05:51:14 PM »
We have ties at our school.  There were two no. "3's" and three no. "25's".  No "4" or "26" or "27".

Pretty much just like the USNews rankings

Re: Grading Curve Question
« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2005, 02:17:35 AM »
We have ties at our school.  There were two no. "3's" and three no. "25's".  No "4" or "26" or "27".

Pretty much just like the USNews rankings

;) LOL

Re: Grading Curve Question
« Reply #33 on: September 25, 2005, 07:05:04 PM »


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Re: Grading Curve Question
« Reply #34 on: September 26, 2005, 07:09:38 AM »
Back on topic:

Professors in our school need to stay between a 2.9 and a 3.1.  If they find that the class is exceptional (or exceptionally dumb), they can petition the dean to go up to a 3.3 or a 2.7.  It almost never ever happens.

In my summer class, there were a lot of high grades, but almost no one failed.  Only 4 people got B's, most got B+ or B-.  Since there were a ton of B-'s, there were seemingly a lot of A's and A-'s without having any C's.  The curve ended up being a 3.09, which we were told it would likely be because it was a summer class, so they were being generous.


Re: Grading Curve Question
« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2005, 01:07:39 PM »
Does your school have a requirement to give students a certain number of As, taco? Say to 30% of class in an Elective Course, for instance?

Re: Grading Curve Question
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2005, 02:44:14 PM »
 I read that Berkeley has no grades, just pass fail and honors. Is there any disadvantage to this as far as getting jobs, or is it generally accepted in the job area that this is the case?

Re: Grading Curve Question
« Reply #37 on: October 14, 2005, 09:55:55 PM »
From my perspective it seems that most law school essay exams get graded on a point system that goes something like this - you get a "point" for every issue that you bring up, and often a "point" for citing cases. To get a good score, you have to get more "points" than your classmates. To get more "points," you have to cite more issues and more cases. Also, most professors don't deduct points for incorrect responses, they just ignore them.

I spent my first year trying to write well, trying to really "learn" the material, and I didn't get a single "A." My second year, in contrast, I didn't do much reading and I approached the exam with a "get more points" mentality - before the exam, I would go over old exams and construct detailed lists of "points" to hit on for each topic, and would try my best to find a case to cite for each. During the exam, I was barely thinking at all - instead, I was simply copying down items from my note sheet. The result: My grades dramatically improved, and I scored lower than A- in only 2 classes the entire year.

Ironic, really, since I feel like I know a lot more from my first year classes than I do from my second.

Law professors often say that their exams test your ability to "think," and in most cases I think that's dead wrong. Not that I'm saying that reasoning ability isn't necessary to do well on an exam, but it stands to reason that at any particular law school the students are going to be equally skilled in the 'ability to think' arena. These tests aren't ferreting out the "best thinkers."

Given a particular subject, there are only so many things that you can test on. It's easy enough to spend time constructing a roadmap for almost any type of question. As I said, I've done it. It wasn't until I gave up trying to "think" on exams and spent more time regurgitating what was written on my attack sheet that I started getting A's.

Given that these exams are all curved, and that they all pretty much come down to a simple "point" grid, why isn't a well crafted multiple choice test is a much more fair and accurate way to test actual knowledge? Having to pick A, B, or C forces a student to come up with an answer, and by doing so prevents him from hedging his bets by coyly and indecisively answering "sometimes this, but in the alternative, it could be this, etc." Maybe many law profs actually believe that their exams measure "reasoning ability" - as I've stated, I disagree. Or maybe it's that they give essays because they themselves had to take essays, "and gosh darn it, I hated taking them and now you're going to hate taking them too!" In law, especially in academia law, there seems to be a lot of "paying your dues" mentality.

I know of one media-friendly prof who gives a torts exam fact pattern that contains some 500+ individual torts, and says "list as many as you can find." Really, what is this if not a simple speed typing test?

You can't be attending a good school...

Re: Grading Curve Question
« Reply #38 on: October 20, 2005, 02:55:50 AM »
I think law schools should do away with curves. Some are already up and up with that,32561.msg497579.html

Re: Grading Curve Question
« Reply #39 on: October 30, 2005, 04:45:04 PM »