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Author Topic: Harvard adopts Pass/Fail grading system  (Read 1054 times)

heartbreaker

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Harvard adopts Pass/Fail grading system
« on: September 28, 2008, 10:10:00 PM »
http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=524267

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Harvard Law School will be moving to a pass-fail grading system in the fall of 2009, joining peer institutions such as Yale and Stanford, Dean Elena Kagan announced in an e-mail to students this afternoon.

The move, which in lieu of the traditional system of letter grades will allow four levels of assessment—honors pass, pass, low pass, and fail—is intended, according to Kagan's e-mail, to "promote pedagogical excellence and innovation and further strengthen the intellectual community."

MauveAvenger

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Re: Harvard adopts Pass/Fail grading system
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2008, 10:11:14 PM »
Bells ring and the heavens rejoice!  :o

nerfco

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Re: Harvard adopts Pass/Fail grading system
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2008, 10:17:58 PM »
Just curious, but how does this work any differently in practice than a simple A, B, C, F system? I'm not actually sure what Harvard's system was before this, of course.

dashrashi

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Re: Harvard adopts Pass/Fail grading system
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2008, 08:18:13 PM »
Very stupid scale. Involves 7s and 8s. Most act like it's your normal 4.0 scale, though. To me, looks like the big difference is A-s and As: are both now Honors? If so, very cool. Or are A-s now just Passes? Less cool. Lumps it in with all the B+s and Bs. Basically the upshot is that it seems to get rid of the +/- distinction, which I happen to think makes a lot of psychological difference. Those with good grades (or the gunners who think they'd get good grades) are upset b/c now they don't have a way to distinguish themselves academically.

I kind of don't care at all. This may be because I'm a 2L who's not really interested in clerking, though, and who isn't doing OCI.
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Saw dashrashi's LSN site. Since she seems to use profanity, one could say that HYP does not necessarily mean class or refinement.

meesawoosa

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Re: Harvard adopts Pass/Fail grading system
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2008, 11:21:44 PM »
currently deferring one year and reeeeeaaally happy about this change. especially since in the final decision between HLS and YLS it was yale's grading system that gave me the biggest pull towards new haven. my undergrad had no plus or minuses and it made for a MUCH happier, more fulfilling, less competitive learning experience for all the students. hopefully thats how this system will also work :)

abbygal0330

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Re: Harvard adopts Pass/Fail grading system
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2008, 08:56:59 PM »
Hey everyone,

just to provide some insight-- there has been a GREAT deal of talk on this in the last couple of days, and we are having a meeting this thursday, a town hall of sorts, to talk about the pros/cons of also applying it to current 1L's before we get our first semester grades.

Previously, most professors graded on a number scale, and converted that number into a letter grade based on the curve. Now, it will be the same in terms of the base grade, but the raw number score will be converted into larger categories-- honors, pass, low pass and fail. I've spoken with several of my professors, and most are for the new system- they think it will reduce the focus on exams/grades-- I personally am VERY happy about the new system-- if any of you have questions going forward, don't hesitate to ask.
Harvard Law 2011

Lindbergh

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Re: Harvard adopts Pass/Fail grading system
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2008, 10:40:30 PM »
Why not eliminate standards entirely?  Wouldn't that improve pedagogical excellence even more?  :P