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Author Topic: Strict Grading Curves - A Major Cause for Concern?  (Read 2063 times)

trogdor

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Re: Strict Grading Curves - A Major Cause for Concern?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2006, 11:05:03 AM »
i find this subject wholly confounding.  there should be no attachment of objective value to the letter grade/gpa of a student outside of their relative standing in the class.  i have a hard time believing that law firms, particularly good law firms, don't understand how a grade curve works.  fyi:

         "If potential employers were wholly rational, they would care about only two facts in assessing a student's grades: where a student job applicant ranked within his or her class, and the overall quality of the students at the applicant's school compared to those at other schools. The nominal figure assigned to express a student's grade average would be irrelevant except insofar as it gave information about the student's relative position within the class.

        In conversations that we have had with employers and career service professionals, we are convinced that whereas most employers do not attach independent significance to a student's nominal grade average, some employers do attach significance to the grade average number for its own sake. Our sense is that such irrationality is less prevalent with large firms and more common with employers who are less frequent players in the market."

http://ls.wustl.edu/WULQ/76-1/761-13.html
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ajstyles

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Re: Strict Grading Curves - A Major Cause for Concern?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2006, 11:32:30 AM »
So is a harsh curve (curving based on a C) the same thing as a "forced curve?"

queencruella

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Re: Strict Grading Curves - A Major Cause for Concern?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2006, 11:36:09 AM »
Notre Dame doesn't have a strict curve. It is up to each professor. All the professors' grades are posted in the law school so you know what the average/distribution is for each class.  Plus, you can pick where you want to interview instead of the company picking you, so that also helps out a lot. I think you just have to learn how to use the alumni network to your advantage.

Barney

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Re: Strict Grading Curves - A Major Cause for Concern?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2006, 12:04:41 PM »
Really? I'd read so much about this notorious curve. Good to hear the reports were misinformed.

BigRig

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Re: Strict Grading Curves - A Major Cause for Concern?
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2006, 12:06:47 PM »
Trogdor, right on. If only the world were wholly rational.  You're right, we really shouldn't focus on this and we've let our inexperience and naivete overemphasize it.
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queencruella

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Re: Strict Grading Curves - A Major Cause for Concern?
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2006, 12:11:40 PM »
Really? I'd read so much about this notorious curve. Good to hear the reports were misinformed.

I just glanced at the distribution, but it didn't seem like most class averages were that low. All seemed to be above 3.0. Plus, if a firm requires a 3.4 and you want to apply with a 3.2 or 3.3, it's fine. You get interviews based on your preference for a company, not based on your GPA. The school does not want the people in the top 10% to get all the interviews while other people are getting none.

pinkybella

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Re: Strict Grading Curves - A Major Cause for Concern?
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2006, 12:28:13 PM »
I still think that the grading curve is something to consider when deciding where to go, even if you believe employers do not place much weight on GPA.

Harsher curves lead to more competitive school environments and this in turn affects how helpful classmates are.

When you attend a school with a harsher curve, you don't only have to worry about being toward the top of the class, you also have to worry about not failing out! This is especially worrisome because law school exams are so subjective and there is very little difference between an "a" exam and a "b" exam. I really think this makes the whole law school experience so much stressful.

Someone posted this on their LSN and I thought it was extremely helpful:

The bell curve and grade normalization is typical across most of the law schools, but place special attention to the grade distribution and what constitutes an "A" or "B". I'm sure all of us expect to do well in school, but look at the attrition rate - well for Whittier, it is expected that 31.2% - 40% of the class will not return (some will transfer to other schools, but most will "choose" to leave while still in good standing and others will be "asked" to leave while in bad standing. If you are in bad standing you won't be able to even get in at a CBA school. You'll have to regroup and choose a different career path and pay off your huge loans.) Here are two grade distributions for law school pulled from the schools' websites.

For Whittier, it is a skewed bell curve:
A's 0-10%
B's 15-25% (With A's & B's accounting for a minimum of 15% and a max of 30% of the grade distribution)
C's 35-65%
D's 20-35%
F's 0-10% (With D's & F's accounting for a minimum of 20% and a max of 35% of the grade distribution)

For comparison, look at Golden Gate's grade distribution:
A's 5-20%
B's 45-60% (With A's & B's accounting for a minimum of 50% and a max of 80% of the grade distribution)
C's 13-20%
D's and below 0-5%


Again, I do not advocate deciding on a school solely because of their curve but I do think it's something to consider and be aware of.

trogdor

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Re: Strict Grading Curves - A Major Cause for Concern?
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2006, 12:36:42 PM »
i can see this being an issue if you are in a t4/maybe t3 but not at t1 and t2 really in which very few people drop/fail out of school.  you're probably right that it is something to consider and everyone would like the illusion of doing better with a comforting 3.2 rather than a 2.8, but i don't think it's "a major cause for concern".
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pinkybella

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Re: Strict Grading Curves - A Major Cause for Concern?
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2006, 12:39:26 PM »
i can see this being an issue if you are in a t4/maybe t3 but not at t1 and t2 really in which very few people drop/fail out of school.  you're probably right that it is something to consider and everyone would like the illusion of doing better with a comforting 3.2 rather than a 2.8, but i don't think it's "a major cause for concern".

I totally agree with you. In my previous post in this thread, I mentioned that this is much more of an issue for people at Tier 3s and Tier 4s, where GPA may be an issue when searching for employment and where schools fail out a large number of people. I think people at Tier 2s and Tier 1s have much less to worry about.

cyberrev

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Re: Strict Grading Curves - A Major Cause for Concern?
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2006, 06:30:43 PM »
i  was thrilled to find out that ualr didnt have a curve