Grading Standards

Grades

For most classes, the law school uses a letter grade system as reflected below.  The chart below also shows the point value equivalents of each of the grade; there is no rounding.

A  = 4.0
A- = 3.67
B+ = 3.33
B  =  3.0
B- = 2.67
C+ = 2.33
C   = 2.0
C-  = 1.67
D+ = 1.33
D  = 1.0
D- = 0.67
F  = 0.0

Calculation of Grade Point Averages

After all grades have been recorded for students each semester, the Law School will calculate and report to each student his or her individual grade point average using the numerical equivalents explained in number above.

Interpretations of Letter Grades

A

A grade of A is given to any student who completes the requirements for a course and does so in a fashion that is uniformly outstanding for a law student and future lawyer at this stage of his or her education.

A-

A grade of A- is given to any student who completes the requirements for a course and does so in a fashion that is often outstanding but lacks the consistency associated with uniformly outstanding work for a law student and future lawyer at this stage of his or her education.

B+

A grade of B+ is given to any student who completes the requirements for a course and does so in a fashion that is very good but lacks the consistency associated with outstanding work for a law student and future lawyer at this stage of his or her education.

B

A grade of B is given to any student who completes the requirements for a course and does so in a fashion that is uniformly good work for a law student and future lawyer at this stage of his or her education.

B-

A grade of B- is given to any student who completes the requirements for a course and does so in a fashion that is often good work but lacks the consistency associated with uniformly good work for a law student and future lawyer at this stage of his or her education.

C+

A grade of C+ is given to any student who completes the requirements for a course and does so in a fashion that is above the level of competent but not rising to the level of good work for a law student and future lawyer at this stage of his or her education.

C

A grade of C is given to any student who completes the requirements for a course and does so in a fashion that is competent for a law student and future lawyer at this stage of his or her education.

C-

A grade of C- is given to any student who completes the requirements for a course and does so in a fashion that is below the level of competent, lacking the consistency necessary for competent work for a law student and future lawyer at this stage of his or her education. A student who maintains a C- average is not eligible to graduate, and if that average persists, is not eligible to continue his or her studies at the School of Law.

D+

A grade of D+ is given to any student who completes the requirements for a course and does so in a fashion that reflects some skill but is solidly below the level of competent for a law student and future lawyer at this stage of his or her education.

D

A grade of D is given to any student who completes the requirements for a course and does so in a fashion that reflects some skill but is substantially below competent for a law student and future lawyer at this stage of his or her education.

D-

A grade of D- is given to any student who completes the requirements for a course and does so in a fashion that generally reflects some minimal skill that is marginally above a failing grade for a law student and future lawyer at this stage of his or her education.

F

A grade of F is given to any student who either: (a) completes the requirements for a course and does so in a fashion that is not acceptable in a law student and future lawyer at this stage of his or her education; or (b) does not complete the requirements for the course in a timely fashion. This grade confers no credit for the course.

Interpretations of Other Letter Grades

In particular circumstances, a student may receive one of the following letter grades: P, W, WA, WF, X, or I:

P

Eligible courses will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis. A grade of P is given to any student who passes a Pass/Fail course. This grade confers credit but is not calculated in the semester or cumulative grade point average.

W

A grade of W is posted on the transcript whenever a student, after receiving approval from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, withdraws from a course after the fourth week of classes in a full term or the second week of classes in a summer term. The W grade confers no credit and is not calculated in the semester or cumulative grade point average.

WA

Once a student has received three WAs on his or her transcript, any subsequent withdrawals from any class on the basis of attendance shall result in the student receiving an F (0.00) on his or her transcript; exceptions can be made at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. A failing grade will be calculated as part of the semester and cumulative grade point average.

WF

A grade of WF is posted on the transcript whenever a student is withdrawn from a course for excessive absences and has a failing grade at the time the student is withdrawn. The WF grade confers no credit and is calculated in the grade average (0.00).

X

A grade of X is posted on the transcript if the student, through no fault of his or her own, has not yet received a grade for a course. This grade is designed for those situations in which a course is expected to take more than one semester to complete. This grade also covers unforeseeable circumstances unrelated to the student. The X grade does not confer credit for the course and is not calculated in the grade point average.

I

A grade of I is given to a student who has not completed the requirements for a course due to unforeseen and exigent circumstances relating to the student. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs must approve a grade of I before such a grade is given for a course. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall set conditions for completing the requirements of the course, including the deadline by which the course work must be completed.  Generally, the deadline for completion of the course requirements will not extend beyond the subsequent semester, and typically the deadline will be much shorter than that.  If the student does not meet the conditions set forth by the Academic Dean, an unresolved I becomes an F (0.00). At no time does an I confer credit for a course.

Pass/Fail Grading

Grading Standard

Any course in which letter grades are not expected to be given will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis. Students who pass the course receive a P for the course. Students who fail the course receive an F (0.00). A failing grade will be calculated as part of a student’s semester and cumulative grade point average.

For all coursework taken on a Pass/Fail basis, whether at or outside the School of Law, students who perform below a passing level will receive an F.

Credit Hour Limitation.

Absent approval in writing from Chair of the Academic Standards Committee, no student may count more than twelve [12] credit hours earned in courses graded on a Pass/Fail basis toward the total number of hours required for graduation. Credits earned in the Bar Preparation Course and Critical Practice Skills III are exempt from this limit. See Computation of Graduation Credits for additional information.

Grading Ranges for School of Law Classes

All Required Courses

A mandatory grade-point-average course range of 2.4 to 3.0 applies to each section of all required courses (including all first-year doctrinal courses, first-year legal writing courses, and upper-level required courses). Professors who, in the same semester, are teaching multiple sections of the same required course shall consult with one another during the grading process to work collaboratively to achieve a fair intersection course GPA variation.

a. For purposes of achieving the mandatory mean, a professor may assign the grade of F to up to five percent (5%) of the course enrollment without affecting the mean.

All Elective Courses

A suggested grade-point-average course range of 2.70 to 3.33 is suggested for each section of all graded (non-Pass/Fail) elective courses.

Departing from the Ranges

  • Mandatory Range: Requests to depart from the mandatory range must be directed to the Dean’s designee (the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs) or the Dean’s Office. There is a strong presumption against the grant of such requests, and only the most exceptional of circumstances (and a compelling showing of clear necessity) can warrant departures from mandatory ranges. The burden of making such a showing rests with the instructor who requests the departure.
  • Suggested Range: Departures from suggested ranges lie with the discretion of each instructor, who may award grades outside the suggested range when, in the instructor’s discretion (due to course size, seminar- or clinical-nature, or otherwise), a departure is warranted.

Section Consultations

When multiple sections of the same course are offered in any semester, the instructors of each section are encouraged to circulate their grade distributions to one another prior to posting and to seek as much inter-section grading uniformity as they deem achievable. A faculty member teaching two sections of the same course may average the grades of the two sections to achieve the mandatory range.

Course Information

By the first day of class, or in no event later than the second class, each professor must have a course syllabus available to students. In addition to listing the professor’s name, contact information and office hours, the course syllabus shall include the following components:

A) Required course materials;

B) Course objectives;

C) Basis for the course grade:

  • Whether there are any quizzes, projects and/or midterms and, if so, the weight of each component in the final grade;
  • Whether there is a final exam and, if so, the weight of the final exam in the final grade;
  • If there is a final exam, whether the final exam is proctored or non-proctored, and whether students will be allowed to use any materials during the exam;
  • Whether participation, in-class or otherwise, is a component of the final grade and, if so, the weight of participation in the final grade.

D) The school’s attendance policy or professor’s policy if it is stricter than the school policy; and

E) A notice that students with disabilities should contact the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs as soon as possible to request reasonable accommodations should those accommodations be desired.

Requests for Grade Changes

After a Professor has submitted grades to the Office of the Registrar, the grades are final and may not be changed except with permission from the Academic Standards Committee or, as set forth below, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. To qualify, a requested grade change must allege facts indicating a basis for the change that falls within one of three categories set forth below and in accordance with the policies detailed below:

A. Mathematical, Administrative or Clerical Error

1. Upon a showing that a grade was recorded in error due to a mathematical error, administrative error or clerical error, a request for a grade change should be presented to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. In general, requests for grade changes on the basis of a mathematical error, an administrative error, or a clerical error, are submitted by the faculty member who taught the course.

2. A mathematical error is an error based upon an incorrect calculation of a student’s score on an exam or in a class, such as an error in addition, subtraction, or other formulaic error.

3. An administrative error is a non-mathematical error made by a faculty member in reading a student’s exam, such as unintentionally overlooking a portion of a student’s exam answer.

4. A clerical error is an error, other than those addressed above, such as a transcription error. Clerical errors are not limited to errors made by faculty and include errors made by a staff member after a faculty member has submitted his or her grades.

5. If a student wishes to challenge a grade based on any of the above grounds, the student shall first address the issue directly with the faculty member responsible for the grade. If the faculty member agrees that a mathematical error, administrative error or clerical error has been made, the faculty member shall submit the request for a grade change to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

6. If the faculty member does not agree that a mathematical error, administrative error or clerical error has been made, the student may submit a written request for the change to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The Associate Dean shall allow the faculty member to provide a written response and shall conduct any investigation he or she deems necessary before making a final determination.

B. Bias

1. A grade challenge made on the basis of bias would include an allegation by a student that his or her grade was unfairly awarded based upon a particular faculty member’s bias with regard to (and presumably against) that student.

2. To allege bias, a student must allege specific facts indicating professorial prejudice (either against a group of students or against the student making the allegation). To qualify for consideration, the challenge must allege that the prejudice stems from a source other than the student’s performance in class discussions, on the course’s webpage, on assignments, or on papers, quizzes and examinations. Allegations of bias must be made under oath.

3. Challenges based on bias shall be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who shall forward the challenge directly to the Academic Standards Committee. The Committee shall allow the faculty member involved to provide a written response and shall conduct any investigation it deems necessary. If the faculty member involved is a member of the Committee, the faculty member shall be recused from participating in the deliberations.

C. Arbitrary and capricious grading

1. A grade challenge made on the basis of an allegation of arbitrary and capricious grading must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who shall forward the challenge directly to the Academic Standards Committee. The arbitrary and capricious standard is narrow and, when reviewing a challenge on this basis, the Academic Standards Committee is not to substitute its judgment for that of the professor.  The Committee should find that a grade is arbitrary and capricious only if there was no rational basis for the grade, based on all the circumstances.

2. The Committee shall allow the faculty member involved to provide a written response and shall conduct any investigation it deems necessary. If the faculty member involved is a member of the Committee, the faculty member shall be recused from participating in the deliberations.

D. Requests for changes to grades must be made no later than:

  • January 31 for fall semester grades; and
  • August 31 for spring, Maymester, and summer semester grades.

E. All decisions of the Academic Standards Committee with respect to requests for grade changes shall be final. All decisions by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs with respect to grades change requests under “Mathematical, administrative or clerical error” shall be final.

Repeating Courses

The right of a student to repeat or to be reexamined in a course is limited as follows:

  • A student may repeat any course from which s/he withdrew and received a “W” for the course.
  • A student who receives a grade of “F”, “W”, “WA”, or “WF” in a required course must repeat the course.
  • In all other cases, a student shall not be permitted to repeat any course without the approval of the Academic Standards Committee. The Committee may grant such approval only upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances (and never for the sole purpose of allowing the student the opportunity to pursue a higher grade for the same course or to improve the student’s grade point average).
  • In the case of repetition of a course, both the original grade earned and the grade earned on repetition shall be reported on the transcript and computed as part of the student’s cumulative grade point average.
Satisfactory Completion of a Course

A student is deemed to have completed a course when she or he registers for the course and receives a grade of “D-” or better or, in the case of a course that is graded Pass/Fail, a “P.” A student who receives a grade of “F”, “WF”, “WA”, or a “W” in a course will not be deemed to have completed the course.