Sunday, March 29, 2020
Following up on my previous posts on law school grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester in the wake of the coronavirus (links below):
Michael Krauss (George Mason), Should Law Schools Grade Pass-Fail This Semester?:
Quite a few top law schools have chosen to grade students on a pass-fail basis during this coronavirus-infected semester. ... I am extremely disappointed to have to teach the second half of this semester remotely. ... [O]ur class sessions are less rich when students only see each other as postage-stamp-size photos on the screen. For this I am truly sorry. But should this loss impact the type of grading that takes place? ...
Lawyers must confront many problems in their practice. Court dates conflict. Children are ill and must be cared for despite constant pressures of practice. Deadlines constantly loom, and witnesses occasionally vanish. Conflicts of interest counsel against taking cases, yet payrolls of assistants and paralegals must be met.
Yes, the coronavirus pandemic has imposed costs on law students, as it has on us all. No, throwing out the grading structure and denying excellent law students the opportunity to demonstrate their excellence is not the appropriate response to these costs. Law students should be allowed to demonstrate excellence, not merely pass. True, elite schools and median students will not be impacted by the change to a pass-fail structure, while excellent students at non-elite schools will be the biggest losers. Is that the redistribution we want to encourage?
TaxProf Blog coverage of law school grading policies in Spring 2020:
- Karen Sloan (Law.com), Law Schools Adopt Pass-Fail Grades As They Move Online Amid COVID-19 (Mar. 19, 2020)
- Jon Adler (Case Western), Grading In The Time Of Coronavirus: For Most Law Schools, Pass/Fail Is A Mistake (Mar. 23, 2020)
- Josh Blackman (South Texas), Law Schools Should Not Abandon Standard Grading Policies For All Students Due To The Coronavirus (Mar. 23, 2020)
- Josh Blackman (South Texas), Law Professors Quietly Oppose Pass/Fail Grading (Mar. 25, 2020)
- Josh Blackman (South Texas), Law Students Quietly Oppose Pass/Fail Grading (Mar. 26, 2020)
- Karen Sloan (Law.com), 'People Are Pissed': Pass/Fail Grading Controversy Roils Law Schools (Mar. 26, 2020)
- Karen Sloan (Law.com), Law Students Share Anxiety, Support On Reddit Over Grading Policies In Wake Of Coronavirus (Mar. 27, 2020)
- Noah Zatz (UCLA), The Case For Mandatory Pass/Fail Grading In Spring 2020 (Mar. 28, 2020)
- Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Thoughts About (And Mostly Against) Pass-Fail Law School Grading During Covid-19 (Mar. 28, 2020)
- Michael Krauss (George Mason), Should Law Schools Grade Pass-Fail This Semester? (Mar. 29, 2020)
For complete TaxProf Blog coverage of the coronavirus, see here.