March 17, 2003
|To:||Deans of Member and Fee-Paid Schools|
|From:||Carl C. Monk|
|Subject:||Law School Grading Curves|
As you may know, the AALS, ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Conference of Chief Justices, and National Conference of Bar Examiners have created a Joint Working Group on Bar Admission, which held its first meeting last week in Chicago. At that meeting a question arose about the extent to which law schools have established "grading curves" that faculty members are asked to follow in assigning course grades.
The Working Group seeks your help in collecting this information. Please send me a copy of any memorandum or policy statement that your school has adopted concerning the assigning of course grades. Such policies might, for example, state a median or mean grade for each course, a percentage of "A's" or "D's" to be assigned, or the like. Any policy that is intended to "normalize" grades or maintain consistency in grading among various courses or faculty members is relevant to our inquiry.
We are interested in such statements whether they are mandatory or simply advisory, and whether they apply only to certain courses (e.g., the first year of law school) or to all courses. If you have different policies for different types of courses, we would like to have a copy of all applicable policies.
To simplify your response, you can either enclose your policy statement or statements with this memo and put it in the mail to me, or attach the statements to an e-mail response. Although your policies may well be "public information", we will not release any of this information in a form that would allow any individual law school to be identified.
If your school has not adopted a grading policy statement, please check the second box below and return this memo.
Thanks for your help.
____ Our law school's grading policy statement or statements are enclosed.
____ Our law school has not adopted a grading policy statement.
cc: Executive Committee
Deans of Modified Service Fee-Paid Schools