Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Law school grade inflation

Perhaps fearful of the prospect of being sued by a bunch of out of work law students that owe $120k in student loan debts, law schools have apparently decided it's easier to just tack a few extra grade points onto a students GPA than to actually go through the effort of training a competent workforce.

"One day next month every student at Loyola Law School Los Angeles will awake to a higher grade point average.

But it’s not because they are all working harder.

The school is retroactively inflating its grades, tacking on 0.333 to every grade recorded in the last few years. The goal is to make its students look more attractive in a competitive job market.

In the last two years, at least 10 law schools have deliberately changed their grading systems to make them more lenient. These include law schools like New York University and Georgetown, as well as Golden Gate University and Tulane University, which just announced the change this month. Some recruiters at law firms keep track of these changes and consider them when interviewing, and some do not.

Law schools seem to view higher grades as one way to rescue their students from the tough economic climate — and perhaps more to the point, to protect their own reputations and rankings."

Huh? Well, that's the new American work ethic - try hard and if it doesn't work out, well, you get an A, and you get an A and you get an A....

This reminds me of a history exam of a local student that someone shared with me. The student had missed 6 out of 35 questions. Not great, but it works out to roughly and 83%. Imagine my surprise when I saw the final score totaled as 108%. A variety of bonus questions and "neatness" kickers bumped the grade over 100% for work that was barely a B. I used to think that we were doing our kids a disservice by creating unrealistic expectations of continued grade inflation in college. Apparently, I was wrong - it's grade inflation for everyone!


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