Examinations and Grades

In most courses, the final grade is based largely on the student's achievement on an examination or final paper given at the end of the semester. Examinations are anonymous, and papers are identified solely by number, unless the circumstances of the assessment make this inappropriate. Each student is expected to take examinations at the scheduled times, unless an appropriate arrangement is made with the Director of Student Services pursuant to policy.  Failure to take an exam at the appropriate time or in the appropriate manner can result in a grade of F.

Grading of student work is on a 4.0 system:
A+       4.3
A         4.0
A-        3.7
B+       3.3
B         3.0
B-       2.7
C+      2.3
C        2.0
C-      1.7
D+     1.3
D       1.0
D-      0.7
F        0

Some courses are graded on a credit/no credit (pass/fail) basis.

A student receiving a grade of F in a required course must repeat and pass the course. Grades of F remain on a student's transcript and count toward a student's grade-point average even if a course for which an F is given is repeated and passed.

The temporary grade of I (incomplete) is recorded when the student has not completed the work required for the course.

Exam Tardiness: 
Students are expected to be in their seats five (5) minutes prior to the start of the exam.  Absent exigent circumstances, students who arrive after the exam has started must begin their exams immediately and WILL NOT receive additional time (this also applies to time used to set up exam software). 

Grade Normalization Policy

The faculty policy regarding grade normalization follows:

Requirements for the average grade in each course

  • First year courses

For the traditional first year courses, the average grade in each class must be no less than 2.8 and no more than 3.0.

It is recommended that at least 10 percent of the grades in a traditional first year course should be A- or higher.

  • Other required courses

For other required courses, the average grade in each class must be no less than 2.9 and no more than 3.2.

It is recommended that at least 15 percent of the grades in other required courses should be A- or higher.

  • Elective courses

For all other courses, the average grade in each class must be no less than 3.0 and no more than 3.6.

It is recommended that the average grade generally will be in the middle of this range, between 3.2 and 3.4. 

A faculty member may choose to grade an elective course as credit/no-credit, notwithstanding the above.

Variation of average grades across sections of required courses

In all required courses (i.e., the traditional first year courses and all other required courses) where more than one section is offered in the same semester, the professors teaching the sections will be required to have average grades that differ by no more than 0.10.  The professors will discuss this and seek to reach a consensus in order to satisfy this requirement.  If agreement cannot be reached by the professors, the issue shall be submitted to the Associate Dean for Faculty for resolution. It is intended that this process will allow the average grades for each section of a course to be within the required ranges and to vary from professor to professor by no more than 0.10.

Notes for applying this policy

  1. This policy applies to JD students.  Other students (such as those doing the LL.M. or M.L.S. degrees) will be subject to the grading policies for those programs.
  2. The traditional first year courses as of Spring 2024 are Civil Procedure: Pleadings, Motions & Related Matters; Constitutional Law; Contracts I; Contracts II; Criminal Law; Lawyering Skills I; Lawyering Skills II; Property I; Property II; and Torts.  These courses are labeled “traditional” first year courses, knowing that part-time and January-starter students may take these courses after the completion of their first year in law school.
  3. The other required courses as of Spring 2024 are Business Organizations; Civil Procedure: Jurisdiction; Criminal Procedure I; Evidence; Federal Taxation; and Professional Responsibility. 
  4. Where there are multiple courses that can fulfill a requirement (such as the experiential credit requirement or the ABA 303(c) requirement), and students can choose which course(s) to take to fulfill the requirement, those courses are treated as elective courses rather than required courses under this policy.
  5. Where an instructor is teaching two or more sections of the same course in a semester, the grade requirements can be satisfied on an aggregate or combined basis for all the sections taught by that instructor, rather than for each separate section. Additionally, if there are multiple versions or sections of a course taught by adjuncts under the supervision of a regular faculty member, the grade requirements can be satisfied on an aggregate or combined basis.
  6. For purposes of this policy, an average grade will not be rounded upward or downward.
  7. The average grade for a course will be calculated after the professor’s adjustments for matters related to the quality of the student’s performance in the course (such as any upward adjustments for good class participation) but before administrative adjustments for other matters such as grade reductions for having too many absences.
  8. While there are no mandatory distributional requirements at either the high or low end of the grade distribution for any course (in other words, there are no minimum or maximum numbers of low or high grades that must be given), it is intended that professors will use methods of evaluation that will appropriately measure or disclose significant differences in student achievement. 
  9. Students receiving an incomplete will not be considered in calculating the average grade for the course.  Similarly, when such a student completes the course, the average grade for the course will not be re-calculated.
  10. Grades will not be entered and posted if they do not comply with the policy.  If a professor submits grades that do not comply with the grading policy, the professor will be given a chance to revise the grades so that they comply with the policy.  If a professor does not do so, the law school’s Dean will determine what steps to take to resolve the issue, which may include adjusting the grades submitted by the professor or entering all grades for the course on a credit or no credit basis.