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Grading Policy

Following is the faculty policy on grades (effective 2014)

1. The mean grade for a class shall be between 3.25 and 3.35, unless one of the exceptions enumerated below (see 2) applies.

a. Inclusion of Non-JDs Is Optional: All JD students enrolled in the class must be included in this calculation.  The instructor has discretion as to whether to include any enrolled non-JD students in this calculation.  If the non-JD students are not included with the JD students in the mean calculation, no mean requirement applies to the non-JD students.

b. Treatment of First-Year Students in Upper-Class Courses: Professors may calculate separate curves for first-year and upper-class students in courses that enroll both. Each curve considered separately shall be subject to these rules.

2. Exceptions

a. High Incoming GPAs: If the average incoming GPA of the JD students who enroll in an upper-division class is above 3.5, the maximum permitted mean grade for the class rises accordingly (i.e., to the level of the average incoming GPA of the JD students). The minimum permissible mean grade remains 3.25, subject to other exceptions listed below.

b. Small Enrollments: In classes with 20 or fewer students (counting only JDs if non-JD students are graded separately) where relief is not already available under exception 2(a) (“High Incoming GPAs”), faculty may seek relief from rule 1 from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs on either of the following grounds:

(i) the method of evaluation for the class renders it inappropriate to conform to the mean requirement; or
(ii) the class did not generate an appropriate grade distribution.

c. Truly Exceptional Circumstances: In classes with 21 or more students (counting only JDs if non-JD students are graded separately) where relief is not already available under exception 2(a) (“High Incoming GPAs”), faculty may seek relief from rule 1 from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the event of a truly exceptional justification.

d. Seminars: Seminars automatically are exempt from rule 1.

3. Distribution of Grades

a. Mandatory Distribution of Grades in First-Year Large Sections:

  • 30 to 40% of grades must be A+, A, or A-; and,
  • at least 5% of grades must be C+, C, D, or F.

b. Recommended Distribution of Grades in Other Courses:

  • about 35% of grades should be A+, A, or A-;
  • about 55% of grades should be B+, B, or B-; and,
  • about 10% of grades should be C+, C, D, or F.

c. Maximum Percentage of A+ Grades: A maximum of 6% A+ grades (rounded up to the next whole number) may be awarded in most classes.  In seminars, no more than 15% of the grades may be A+.