Thursday, December 21, 2006


The grades, they are a-changin'...

According to Swanburg, an email went out today about the coming changes to Baylor Law's grading system. In short, we are adding a B+ and a C+ to the mix, and generally heading for a B average.

I'm wondering, Baylor people-- what do you think?

the next step is to give a staggered ajustment to recent grads and people who will be in law school at the time of the change.
Is it too late to request a grade change?
i have to agree 100% with ged3. is there any word as to how the school intends to handle the effect that the changes to the grading system are going to have on recent grads and those in school at the time the changes take place?
I appreciate the change and the people that put this change in motion. It gives me confidence that communication between the student body and administration is improving and can improve even more in the fuure. I don't even care so much about the actual grades as compared to the fact that an actual change was made in response to the dialogue that has been created.

However, I was a little annoyed at the email that was sent out. Dean Jackson wrote, "While the raw GPA numbers should only be a meaningful measure intraschool, we realize that students perceive a competitive disadvantage when the Baylor median student must include on his or her resume a GPA considerably lower than a median student from a comparable law school." This appears to me (and other students I've talked to) to be a slight against the students. We don't just "perceive" a disadvantage. Tell that to the student who was told by a potential employer that his resume was trashed simply because he didn't have a 3.5 gpa ("that's just the way it works"), or the student who looks for work out of state and is laughed out of the office because the employer doesn't know about Baylor's grading policy and doesn't buy what the student tells them. Sure, I agree that in a perfect law school world, gpas would only matter intraschool. But that's not reality, and it would be nice if the administration acknowledged that and acted like it was trying to sincerely help the students instead of just trying to appease us.
As the email makes clear there is no problem with the grading system as is but merely some students perceive there is a problem...

For the students almost done and the students recently graduated I am guessing we are all just SOL.

I am sure nobody is surprised by this.
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Can I put in for at least a B before I (hopefully) get there? ;o)
Yea we won!!
So why did Dean Calves' try to steal our thunder with that subtle jab regarding the fact that gpa SHOULD (she italicized)only matter intraschool? I am happy and thankful for the facutly's decision, but her comment was unneccessary and innappropriate
Come on folks, I think some more appreciation for the administration is in order. We have heard for years that they did not listen, but clearly, in this case, they did listen, and they have made a big move to accomodate. I expected something closer to gushing praise rather than more wailing and whining.
Amen to 02 alum. I've heard a lot of people talk about how arbitrary and uncaring the administration and our professors are. But the opposite is true. And I'm willing to give Dean Jackson the benefit of the doubt that her comment wasn't a jab but a justification for why the grading policy has been how it has been over the years.

Whether this change will improve our job prospects, I don't know. But I hope it will; only time will tell. More importantly, I hope it will improve the attitudes of hard-working law students in Waco.
Count me in as gushing praise.

hahahaha, looks like you just cant make some people happy.

-1 points for people who are upset about the "tone" of the email
Remember the Chris Rock bit about how you don't get praise for things you should do. i.e. ("I feed my kids" or "I stayed out of jail"). Same theory. If you are a law school, you shouldn't screw over you students when they are attempting to get jobs. So while I am pleased that they realized that things change, I won't get to gushing praise until I feel that they are being more proactive than reactive.
Like so many spoiled rich girls, who cried on their birthday, because the pony was the wrong color.
I have always had a philosophical problem with grade inflation. Unlike prices, which can presumably go up forever, grades can only go up so high. (Unless you start getting crazy like my high school and have a valedictorian with a 105.6 gpa.) Eventually, we'll all have 4.0's.

I've also always wondered about places like Harvard and Yale, with reputations for smarts. Does everybody get straight A's? Doesn't a 2.5 at Stanford or Columbia mean a lot more than a 3.5 at Texas Southern? It seems to me you can't separate the gpa from the school and still use it as a meaningful ground of comparison among applicants. I'm not on the job market just yet, but it seems like there is more wrong with the hiring system than with Baylor's grading system.

That said, it bodes well that the "Administration" (whatever that really is) listened, even if they were defensive of their past mistakes.
Dear 11:23,

Being able to put together a good analogy is a vital skill for a lawyer. If that's you best attempt, then perhaps you should attempt a professional school that is more your speed. Med-school, perhaps?


So you think that doctors are stupid people who can't make good analogies? I suppose you think you are smarter than most doctors? The last thing the world needs is law students like you.
Dear 12:58

I love how you equate having a weakness in an area with stupidity. No, I do not think "doctors are stupid people who can't make good analogies." I think your "analogy" was not well thought out and if that is the best you can do, then you might consider a profession where that particular skill is less central. For example: medicine. I’m just trying to help. I don’t want you wasting all that money on a legal education just to get stomped everyday in the real world. I would feel bad for you.

Please Note:
-You dismissed valid complaints from other students with an aggressive and inaccurate analogy.
-You responded to me by making two conclusions that do not logically follow from my statement: i.e. that "[I] think doctors are stupid and bad at analogies" and "[I am] smarter than most doctors. (The problem with the last one, in case you missed it sugar plum, is that you inserted an unwarranted comparative adjective. I think I am smarter than some doctors and stupider than many. This is especially true, when we consider only those skills that apply to being a doctor.)
-You made zero substantive response showing how your flippant comment was correct.

God knows, the world needs less of me as a law student, but given the skill-set you have demonstrated in your last two posts, my guess is that the world needs little, if any, of you as a lawyer.


Ugh. First of all, anonymous 12:58 is not the same person as anonymous 11:23. Second, you are twisting in the wind and we are all dumber for having read your last post.

Basically, you are saying that doctors are not smart enough or don't have the intellectual capacity to make good analogies, and that folks who aren't smart enough to make analogies belong in med school. And now you are outraged that I would dare accuse you of saying that doctors are stupid.

I was almost going to comment on your reasoning skills, but I won't ;-)
These changes should definitey be retroactive. Whatever philosophical problems we may have with grade inflation, there is absolutely no reason not to inflate grades when other schools are inflating grades. The Baylor administration can control the grades that are given at Baylor; they cannot control the legal job market or the hiring methods of prospective employers. Some universities have a reputation such that having a diploma from that school is enough to be employed and grades don't really matter. Unfortunately Baylor is not one of those schools and employers are not generally going to go out of their way to divine the finer points of Baylor's particular grading system. There is a much easier way to deal with this problem. Just inflate grades. Other schools do this. Simply increase every students GPA by some set amount. This is a very easy solution to a simple, if somewhat emotionally [though I'm not sure why it's such a big deal] charged issue.
I thought the pony thing was pretty funny, actually.
I did too, actually. What can I say? I'm a trouble maker.

I will be a 7th quarter in the spring who is currently taking the winter quarter off. Most of my classmates took the summer off and are in Con Law / Fed Tax right now. I took those classes this summer.

I will graduate at the same time they do. They get the grade adjustments on those two required classes, I do not.

9 credit hours seems small, but when I looked at how minuscule gpa disparities meant the difference between large class rank percentiles, I became very worried about this new grading policy.

I don't know if dropping from the top 1/3 to the top 1/2 in class rank matters or not when I try to find a job. But I'd prefer to only have to find that out based on the quality of my work rather than on the arbitrariness of a policy that discriminates based on when one choses to take a quarter off.

I haven't broken out a calculator and figured out if 9 credits would really change my class rank or not. But this is something I definitely should not be having to worry about. A level playing field shouldn't be too much to ask.
12:22a is right on. the change really disadvantages recent grads and soon to be grads. Not only are 1st year curves dramatically better, but now they are getting a grade bump too? contracts I w/ trail - 5 A/A-'s. contracts I w/ Bates - 28 A/A-'s. unbelievable. and just think - in the fall 2007 oci 3L's & 2L's will be competing for jobs. I hope all the current 2L's (soon to be 3L's) have jobs for this summer....cuz you won't get one next summer.
Your class rank is for your graduating class. Your rank won't drop because 1L's are getting better grades.

Basically, you will have to get a job the same way that Baylor Law grads have gotten jobs for the last 100 years. It will happen. Don't sweat it. An employer that wants to hire a 3L to start working is really not going to be concerned about 1L's that are getting better grades than they used to.
I think my main point wasn't that 1L's were getting better grades and that would hurt me. I just had a problem with people that I am graduating with getting the new grades in classes I have already taken.
Here is the problem I really worry about. I have taken 1L required courses w/ the 2.5 curve. If I take a summer off and some fall starters or summer starters catch up to me then we will have taken the same classes and we will be in the same graduating class and they will have a 3.0 curve. that is a HUGE difference. Just a curve difference of .5 not even accounting for the plusses and minuses diff. So a fall starter or summer starter could be in the bottom half of their class (B- with new curve), and I am in the top half (B- with old curve), and they will have both a better gpa, and a better class rank. Maybe this sort of problem is what the admin talks about when they say more will follow after break…..i really really really hope so.
my pony analogy was badass, just like i am.

-author of pony analogy
will the real 2:19 please stand up..please stand up...please stand up...

lot's of ppl talking for me bc i was anonymous...interesting.

nevertheless, m/r/s/rs. 1:34p. If you are right and all that matters is my class rank w/in my grade...well then Dr.....why are we having a gpa increase in the first place then....

ahhhhh...i think not...
The only sad thing about the change is that it will no longer be such an awesome feeling to get an A at Baylor. There is no better feeling then knowing you earned a great grade in a hard class with a tough curve.
With that said, I am really happy that the administration is listening to the students and I do think the new grading system will make getting a job easier for qualified Baylor students!

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