Law Schools Inflating Grades to Give Grads Competitive Advantage

Psst! Want higher grades without studying? All you have to do is enroll law schools:

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. Once able to practically guarantee gainful employment to thousands of students every year, the schools are now fielding complaints from more and more unemployed graduates, frequently drowning in student debt.

What's that? You're concerned about ethics? Well, these are lawyers we're talking about. Come to think of it, this does explain quite a bit (kidding! No lawsuits, please!)

Catherine Rampell of The New York Times has more: Link (Photo: Mark Graham/NY Times)


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Joe and SuperCrap (despite spelling mistakes and a ridiculous alias) are correct.

The GPA you have reflects how well you did compared to your class. A curve set lower makes it so a higher proportion of students have GPAs that are numerically lower than schools with the curve set higher. Now, certain law schools are simply correcting the GPA to allow the students to compete PROPERLY with students from schools with higher curves.

Stating that Loyola's average GPA is 2.66 does not mean that Loyola students are lacking in intelligence, yet the article linked by Mickey seems to imply such. That's idiocy. Loyola simply decided to set the average as 2.66, so no matter how well the students do the average will always be 2.66. Get it? If you took the smartest people in the world who are awesome at law and put them in a school where the curve is set to have 2.66 as the average GPA, there will be many with 2.66 GPA and people with GPAs that are lower yet. But those people with 2.0 GPAs there would still likely be smarter than the rest of the world and better able to practice law.

I personally think all ABA schools should agree on a curve and go with that. Too bad it'll never happen.
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I think this has the potential to cheapen the value of higher education. Not to mention the impact on the already-suffering reputation of the legal field in general:

http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2010/07/16/law-schools-are-inflating-grades/
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As a recent graduate from Golden Gate University School of Law, I can tell you that we have one of strictest curves of all American Bar Association schools. As a student who went through their entire academic career with a 4.0 average, I have to enter an already competitive field in an extremely grim economic climate with a 2.8 graduate school average.
Golden Gate was not changing their policy to make it easier for their graduates to get jobs but rather to conform to the existing curve policies of the schools in the area like Berkeley and Stanford. This is not "inflation" as the article ineptly implies but rather a proper reflection of the grade actually deserved by the student.
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With law schools this is not as ridiculous as it sounds, because they generally grade on a hard curve, so the important thing is knowing a student's position relative to the rest of their class. As much as raising the curve is a question of giving students an edge, it is also a big disadvantage for students who go to schools that set the curve lower than average. I once attended a law school like that and a big part of their career services centered around helping you explain to potential employers why your GPA was so low -- not kidding. This is relatively easy to explain to law firms, who sort of understand the game, however...

If someone is working outside of the legal field, for example, an employer still might ask what their law school GPA was, and if they went to Loyala (lol! lowest set curve I have ever heard of) they would have to say 2.66 (haha) and the employer would think they were a slacker or a moron, not taking the time to realize that Loyola has a 'special' system and that 2.66 there is average in a pretty smart and competetive class of students. It's basically irresponsible for a school to set their curve lower than the average, if their administrators are unusually stupid they may believe they are standing on some kind of principle, but all they are doing is disadvantaging their students, just like an undergraduate professor with an unusually harsh grading standard.
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