Law Schools Practicing Grade Inflation

Image via GradeInflation.com

Image via GradeInflation.com

Can you imagine waking up one morning, logging on to your school account, and realizing that you GPA had jumped 0.333 over night? I’m sure I would celebrate, but also be completely confused. However, if I went to Loyola Marymount Law School in Los Angeles, I would not be surprised at all. In fact, I would have been expecting it.

Since 2008, at least 10 law schools have altered their students’ GPAs by making their grading systems more lenient, according to the New York Times. These are major universities we are talking about also. Some of the schools practicing this grade inflation include New York University, Tulane University, and Georgetown.

Why would they do this?

These schools are inflating students’ grades in the hopes of making them seem more appealing to future employers. But the move is not only for the students’ best interests. Some of the schools hope that by inflating students GPAs, they can also improve their own track records for educating students.

“If somebody is paying $150,000 for a law school degree, you don’t want to call them a loser at the end,” said Stuart Rojstaczer, a former Duke University professor, who is now studying grade inflation. “So you artificially call every student a success.”

What do students think about their new, fake grades?

“For people like me who have good grades but are not in the super-elite, there are not as many options for getting a job in advance,” said Zachary Burd, a recent graduate from Southern Methodist University.

What is a good grade for a law school student?

The first year average at Loyola was 2.667. However, at other schools in California, the first year average is typically a 3.0 or higher.

“That puts our students at an unfair disadvantage, especially if you factor in the current economic environment,” said Samuel Liu, president of the school’s Student Bar Association. Liu is also leading the efforts to make grading changes. “We just wanted to match what other schools that are comparably ranked were already doing.”

Although I see where Liu is coming from, it does not make complete sense to me. Of course the average law student is going to be taking harder classes, and therefore, might have a lower GPA than students who are studying such a difficult subject. However, I do not thinking altering students’ GPAs is the way to handle this.

I think it might be better if there was an uniform grading system across all law schools. This would allow students to be able to compare themselves evenly with their peers, and also allow future employers to see how students stack up.

But hey, that’s just my opinion. What’s yours?








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