The faculty has voted to adopt a mandatory pass/fail grading policy for the Spring 2020 semester. All students will receive a P or F grade for each class. The policy includes the following modifications to ensure equity for all students:
1. Second- and third-year students will be ranked based on grades earned in courses though the Winter 2020 term.
2. First-year students will be ranked after the Fall 2020 semester, on the following basis:
• May students will be allocated 13/21 of a credit for each credit earned through December 2019. This equalizes the weight of first-year courses between May and September students.
• Students’ 13 first-year credits will be combined with all Fall 2020 credits that are subject to the ordinary upper-class curve (that is, classes with more than 24 students).
• To qualify for ranking, students must take at least 6 credits subject to the upper-class curve during the Fall 2020 semester, so that all students can be ranked based on at least 19 credits of work.
3. The policy for grades in 1L legal writing classes that was announced last week for students who elected pass/fail will now apply to all 1L students.
4. Though all classes will be graded pass/fail, faculty will still evaluate all Spring 2020 exams as usual.
• Evaluations will be used to help us identify students who will need additional support, for whatever reason, as their education progresses. For instance, we need to know which first-year students qualify for the Remedies course and which upper-class students might qualify for bar-related assistance courses. Second, students whose performance significantly improves from fall to spring should have their improvement taken into account in any future Academic Standards Committee review of their progress. Third, evaluations enable professors to write letters of recommendation and to nominate students for merit-based awards based on both in-class and exam performance where appropriate.
5. Though exam assessments will not appear on student transcripts, students can consult with their professors to receive feedback on their exam and classroom performance.
6. Students who perform at a high level throughout their first year, measured by a combination of grades through December 2019 and assessments made by faculty during the spring semester, will earn Dean’s Distinguished Scholar status. Students who performed at a high level through December 2019 will qualify for Distinguished Scholar status without regard to their Spring 2020 performance to ensure that they are not penalized as a result of pandemic-related challenges. Precise cutoffs and details will be worked out in the coming weeks.