addendum for low curve class

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Anonymous User
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addendum for low curve class

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:38 pm

there is a professor at my law school who is notorious for giving vindictively low grades in her legal research and writing class. Every semester she has more students making C's and F's than she does B and A's, and sometimes she doesn't even award B's.

During two consecutive semesters, and now what I believe to be three, she has done this. I reported this to the dean after being awarded a B-, which I felt to be unreflective of both my efforts and how I stacked against my peers. I also believe the grade may or may not have been biased, as she is the only professor who does not grade anonymously in the subject and in the school.

The Dean explained to me that this professor was already on probation for this behavior. It looks like she wants a new job.

Now, I understand that sandbagging my professor isn't exactly going to lift me up. The school I am applying to asks students to write an addendum for grades they think to be an anomaly.

What are your thoughts on approaching this without sounding like a whiny child. The situation is legitmately one that concerns my entire class, not just me, and there is evidence in the grade distribution spread sheets that stack up each teacher and show who gave what. Her class gpa averages have never risen above a 2.8, and last semester it was a 2.4.

sandwhich
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby sandwhich » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:19 pm

I think trying to justify a poor grade because of a professor's grading system is going to come off disingenuous even if it's completely true.

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rpupkin
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby rpupkin » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:25 pm

Just let it go. If everything you wrote is true, the situation is unfair and it sucks. But I'm afraid there's no way to touch on this kind of thing without coming off as a whiny, entitled brat. For every student with a legitimate gripe over a professor's grade, there are twenty who throw fits because they can't believe that their special snowflake selves could end up below median. Every law school administration is familiar with this. If you submit an addendum that recites what you shared in the OP, they're going to assume you're a pain and they won't want you at their school.

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deaclaw
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby deaclaw » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:39 pm

It's my understanding that addenda are traditionally used to own up to mistakes and succinctly claim acceptance and responsibility over an issue. Even if what you said is entirely correct, trying to explain this situation in an application will probably only hurt you. It's unfortunate but true.

I also had to deal with an extremely unfair exam this semester so you're not the only one.

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chuckbass
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby chuckbass » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:53 pm

Life isn't fair and neither is law school. Are you going to show up with an addendum for OCI as well?

Anonymous User
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:25 am

Life isn't fair? How is that advice? Fairness is the reason I am in law school. Fairness and justice. So let's try to be a little more constructive than painting me out to be a whiny baby.

This is how I framed the addendum...

In my spring semester of legal research and writing, I wrote two research papers that I believe reflected a high level of dedication and skill in both my writing and findings. In the fall, I scored a B+, which was the second lowest grade in my class; my fall professor only awarded one A-, which was the top grade for that semester. I believe that the quality of work I submitted to my spring professor was of an even higher caliber than the product I had in the fall, due to the fact that I grew more as a student. Nevertheless, I was awarded a B- for the spring semester of legal research and writing. I do not believe this grade to be reflective of my efforts, and it shall not be predictive of my academic career. Regardless of my grade, my work was impressive enough to get me a position interning for a federal judge this summer, where I will continue to improve my abilities.

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chuckbass
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby chuckbass » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:31 am

scottidsntknow wrote:Are you going to show up with an addendum for OCI as well?

lawman84
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby lawman84 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:Life isn't fair? How is that advice? Fairness is the reason I am in law school. Fairness and justice. So let's try to be a little more constructive than painting me out to be a whiny baby.

This is how I framed the addendum...

In my spring semester of legal research and writing, I wrote two research papers that I believe reflected a high level of dedication and skill in both my writing and findings. In the fall, I scored a B+, which was the second lowest grade in my class; my fall professor only awarded one A-, which was the top grade for that semester. I believe that the quality of work I submitted to my spring professor was of an even higher caliber than the product I had in the fall, due to the fact that I grew more as a student. Nevertheless, I was awarded a B- for the spring semester of legal research and writing. I do not believe this grade to be reflective of my efforts, and it shall not be predictive of my academic career. Regardless of my grade, my work was impressive enough to get me a position interning for a federal judge this summer, where I will continue to improve my abilities.


That's an oddly high curve.(I'm thinking you meant highest) :lol:

Good luck. The fact that you accepted no responsibility for the grade might hurt you here.

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rpupkin
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:Life isn't fair? How is that advice? Fairness is the reason I am in law school. Fairness and justice. So let's try to be a little more constructive than painting me out to be a whiny baby.

This is how I framed the addendum...

In my spring semester of legal research and writing, I wrote two research papers that I believe reflected a high level of dedication and skill in both my writing and findings. In the fall, I scored a B+, which was the second lowest grade in my class; my fall professor only awarded one A-, which was the top grade for that semester. I believe that the quality of work I submitted to my spring professor was of an even higher caliber than the product I had in the fall, due to the fact that I grew more as a student. Nevertheless, I was awarded a B- for the spring semester of legal research and writing. I do not believe this grade to be reflective of my efforts, and it shall not be predictive of my academic career. Regardless of my grade, my work was impressive enough to get me a position interning for a federal judge this summer, where I will continue to improve my abilities.

Yikes. This is terrible. Do not submit this or anything like it.

TransferHopeful17
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby TransferHopeful17 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:50 am

You would only be highlighting immaturity when, if you stepped outside of yourself and this moment (when, justifiably or not, you are super angry about this low curve), you might otherwise be level-headed. Give admissions committees credit--they know these legal writing classes are designed to be tough, and that not every professor is the same.

BigZuck
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby BigZuck » Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:58 am

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Life isn't fair? How is that advice? Fairness is the reason I am in law school. Fairness and justice. So let's try to be a little more constructive than painting me out to be a whiny baby.

This is how I framed the addendum...

In my spring semester of legal research and writing, I wrote two research papers that I believe reflected a high level of dedication and skill in both my writing and findings. In the fall, I scored a B+, which was the second lowest grade in my class; my fall professor only awarded one A-, which was the top grade for that semester. I believe that the quality of work I submitted to my spring professor was of an even higher caliber than the product I had in the fall, due to the fact that I grew more as a student. Nevertheless, I was awarded a B- for the spring semester of legal research and writing. I do not believe this grade to be reflective of my efforts, and it shall not be predictive of my academic career. Regardless of my grade, my work was impressive enough to get me a position interning for a federal judge this summer, where I will continue to improve my abilities.

Yikes. This is terrible. Do not submit this or anything like it.


Yeah

I mean, if the whole point is to blame the prof, why wouldn't you at least blame the prof for the Spring grade as well?

This manages to place the blame on the prof for the B+ in the Fall, and then says "and then I got an even lower grade in the Spring but I'm smarter than that, I swear."

Also I don't think that anyone who makes admissions decisions will be impressed by a 1L judicial internship, that "brag" just makes the whole thing worse IMO.

CanadianWolf
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:41 am

Rather than an addendum, why not submit a writing sample ?

EDIT: OP: I just realized that this post is in the transfer forum. I think that you might want to share the purpose for which you intend to use your addendum in order to get better responses.

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DCNTUA
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby DCNTUA » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:50 am

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Life isn't fair? How is that advice? Fairness is the reason I am in law school. Fairness and justice. So let's try to be a little more constructive than painting me out to be a whiny baby.

This is how I framed the addendum...

In my spring semester of legal research and writing, I wrote two research papers that I believe reflected a high level of dedication and skill in both my writing and findings. In the fall, I scored a B+, which was the second lowest grade in my class; my fall professor only awarded one A-, which was the top grade for that semester. I believe that the quality of work I submitted to my spring professor was of an even higher caliber than the product I had in the fall, due to the fact that I grew more as a student. Nevertheless, I was awarded a B- for the spring semester of legal research and writing. I do not believe this grade to be reflective of my efforts, and it shall not be predictive of my academic career. Regardless of my grade, my work was impressive enough to get me a position interning for a federal judge this summer, where I will continue to improve my abilities.

Yikes. This is terrible. Do not submit this or anything like it.

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pancakes3
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby pancakes3 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:Every semester she has more students making C's and F's than she does B and A's, and sometimes she doesn't even award B's.
...
During two consecutive semesters, and now what I believe to be three, she has done this
...
Her class gpa averages have never risen above a 2.8, and last semester it was a 2.4.


In the fall, I scored a B+, which was the second lowest grade in my class; my fall professor only awarded one A-, which was the top grade for that semester.
...
I was awarded a B- for the spring semester of legal research and writing.


These two posts don't jibe. Even if we do take you at face value, even with your prof being a shrill harpy of a grader - you had the second lowest grade in your class 1st semester and somehow did even worse the next semester. How does an addendum shitting on your prof and her curve explain that away?

Anonymous User wrote:Life isn't fair? How is that advice? Fairness is the reason I am in law school. Fairness and justice. So let's try to be a little more constructive than painting me out to be a whiny baby.


Fairness is a shitty reason to be in law school and fairness has nothing to do with justice. This might be a reason you didn't do well in legal writing.

In my spring semester of legal research and writing, I wrote two research papers that I believe reflected a high level of dedication and skill in both my writing and findings.


You were writing... research papers? With findings?

CanadianWolf
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:01 am

Since the transfer application requests such an addendum, you can submit one but it should be phrased in a more respectful manner.

For example:

I am including a writing sample with my transfer application because I feel that one grade that I received in a legal research & writing class was not reflective of my efforts & ability.

DasEggs
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby DasEggs » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:31 am

Please do not submit what you wrote, if you were an admissions person and read that what would your (unbiased) reaction be?

Can someone help me on the math here...
How can the highest grade be an A- and the second lowest be a B+ and the course average be no higher than a 2.8? Are there some schools where B/B+s are worth 2.X grade points?

lawman84
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby lawman84 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:36 pm

DasEggs wrote:Please do not submit what you wrote, if you were an admissions person and read that what would your (unbiased) reaction be?

Can someone help me on the math here...
How can the highest grade be an A- and the second lowest be a B+ and the course average be no higher than a 2.8? Are there some schools where B/B+s are worth 2.X grade points?


I'm fairly sure it's a typo. I think (s)he meant second highest.

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pancakes3
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby pancakes3 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:40 pm

OP should really out the school. WTF kind of curve is set at a 2.4?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:47 pm

The kind of school people transfer out of. Lots of lower ranked schools have really tough curves.

Anonymous User
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:12 pm

my apologies. That was a typo. A lot of typos.

Let me be more clear. The professor in the fall was wonderful. My spring professor, a totally different and evil little B-, was terrible.

The second highest grade in my fall class was a B+, not the second lowest. More than 16% of my class failed in the spring. These numbers are literally unheard of and ghastly given: this is a TTTT school and some of these poor bastards are on loans for god's sake, and not ONE other professor, no matter what course or what level gives these kind of grades. Period.

What I am gathering from this discussion has been extremely helpful. I am so grateful that I stopped by here to discuss this. I am trying to transfer out of this absolute commode of a school, and find one where the educational prestige will at least justify the shitty curves! 8)

So, I will write a short paper basically saying that I made the mistake and that my attempts were not my best efforts. Is that the best way to go about an addendum? Knowing what you all know, what is a good way to frame this so that I take full responsibility without needlessly trashing myself?

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swampman
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby swampman » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:35 pm

"I don't believe my grade in X class reflects my abilities. The class had an average grade of 2.4, much lower than the average grade in other classes. While I outperformed the average in the class, I believe the quality of my writing is much higher than a B- reflects."

AReasonableMan
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby AReasonableMan » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:09 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:The kind of school people transfer out of. Lots of lower ranked schools have really tough curves.

I think the purpose is generally to fail a certain percentage of people out to ensure bar passage rates stay around 50%. If many of these schools let everyone graduate, they'd have 30% passage rates and would lose accreditation in 3-4 years, which would put everyone out of jobs. The fact the person was put on probation suggests that's not the case with this school. I just don't know why a professor would insist on doing what OP alleges. It can't possibly help them to give as many people bad grades as possible. I don't comprehend why they'd go against the dean.

MoreCowbell
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Re: addendum for low curve class

Postby MoreCowbell » Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:27 am

OP, don't write an addendum. Trying to blame your prof for a bad grade is like the guy who loses the 100m sprint and says that it was his shoes that did him in.

Also, for the record, I find your claim that you went to the administration and that they told you, a student, that this teacher is on probation for just such a thing very dubious. If you have stretched the truth here (which is what I'm accusing you of) and you were to include it in an application, then you have a whole new set of problems that will require addendums of their own...




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