Anonymous grading a scam?

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Skyrocket11
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Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby Skyrocket11 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:16 am

Yes, first post....sorry my introduction has to be this way. I am an avid reader of the forum though...

I currently attend a law school that continually receives quite a lot of funding--via donations, etc. and they thus offer a lot of scholarships to incoming 1Ls. This school is not a a top 20 school or anything, but a top 100 school that is definitely climbing in the rankings. I have a full ride scholarship to this school, and after 1L fall grades came out, I was literally .02 grade points away from being in a position to keep the scholarship. (I still have another semester to make up the difference)

My concern is that a school like this that has tremendous incentive to climb the rankings does so by offering a ton of scholarships to students with good LSAT scores and good GPAs to boost their numbers. They then tell their students that they have to maintain a GPA that is relatively low and seemingly easily attainable. Once all these students are inside the school, they fix alot of these grades to ensure that many of these students do not keep their scholarships.

So, I know it seems far fetched, but seriously...would it be that far fetched for a school to attempt to climb the rankings by offering high quality students full ride scholarships and then ensure they couldn't keep those scholarships by fixing grades? By doing so they would profit literally hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Last edited by Skyrocket11 on Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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mths
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby mths » Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:25 am

lol no

CanadianWolf
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:04 am

It might help if you name the law school to read of other students' experiences.

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Kabuo
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby Kabuo » Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:05 am

This seems like a really fun way of rationalizing receiving poorer grades than expected though. Kind of like dismissing some dings as YP.

Welp2277
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby Welp2277 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:20 am

Kabuo wrote:This seems like a really fun way of rationalizing receiving poorer grades than expected though. Kind of like dismissing some dings as YP.

+1

Skyrocket11
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby Skyrocket11 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:51 am

I don't wanna post the school name because I don't want to give them bad publicity or stir the pot based on a thought...

Kabuo wrote:This seems like a really fun way of rationalizing receiving poorer grades than expected though. Kind of like dismissing some dings as YP.


If you're capable of seeing the argument then post. I'm not looking for a psychiatrist.

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arism87
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby arism87 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:55 am

I'm not even in law school yet so I guess my opinion is worthless, but if I were to hear of something like this happening I wouldn't be shocked.

I'll hesitate to accept a scholarship like that (cue paranoia) (and realism)

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby ScottRiqui » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:10 am

You said that the GPA required to keep the scholarship is "relatively low" and that you're pretty much exactly at that GPA. It would be enlightening to know where that GPA puts you in your class, percentage-wise.

For instance, if you're in the top quarter of your class with that GPA but still can't keep your scholarship, that might be evidence that the grades are being widely deflated across-the-board in order to make people ineligible for their scholarships.
Last edited by ScottRiqui on Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Kabuo
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby Kabuo » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:19 am

Not that I don't see the "argument," which is really more of a hypothetical conspiracy theory followed by a maybe rhetorical question, but

Skyrocket11 wrote:
If you're capable of seeing the argument then post. I'm not looking for a psychiatrist.


does not at all address whether or not those of us who do not see the argument are allowed to post or not.

keg411
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby keg411 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:25 am

FYI, even if grades are anonymous, you are allowed to meet with your professors after the exam. Contact them and say you want to discuss your exam. My guess is -- you just didn't do as well as your peers. It happens and is all part of the curve.

Also, the "fix" is by awarding more scholarships than are possible by the curve to keep. If more than 50% who decide to attend are awarded scholarships and the GPA to keep is median, then of course people are going to lose their scholarships (especially if some of the people who were not awarded scholarships get higher grades).

I suggest you worry more about what to do to bring your GPA up next semester (or, if you are WAY below median, drop out) rather than worrying about conspiracy theories.

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AreJay711
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:42 am

I doubt the profs are grading you and others on scholarship differently but I've read that some schools section-stack or put unreasonably high requirements to keep the scholarship though.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby ScottRiqui » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:52 am

AreJay711 wrote:I doubt the profs are grading you and others on scholarship differently but I've read that some schools section-stack or put unreasonably high requirements to keep the scholarship though.


+1

That's the way I'd do it if I were an evil administrator. Put all the scholarship kids in the same section (ideally, filling an entire section with scholly kids), with the requirement that you have to be above-median (or top third) in order to keep your scholarship. That way, you're guaranteed that half or more would lose their scholarships no matter how high their grades were, and this evil scheme doesn't require cooperation/collusion from the professors (fixing grades, etcetera.)

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traehekat
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby traehekat » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:31 am

I've heard of a very small number of schools section stacking, meaning they put many, if not all of the scholarship students in the same section, making it a guarantee that some will lose their scholarship if they are subject to stipulations. This is similar to what Keg mentioned.

I would be pretty surprised and shocked, however, to hear of a school doing what you are talking about. The truth is SOMEONE is going to be right on the cusp, and it just so happens to be you (at least for this semester). Just because you are a scholarsip recipient doesn't mean there is some conspiracy going on.

The good news is that you obviously aren't far from where you need to be, so just make some adjustments for next semester and hopefully you'll be fine!

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shortporch
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby shortporch » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:36 am

You people here are way too conspiracy-theory oriented.

I don't know of a single law school where the administration has the ability to alter the grade that a professor assigned. Each professor assigns a grade and sends it to the registrar. The registrar puts them in the system. And the grades are released all at once or individually as they are inputted, depending on the school.

There is no realistic opportunity for administrative intervention. The registrar does not keep a list of scholarship recipients and their projected GPAs. The computers don't flag students who are "close" to maintaining a scholarship. There's no "fix."

The "fix" is, if anything, this: they can award 100% of the class scholarships with a stipulation that you must finish in the top half. Obviously, they know that 50% of those awarded scholarships cannot finish in the top half.

Also, it's extraordinarily inefficient, as you describe it. They can offer a "ton of scholarships" to students to boost their numbers, but it only boosts their numbers if it helps keep their medians up. There's no incentive to give scholarships to students under the median. So about half the students are given (substantial) scholarships to lure them to the school; and if there's a stipulation that those students have to finish in the top half, it roughly correlates with the expectation (i.e., we brought you here because of your above-median numbers, now finish above the median).

99% of entering law students believe they will finish in the top half of their class. Only 50% can do so. It doesn't take much math to figure out the positive outcome bias most law students have.

"Section stacking" is also a myth. First, there's a randomization effect that doesn't even guarantee that a purely randomized section will have an evenly-distributed number of scholarship and non-scholarship recipients. Second, most schools have sections that overlaps or are broken into smaller groups, and, especially legal writing, sections split or cross. It's far too much effort to put them all into stacked sections. Third, you end up with perverse results: you end up taking away money from students who should be doing well, and giving opportunities for lesser students to transfer if they prevail in a "worse" section. Fourth, LSAT and GPA aren't perfectly correlated to student achievement, so even then it's just a guess. Fifth, scholarship money is a drop in the bucket for most law schools. If they're in financial red ink, they'll just open the bottom of the class up and let in another 10 people off the waitlist at sticker, who're more than happy to get in to their reach school and pay the price. Sixth, despite grading curves, not all curves are perfect. They can be highly dependent on the professor, and on the performance of the class. Would you rather have the "stacked" torts section with the prof who decides to curve it at 3.2, or the unstacked section curved at a 3.0? Would you rather have the section with the prof who gives out 3 Ds that drop the curve, or 6 Cs to drop the curve? Multiply that across sections, double it across semesters. Seventh, it can't account for dropouts and transfers, which can radically imbalance a section quickly--I've seen sections with 15% size disparity just because of the luck of the draw of who withdraws two weeks before classes start and the sections are set.

Finally, all of this talk about unreasonable GPA requirements is hyperbolic, too. You have a scholarship that allows you to attend law school at a significantly discounted rate. After one year, you may not do very well. So, you either pay sticker the next two years and hope you improve, or you drop out with not as much lost as the scholarship diminished the cost at the outset. Oh well.

To long, didn't read, sorry. And I could go on and on.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:49 am

LOL at this guy. Just figure out where you screwed up and work harder next semester.

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AreJay711
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:10 pm

shortporch wrote: "Section stacking" is also a myth. First, there's a randomization effect that doesn't even guarantee that a purely randomized section will have an evenly-distributed number of scholarship and non-scholarship recipients. Second, most schools have sections that overlaps or are broken into smaller groups, and, especially legal writing, sections split or cross. It's far too much effort to put them all into stacked sections. Third, you end up with perverse results: you end up taking away money from students who should be doing well, and giving opportunities for lesser students to transfer if they prevail in a "worse" section. Fourth, LSAT and GPA aren't perfectly correlated to student achievement, so even then it's just a guess. Fifth, scholarship money is a drop in the bucket for most law schools.


I've heard about some schools sections stacking (Cooley for instance) even if the OP should just suck it up and try to do better next semester.

1) Why does there have to be randomization? Give everyone with a substantial scholarship a 1 and everyone else a 0 and put all the people with the 1 in a single section. I realize there doesn't have to be equal numbers but I was under the impression that most schools didn't even attempt for sections to be random but rather about equal.

2) If a large section is 90% X then a randomized subsection will be about 90% X. This could easily be done with legal writing as well.

3) Who cares about perverse results? They are trying to get their medians up.

4) Ok, but if 90 people with 4.0 /180 are put together many of them will be below median. It doesn't mean they wouldn't be above median in a section of all 3.0 / 150 students but it is certainly more likely.

5) Very few law schools could operate without tuition (HY). If any law schools do section-stack it would be a sleazy attempt to give out more scholarship money than they can afford.

It is obvious that you are correct for most schools but it is certainly possible that there is sections stacking.

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bostonlawchick
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby bostonlawchick » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:29 pm

Section stacking absolutely exists. I got a full ride this cycle to my local TTTT. This made me part of their "Honors Program". All honors students get either a full or half tuition scholarship, but have to be in the top third (for full scholly) or top half (for half scholly) to keep it. Because it's an honors program, it is it's own separate section. So about half of the honors students end up losing their scholarships.

Needless to say I'm really thinking about sitting out a year if I get dinged everywhere else.

MSUPHL
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby MSUPHL » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:58 pm

big factor I chose ASU as my scholly reqs are merely to remain in good academic standing. Would suck to do poorly and lose $$$$$$$$$$$.

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patrickd139
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby patrickd139 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:00 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:LOL at this guy. Just figure out where you screwed up and work harder next semester.

+1. OP, your experience is more why you should insist scholarship stipulations be removed than proof that anonymous grading is a scam.

keg411
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby keg411 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:08 pm

I think for the most part, "section stacking" is confused with that schools just give out so many scholarships that even if the sections are all totally equal, some people will lose them. However, I don't think it's a conspiracy or anything like that (unless they have "Honors Sections" like at the TTTT reference above, which is BS and I would not attend a school like that). I know we have stipulations (which I'm not a fan of), BUT I also know we're not stacked based on what I know about scholarships in the other section (and they also totally mixed up the sections again this semester well before exams).

Of course, it's another reason why I'm glad I'm at my sTTTate school because if (god forbid) I lost my scholarship, I wouldn't be totally uncomfortable with tuition and the upper class curve is REALLY lenient here (even if/when they implement the new grade rules).

Aqualibrium
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:27 pm

I'd just like to add that I don't see why people rail against scholarship stipulations. I don't think there is anything wrong with giving someone a large sum of money, but expecting them to perform up to a certain level in return. Ridiculous scholarship stipulations aside (top 10,15,25% requirements), there is nothing wrong with expecting the recipient of a full scholarship to be in the top 1/3 of the class after first year, or a general scholarship recipient to be in the top 1/2.

Of course you should always try to negotiate the requirement lower/away, but the constant droning of "scholarship stips = TTTT" is just kinda silly to me. You perform, or you lose your place...that's how life works.

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Adjudicator
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby Adjudicator » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:28 pm

bostonlawchick wrote:Section stacking absolutely exists. I got a full ride this cycle to my local TTTT. This made me part of their "Honors Program". All honors students get either a full or half tuition scholarship, but have to be in the top third (for full scholly) or top half (for half scholly) to keep it. Because it's an honors program, it is it's own separate section. So about half of the honors students end up losing their scholarships.

Needless to say I'm really thinking about sitting out a year if I get dinged everywhere else.


Wow, what a blatant scam... how do they get away with this?

lawfuture10
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby lawfuture10 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:36 pm

I don't think this problem actually exists, it would be waaaay too risky to attempt to do something like this.

For example, I'm sure that the school would tell you they do not take part in such a practice if you went and asked the dean or whomever. And I feel it would not be that difficult to poll your classmates, or hell even just your trackmates to see who is on scholarship and who is not. I feel like if you told people why you were polling, and there was enough of a stink about this problem, people would be forthcoming with whether or not they were on scholarship. I just feel like it would be verrrrry easy for a school to get into a lot of hot water for a situation like this and lose a lot of incoming students and the standing they had been working to acheive.

That being said, OP, you're probably just in a similar situation (possibly even at the same school I am) that my school is in. Said school is a top 100, on the up and up and gives a RIDICULOUS amount of scholarships each year to new students. However, at this school, the minimum requirement to keep these scholarships is 3.0, and the school curves its grades to a 2.8. So obviously, there is going to be a lot of scholarship fall out. This is the nature of the game, and I believe is highly unlikely to be some conspiracy against students keeping their $cholarship$.

PM me if you wish to know the school

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shortporch
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby shortporch » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:45 pm

bostonlawchick wrote:Section stacking absolutely exists. I got a full ride this cycle to my local TTTT. This made me part of their "Honors Program". All honors students get either a full or half tuition scholarship, but have to be in the top third (for full scholly) or top half (for half scholly) to keep it. Because it's an honors program, it is it's own separate section. So about half of the honors students end up losing their scholarships.

Needless to say I'm really thinking about sitting out a year if I get dinged everywhere else.


I find this almost entirely implausible without a link to the school or the program. I'm entirely aware of schools that have an "honors program" where they may be required to take one "honors" upper-level course. But I've never heard of this. And I can't imagine law professors thrilled at the prospect of teaching at a fourth-tier school and having even the nominally good students all shoved into one 1L section.

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OGR3
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Re: Anonymous grading a scam?

Postby OGR3 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:50 pm

Adjudicator wrote:
bostonlawchick wrote:Section stacking absolutely exists. I got a full ride this cycle to my local TTTT. This made me part of their "Honors Program". All honors students get either a full or half tuition scholarship, but have to be in the top third (for full scholly) or top half (for half scholly) to keep it. Because it's an honors program, it is it's own separate section. So about half of the honors students end up losing their scholarships.

Needless to say I'm really thinking about sitting out a year if I get dinged everywhere else.


Wow, what a blatant scam... how do they get away with this?


I don't see it as any more of a scam than TTTTs in general. If anything, they're being upfront with their section stacking. I'm very sorry they put themselves in that position, but it's not like the school is telling them the scholarships are guaranteed...




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