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smashedpumpkins

Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:04 pm

I know that there has been some discussion of this in the past, but do any 2/3Ls have a rough approximation of the distribution? 1Ls, does anyone think that they've relaxed grades this year in response to Fall EIP? (I have no basis for thinking this, other than the fact that I got an H in a class for which I turned in a pretty poor final.)

I haven't talked to anyone IRL about this, so I'm curious to know what ratio of Hs/Ps is "normal." A couple of Autoadmit posts suggest that 4/10 Hs is median, 8/10 is top 25-30%, and beyond that distinctions are made by 9/10 Hs and a bunch of book prizes.

GeePee

Posts: 1273
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:35 pm

That's far too pessimistic I think. Between 3-4 H's is going to be around median, but 8 H's is far higher than top 25-30%. I'd say probably top 15%.

Lawquacious

Posts: 2028
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:36 am

I though Harvard stopped ranking students? I suppose that determining where a person falls in percentile rank categories is different than serial numeric ranks though. Does Harvard publish stats for what qualifies as top 10%; top 25%; median for each class in term of numbers of H v. P etc?

GeePee

Posts: 1273
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:35 pm

Lawquacious wrote:I though Harvard stopped ranking students? I suppose that determining where a person falls in percentile rank categories is different than serial numeric ranks though. Does Harvard publish stats for what qualifies as top 10%; top 25%; median for each class in term of numbers of H v. P etc?

No, but employers will have a big enough sample size to figure it out if they wanted to aggregate the data to do so.

BlueCivic

Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:59 pm

Does anyone know what the grade distribution curve is supposed to be here? Do we still think that 3-4 Hs is median? How do we figure in Deans Scholar awards? Also how many people get DS in each section?
(I know this is basically a similar question to those above but HLS is so opaque about the grade distribution).

DeSimone

Posts: 374
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:49 pm

So.. where is it that you're planning to transfer?

patrickd139

Posts: 2883
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:53 pm

DeSimone wrote:So.. where is it that you're planning to transfer?

165

iagolives

Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:24 pm

BlueCivic wrote:Does anyone know what the grade distribution curve is supposed to be here? Do we still think that 3-4 Hs is median? How do we figure in Deans Scholar awards? Also how many people get DS in each section?
(I know this is basically a similar question to those above but HLS is so opaque about the grade distribution).

Rumor has it that 4-5 H's during your 1L year is median. Basically, so I've heard, median is approx where (P credits)=(H Credits).

The Dean Scholar thing is interesting. They are awarded to the top 1-2 people in the class (think of them like an A+). They used to only matter as a tie breaker on the off-chance that there was a tie in the (I think sensible) formula for awarding awarding graduation honors (((# H credits) - (# LP credits))/(total # graded credits)). Now, they figure out grad honors using something of a 4.0 system where DS counts as a 5.0. After substantial outcry from the student body, this is no longer released to employers but, from what I heard, now that they know this is how HLS uses the grades, firms basically calculate GPAs like they would on an A+,A,B,C,etc. system.

So, the short answer is, DS matters a lot more than it used to. Granted, for most people, DS isn't something worth bothering about because which 1-2 papers are the tippy-top seems even more impossible to plan for than the old system, but since you asked, it matters more.

smashedpumpkins

Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:04 pm

iagolives wrote:
BlueCivic wrote:Does anyone know what the grade distribution curve is supposed to be here? Do we still think that 3-4 Hs is median? How do we figure in Deans Scholar awards? Also how many people get DS in each section?
(I know this is basically a similar question to those above but HLS is so opaque about the grade distribution).

Rumor has it that 4-5 H's during your 1L year is median. Basically, so I've heard, median is approx where (P credits)=(H Credits).

The Dean Scholar thing is interesting. They are awarded to the top 1-2 people in the class (think of them like an A+). They used to only matter as a tie breaker on the off-chance that there was a tie in the (I think sensible) formula for awarding awarding graduation honors (((# H credits) - (# LP credits))/(total # graded credits)). Now, they figure out grad honors using something of a 4.0 system where DS counts as a 5.0. After substantial outcry from the student body, this is no longer released to employers but, from what I heard, now that they know this is how HLS uses the grades, firms basically calculate GPAs like they would on an A+,A,B,C,etc. system.

So, the short answer is, DS matters a lot more than it used to. Granted, for most people, DS isn't something worth bothering about because which 1-2 papers are the tippy-top seems even more impossible to plan for than the old system, but since you asked, it matters more.

Do recruiters also give a lot of weight to DSs? I ask because I got 2 DSs, but also a LP. Hoping that I can reach some degree of consistency this semester, but who knows...

iagolives

Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:24 pm

2 DSs is amazing, congrats! I think that this is akin to the "splitter" situation when people are applying to law schools. Some recruiters will focus on the DS and some on the LP. Sorry, but I don't think there's any way to predict who will care about what. However, from what I know, people with 2 DSs are usually treated pretty well at EIP. So, just work hard to do well this semester to show them that the LP was a fluke and I think you'll be golden.

go4hls

Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 6:18 pm

iagolives wrote:
BlueCivic wrote:Does anyone know what the grade distribution curve is supposed to be here? Do we still think that 3-4 Hs is median? How do we figure in Deans Scholar awards? Also how many people get DS in each section?
(I know this is basically a similar question to those above but HLS is so opaque about the grade distribution).

Rumor has it that 4-5 H's during your 1L year is median. Basically, so I've heard, median is approx where (P credits)=(H Credits).

The Dean Scholar thing is interesting. They are awarded to the top 1-2 people in the class (think of them like an A+). They used to only matter as a tie breaker on the off-chance that there was a tie in the (I think sensible) formula for awarding awarding graduation honors (((# H credits) - (# LP credits))/(total # graded credits)). Now, they figure out grad honors using something of a 4.0 system where DS counts as a 5.0. After substantial outcry from the student body, this is no longer released to employers but, from what I heard, now that they know this is how HLS uses the grades, firms basically calculate GPAs like they would on an A+,A,B,C,etc. system.

So, the short answer is, DS matters a lot more than it used to. Granted, for most people, DS isn't something worth bothering about because which 1-2 papers are the tippy-top seems even more impossible to plan for than the old system, but since you asked, it matters more.

That's kind of interesting. Because, if the median is 4-5 H's then using the honors GPA, that would mean that median 1st year GPA is 3.4-3.5 which is pretty high. I assume that professors are using the same recommended scale as before w/ 37% H, 55% P and 8% LPs. There are 10 classes total in the year, using 100 students as the number, we're looking at 370 H's, 550 P's, and 80 LP's. If the top 25% have 8 H's on average, that equals 200 H's, which means that the next 25% have to have at least 100-125 H's between them. Using this estimate, the top 50% get 300-325 out of the 370 H's. I find it hard to believe that the bottom 50% (i.e. bottom 275 using the real # of students) are fighting it out over just 300-400 H's.

Moreover, looking back at the above numbers, the second 25% have to have more than 100 H's between them b/c the 30th percentile person probably has like 7 H's, and it continues to go down until you get to the 4-5 H's at the median. So the 300-400 H's for bottom 50% number is probably way too high. Just by a quick eyeballing of the numbers, only two ways for this to be realistic: either the median is more like 3-4 and not 4-5, or the median is 4-5, but the curve is a lot flatter w/ the top 25% of the curve starting at like 6 H's (which looks something like what GeePee was suggesting).

I'm curious to see what other people think and/or whether other people have done a similar analysis in the past.

iagolives

Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:24 pm

I mean, I really have no idea; you have spent a lot more time obviously thinking about the numbers than I have. I just have three thoughts on the matter

1) This is the first year that professors had to "think" of the new grading system in terms of GPA. So, its possible the median is oddly high just because when they first designed the system, they never thought in terms of "the median is 3.5! That's too high." THat is to say, there was no reverse-engineering of the curve.

2) Every year since the new grading scale, there have had to be "tweeks" to it. For example, when the current 3Ls were 1Ls, the profs gave a bizarrely-high number of LPs, forcing the administration to say 8% was the max, not the mandatory. Then there were a few confusions about how big the class had to be to "merit" the curve, etc. Now, the administration will tell you all they did was "clarify" how the new system worked, but that isn't true. They tweeked it every year. So, every class is probably going to have a different median.

3) I know from my friends on law review/general rockstar types that there is a highly un-normal distribution of grades, in that people who get a lot of Hs usually get a WHOLE lot of Hs. You alluded to this, but I would argue that the effect is quite strong because of, in part, how undifferentiated our curve is.

GeePee

Posts: 1273
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:35 pm

Yeah, given there are (supposed to be) 50% more P's given than H's, I think it will be hard to make a case for 5H's at median. I could definitely see 4, but 5 seems to be pushing it, even if the elective classes have more relaxed curves than otherwise.

IzziesGal

Posts: 760
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:11 pm

Related question - I'm a 2L at Boalt, and we only have pass, honors, and high honors. I know that Harvard has pass and low pass, and I was wondering if "low pass" is given out a lot. For example, we have "substandard pass," but I never even mention it to future Boalties or employers because professors usually don't use it. There were two substandard pass grades given out since 1L year and it's considered taboo for a professor to use it. Just wondering if it's the same deal with Harvard's low pass, or if low pass is something that a certain number of students every semester have to receive for a course.

iagolives

Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:24 pm