LRW Grading

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drmguy
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LRW Grading

Postby drmguy » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:57 am

For those of you who have finished LRW or those who have received a letter grade, how is LRW graded?

My first instinct is to absolutely avoid any issues that the professor can easily circle. This would be bluebook errors and grammar errors.

Beyond that I can think of language matching and macro formatting issues(which probably vary from class to class).

I could list other things but I think it would be more valuable to hear from people who have actually received a grade. I have to imagine that there are a substantial number that receive their grade and had no idea that a certain aspect would be so critical.

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ph14
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby ph14 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:06 am

drmguy wrote:For those of you who have finished LRW or those who have received a letter grade, how is LRW graded?

My first instinct is to absolutely avoid any issues that the professor can easily circle. This would be bluebook errors and grammar errors.

Beyond that I can think of language matching and macro formatting issues(which probably vary from class to class).

I could list other things but I think it would be more valuable to hear from people who have actually received a grade. I have to imagine that there are a substantial number that receive their grade and had no idea that a certain aspect would be so critical.


Depends substantially on your professor.

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drmguy
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby drmguy » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:13 am

ph14 wrote:
drmguy wrote:For those of you who have finished LRW or those who have received a letter grade, how is LRW graded?

My first instinct is to absolutely avoid any issues that the professor can easily circle. This would be bluebook errors and grammar errors.

Beyond that I can think of language matching and macro formatting issues(which probably vary from class to class).

I could list other things but I think it would be more valuable to hear from people who have actually received a grade. I have to imagine that there are a substantial number that receive their grade and had no idea that a certain aspect would be so critical.


Depends substantially on your professor.



I just thought it might be a good idea for people to throw things out there, since most of us are on the final stretch, that each of us may have never thought about.

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drmguy
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby drmguy » Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:49 pm

Nothing?

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alicrimson
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby alicrimson » Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:04 pm

Most of the final memos at my lawl school are closed. I'm assured by the T.A.s and 2Ls that using words your teacher likes, coming up with interesting comparisons, following grammar and bluebook rules, showing "constant improvement", and sucking up are the keys to good grades....or a B+. Apparently everyone at my school B+s LRW and there is something like two As per class. My final memo is due this week so this goat-rodeo has about come to a close.

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SilverE2
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby SilverE2 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:04 pm

alicrimson wrote:Most of the final memos at my lawl school are closed. I'm assured by the T.A.s and 2Ls that using words your teacher likes, coming up with interesting comparisons, following grammar and bluebook rules, showing "constant improvement", and sucking up are the keys to good grades....or a B+. Apparently everyone at my school B+s LRW and there is something like two As per class. My final memo is due this week so this goat-rodeo has about come to a close.


Constant improvement? Aren't memos blind graded at your school?

acrossthelake
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby acrossthelake » Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:48 pm

Not blind graded for my prof. Overall final grade based somewhat on improvement and how much effort she thinks you're putting in. The actual memos themselves though are graded on a curve based on issues, format, analysis, style, grammar, bluebook, etc. LRW fits our usual curve for other classes.

clone22
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby clone22 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:13 pm

Most people here seem to get a B+. A few A-'s and maybe a B here and there. The prof grades our entire portfolio together to get an overall sense of our work. So basically unless you really mess up (and don't turn something in), or you're really good, you're gonna get a B+. the class is 1/8th of my grade, so it works for me.

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drmguy
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby drmguy » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:17 pm

How could a professor grade down a paper with perfect bluebooking and perfect grammar?

Btw, this is not a "how could!" a professor do such a thing question. I am merely asking what a professor would grand down in that circumstance.

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MoS
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby MoS » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:32 pm

There are some professors who will go crazy over Bluebooking and grammar, but this is what most people will focus on. With a curve this gets you a median grade. The key is your legal analysis. Don't be "creative", be clear. Structure helps enormously with this. Divide it into sections and subsections, and use your roadmaps not only to tell you reader what you are about to write, but also why they should care. In memos be sure to steer clear of emotive language, this like bluebooking (which is so simple for memos) is an easy way for a prof to decide which papers will fall below median.

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drmguy
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby drmguy » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:13 pm

MoS wrote:... but also why they should care...


What do you mean?

adonai
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby adonai » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:05 pm

What does it mean when a prof. says you are a "strong writer"? Every time I'd ask my prof. something, she'd always make sure to mention that but I'm not quite sure what it specifically means. Does that mean everything in a memo is sound?

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alicrimson
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby alicrimson » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:17 pm

SilverE2 wrote:
alicrimson wrote:Most of the final memos at my lawl school are closed. I'm assured by the T.A.s and 2Ls that using words your teacher likes, coming up with interesting comparisons, following grammar and bluebook rules, showing "constant improvement", and sucking up are the keys to good grades....or a B+. Apparently everyone at my school B+s LRW and there is something like two As per class. My final memo is due this week so this goat-rodeo has about come to a close.


Constant improvement? Aren't memos blind graded at your school?


Absolutely not. Its the one class that isn't blind grading. I think the whole B+ improvement special snowflake deal is a result of the class being pass fail up until last year.

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MoS
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby MoS » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:55 pm

drmguy wrote:
MoS wrote:... but also why they should care...


What do you mean?


Is it a dispositive issue? Is it part of a multi-part test? What is the implication of the section?

Essentially, why should a reader who is just skimming stop to read the section. You have to remember one purpose of a memo is for future use. So while the first person who asked for it will likely read the whole thing, future readers who are looking for something similar to their project may just need one section of your memo, and it should be structured so that person should be able to find that section easily.

somethingdemure
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby somethingdemure » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:25 pm

Do you guys not get some sort of general grading rubric to look at before turning in the assignment? I know my prof had a ridiculously long list of credited responses, some of which was very clear and easy to understand ("pulled x fact out of y case and analogized") and some of which was more amorphous ("argument clarity and structure"). Before the assignment she gave a pretty detailed list of what types of things were credited.

I imagine OP is thinking everyone will turn in the same memo, so what sets them apart - and this is why some people think graded LRW is stupid. It's too difficult to balance between reining in the problem enough to create a workable rubric and making the grading seem fair, and making it difficult enough to meaningfully separate the papers. To some extent the grade will always be a coin flip, which you can't change at this point. Should have picked a different school.

On the other hand, not everyone will turn in exactly the same memo. There will be more to write about than will fit in your page limit, so distinguishing the critical facts from the rest is key.

Three things I noticed help to get maximum points.
First, stick to the format like white on rice. Whatever rubric the teacher uses will be based on the format she taught. My teacher taught that for each "topic" you go intro, case/rule statement, analogy, conclusion - and X points were available for each of those four paragraphs per topic.

Second, just like any exam, squeeze the shit out of every fact you're given in the fact pattern. Ask yourself seriously why it's there, why it matters.

Third, be as boring as possible. If you think of something you think is really clever to say about the problem, for god's sake don't write it in your memo. Write a law review article about it. For one, it's very likely that you're wrong, or what you've said is at least arguably inaccurate or inapposite to the issue. For two, clever things will not show up on your professor's rubric, and when the prof is plodding through your memo, the tenth one she's done that day, she won't be looking for clever interpretations of the substantive law - even if you're not wrong, she'll want to find any reason to discount your argument because then she won't have to deal with the difficult problem of comparing your orange to all the apples. For substantive course exams, say everything that's arguable - for LRW, say only things that are obvious.

dudders
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby dudders » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:32 pm

drmguy wrote:How could a professor grade down a paper with perfect bluebooking and perfect grammar?

Btw, this is not a "how could!" a professor do such a thing question. I am merely asking what a professor would grand down in that circumstance.


Local rules, Bluebooking and grammar were only like 10% of my LRW memo grades. The rest was about how deeply we researched and how well we analyzed the issue.

dudders
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Re: LRW Grading

Postby dudders » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:38 pm

Here's an example of how the discussion section of a graded memo at GW gets torn apart:

Organization of the Argument (overall TREAT); Use of Thesis Statements and Point Headings (T) (7 points)
7 - Each issue and paragraph within each issue is well-organized: thesis statements are clear, paragraphing is effective, transitions are evident. Everything is in a well-chosen, logical place. Point headings are articulated extremely well and always used effectively.
4-6 - The argument overall is well- organized; however, some paragraphs or elements could be executed better organizationally. There is likely some blurring in the R, E, A such that crispness or sophistication is lacking. Headings are very well done but there is room for improvement.
2-3 - An argument structure is apparent; paragraphing is not on its own problematic, but: Ts are absent/unclear; R, E, A is more often than not blurry and therefore confusing; elements may be missing; or headings are present but not always well crafted or placed.
1 - The paper is uniformly deficient in its deployment of an organizational paradigm. There are other problems with paragraphing or organization as well, including but not limited to use and articulation of point headings.

Rule Statements, Synthesis, and Rule Explanation (RE) (14 points)
12-14 - Statements of the Rule on each issue (and sub-issue) are accurate, effective, and well-articulated. The statute is mentioned where relevant. Rules are crystallized and explained in a sophisticated manner through well- reasoned and written synthesis.
7-11 - While correct content-wise, at least some Rules or elements could be better written or explained. Synthesis is evident but meets with mixed success. Explanation may be lacking at times or over-reliant on string cites, quotes, or unnecessary info. from the cases.
3-6 - Rules may be technically correct but typically are not explained well (or are under-explained). Synthesis is attempted but problematic; cases are discussed seriatim, though cases are relevant and appropriate.
1-2 - The Rules are confusingly written, incorrect, missing pieces, or largely unsupported. (All of these things need not be true simultaneously).

Use of Source Material in Analysis (including statutory provisions, case law, secondary materials) (RA) (18 points)
16-18 - Statutory interpretation is sophisticated and well supported. The paper demonstrates a sophisticated selection and placement of cases and other sources as well as the ability to work with key facts in those cases through well-drawn analogies or distinctions. Quoted language and case citations are used as support for analysis, not as a replacement for it. Excellent fact sensitivity is evident in the application of facts to law.
9-15 - Stat. interp. is very strong but there is room to make more sophisticated analysis. Case selection is very strong but cases and other materials are not always used as effectively as possible. Analogies and distinctions are definitely present but could be more nuanced, fact-sensitive, or explicit. The application of the facts to the law is well done (clear, appropriate) but there is room for more sophisticated assertions or tighter conclusions.
4-8 - Paper suggests student did not get hands “dirty” enough with cases and/or fact pattern. So, cases are present and accurate, but under-used. Factual nuances were overlooked, though conclusions are supported.
1-3 - Application of facts to law is attempted but largely deficient. Too few cases are used or too few facts are drawn out of them. Analogies and distinctions are uniformly weak or overly conclusive.

Writing Style and Polish
Please also consider here the feedback your DF provides re: format, citations, etc.
9 points
8-9 - The writing is clear, concise, rhetorically effective, and meticulously proofread. For this category, technical accuracy is necessary but not sufficient: the writing also must be fluid and sophisticated.
5-7 - The writing contains few, if any, errors in style or mechanics; these errors do not detract from the overall substantive strength of the paper. Despite technical accuracy, the writing lacks some precision, fluidity, or sophistication (e.g., overuse of the passive voice, nominalizations, etc.).
3-4 - The writing suffers from some clarity/precision issues; substance is sometimes confused or obscured as a result (but the writing still gets the job done). A more rigorous edit would have eliminated technical errors and mistakes. Use of colloquial or idiomatic speech is prevalent.
1-2 - The writing shows a distinct lack of care in proofreading and editing and/or evidences a need to work on the rules of standard written English, including but not limited to colloquialisms.




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