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What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:04 pm
by RomaLaw
So I've literally never heard of people getting Fs in law school classes before, but my girlfriend is in two classes in which there were multiples Fs dished out, and another two with AFs. Another friend saw an F in a class of hers. What's the deal here? I was always under the impression that you basically had to turn in a blank exam to fail a law school class.

Anyone know about a change in policies? Is this happening at any other T14s? Sucks for these folks, I imagine an F in law school basically ruins your life.

Re: What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:07 pm
by cavalier1138
Schools publish their grading policies. What's Georgetown's policy on failing grades?

It certainly sounds unusual for a top school; most T13 schools only allow discretionary F grades (and I think some of them require professors to explain the reason for the grade before it's allowed). But depending on how many Fs you're actually talking about, it may be normal for Georgetown.

Re: What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:48 pm
by RomaLaw
cavalier1138 wrote:Schools publish their grading policies. What's Georgetown's policy on failing grades?

It certainly sounds unusual for a top school; most T13 schools only allow discretionary F grades (and I think some of them require professors to explain the reason for the grade before it's allowed). But depending on how many Fs you're actually talking about, it may be normal for Georgetown.


"Review Process for a Failing Grade
Any student who has received a failing grade may request that the Registrar submit that examination or paper for review. The final decision for the course grade rests with the professor conducting the course, but the course professor shall give due and appropriate consideration to the review process. A request for such evaluation must be made by the student within 14 days after the grade is posted. Only grades of F qualify for this review process."

This is all I could find regarding the policy. Anecdotally speaking, I have NEVER heard of an F before, hence my astonishment.

Re: What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:30 pm
by Wild Card
At NYU, the pettiest professor gives C+s for genuine incompetence--F is in a whole different dimension.

Re: What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:05 pm
by RomaLaw
Maybe they’be been having trouble attracting competent students since T14 status is in jeopardy.

Re: What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:28 pm
by KissMyAxe
RomaLaw wrote:Maybe they’be been having trouble attracting competent students since T14 status is in jeopardy.


What do you mean, in jeopardy? The whole point of the T14 was that there were 14 schools that had never fallen outside the top 14 rankings, so were indisputably the 14 best law schools. Georgetown fell out of the top 14, so there is no more T14, only a T13. It's not in jeopardy, their status is gone. And that makes sense, as GULC is no longer much of a national power, and is instead an good regional school, like UCLA or Texas.

Also, I don't see how failing students like a TTT for-profit school is supposed to attract good students. Or are you saying the students they're getting is of worse quality, which I doubt, as the numbers haven't really changed, and LSAT isn't a great predictor of anything either?

Re: What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:45 pm
by IPProf
Fs happen more than people think, and they tend not to be due to merely poor legal knowledge. In a law school class of 200 (or 600 if you're Georgetown) you'll have some people who are having serious life issues or who really don't want to be in law school. These people may stop attending classes, stop turning in assignments, or produce near gibberish. Ideally you identify these people early so they can withdraw from the class, but that doesn't always happen. Then you get a raw score on the exam of something like 2 out of 100.

Re: What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:50 pm
by JohnnieSockran
RomaLaw wrote:So I've literally never heard of people getting Fs in law school classes before, but my girlfriend is in two classes in which there were multiples Fs dished out, and another two with AFs. Another friend saw an F in a class of hers. What's the deal here? I was always under the impression that you basically had to turn in a blank exam to fail a law school class.

Anyone know about a change in policies? Is this happening at any other T14s? Sucks for these folks, I imagine an F in law school basically ruins your life.


One year Penn had an adjunct teaching Con Law to 1Ls (I think one of the main professors was on sabbatical), and I think he gave out at least a handful of pretty bad grades (I think they were C's, not F's, but at Penn C's are still pretty unheard of). I believe that adjunct normally taught at Temple and likely had some kind of chip on the shoulder or anger toward Penn students.

Nonetheless, the grading policy was similar to the one mentioned above and there was nothing the Penn registrar could do about those grades, and those students just got fucked.

Re: What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:12 pm
by KissMyAxe
IPProf wrote:Fs happen more than people think, and they tend not to be due to merely poor legal knowledge. In a law school class of 200 (or 600 if you're Georgetown) you'll have some people who are having serious life issues or who really don't want to be in law school. These people may stop attending classes, stop turning in assignments, or produce near gibberish. Ideally you identify these people early so they can withdraw from the class, but that doesn't always happen. Then you get a raw score on the exam of something like 2 out of 100.


See, I totally understand that people have serious shit going on or just don't go to class, don't study, or anything. But even in those situations, I strongly believe most schools at the top would give out Cs (or LPs for HYS). Because those grades are so serious and so rare, it's a signal to employers that the student screwed around. I don't think they'd fail any students, and I know professors basically are not allowed to do so at my school. I know a student who literally insulted his professors in his essays, and he still passed. That's just how these schools work.

Re: What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:41 pm
by QContinuum
JohnnieSockran wrote:One year Penn had an adjunct teaching Con Law to 1Ls (I think one of the main professors was on sabbatical), and I think he gave out at least a handful of pretty bad grades (I think they were C's, not F's, but at Penn C's are still pretty unheard of). I believe that adjunct normally taught at Temple and likely had some kind of chip on the shoulder or anger toward Penn students.

Nonetheless, the grading policy was similar to the one mentioned above and there was nothing the Penn registrar could do about those grades, and those students just got fucked.

I assume Penn, like the rest of the T13 (bar YSH), has a required 1L curve, so the adjunct couldn't have deviated too far off the curve for the whole class. If the adjunct had tried to apply the Temple curve to the whole class that would have been rejected (I assume). But giving out a few Cs was probably within the adjunct's discretion, unfortunately.

IME it's more frequent that profs want to push the curve up than that they want to grade "below" the curve.

Re: What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:45 pm
by nealric
KissMyAxe wrote:
RomaLaw wrote:Maybe they’be been having trouble attracting competent students since T14 status is in jeopardy.


What do you mean, in jeopardy? The whole point of the T14 was that there were 14 schools that had never fallen outside the top 14 rankings, so were indisputably the 14 best law schools. Georgetown fell out of the top 14, so there is no more T14, only a T13. It's not in jeopardy, their status is gone. And that makes sense, as GULC is no longer much of a national power, and is instead an good regional school, like UCLA or Texas.

Also, I don't see how failing students like a TTT for-profit school is supposed to attract good students. Or are you saying the students they're getting is of worse quality, which I doubt, as the numbers haven't really changed, and LSAT isn't a great predictor of anything either?


The whole point of the T14 was that there were 14 schools with national reach that were consistently regarded top schools. It would exist with or without a silly magazine. Whether Georgetown no longer qualifies is of course a matter of debate. To some extent, it is more national than schools like Cornell, just in terms of where the graduates tend to end up, but the large class sizes do mean that there are more people left behind at recruiting season than schools like Cornell, so its reach is broader but more shallow.

I graduated some time ago (back when there was no debate about T13 or T14), but I only experienced one class where someone got an F. It was taught by a visiting professor from a state school, and was a tax class where it was possible to be objectively wrong on every single question. Not sure what the situation is now, but given that they actually raised their target curve from when I attended, I seriously doubt they are suddenly giving out Fs right and left. Likely, the case cited by the OP was a couple of professors who were very upset with what came back at exam time. I'd also note that cheating incidents might result in Fs, which could result in multiple Fs if, for example, a group were found to have collaborated on an exam or in getting exam questions early.

Re: What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:47 pm
by RomaLaw
nealric wrote:
KissMyAxe wrote:
RomaLaw wrote:Maybe they’be been having trouble attracting competent students since T14 status is in jeopardy.


What do you mean, in jeopardy? The whole point of the T14 was that there were 14 schools that had never fallen outside the top 14 rankings, so were indisputably the 14 best law schools. Georgetown fell out of the top 14, so there is no more T14, only a T13. It's not in jeopardy, their status is gone. And that makes sense, as GULC is no longer much of a national power, and is instead an good regional school, like UCLA or Texas.

Also, I don't see how failing students like a TTT for-profit school is supposed to attract good students. Or are you saying the students they're getting is of worse quality, which I doubt, as the numbers haven't really changed, and LSAT isn't a great predictor of anything either?


The whole point of the T14 was that there were 14 schools with national reach that were consistently regarded top schools. It would exist with or without a silly magazine. Whether Georgetown no longer qualifies is of course a matter of debate. To some extent, it is more national than schools like Cornell, just in terms of where the graduates tend to end up, but the large class sizes do mean that there are more people left behind at recruiting season than schools like Cornell, so its reach is broader but more shallow.

I graduated some time ago (back when there was no debate about T13 or T14), but I only experienced one class where someone got an F. It was taught by a visiting professor from a state school, and was a tax class where it was possible to be objectively wrong on every single question. Not sure what the situation is now, but given that they actually raised their target curve from when I attended, I seriously doubt they are suddenly giving out Fs right and left. Likely, the case cited by the OP was a couple of professors who were very upset with what came back at exam time. I'd also note that cheating incidents might result in Fs, which could result in multiple Fs if, for example, a group were found to have collaborated on an exam or in getting exam questions early.


Relax KissMyAxe, I was just making a joke about the place because it sucked. Cheers to you, you went to a good law school. Congrats. We're so proud of you. You're special.

Re: What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:19 pm
by cayleystark
Not at a T-14 but a top 30 and a girl last year failed a class I was in. She literally just didn't show up for the final presentation. She just never gave it. That's the only time I've ever heard of a professor failing someone.

Re: What's with Georgetown suddenly failing people?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:35 am
by eck456
KissMyAxe wrote:
IPProf wrote:Fs happen more than people think, and they tend not to be due to merely poor legal knowledge. In a law school class of 200 (or 600 if you're Georgetown) you'll have some people who are having serious life issues or who really don't want to be in law school. These people may stop attending classes, stop turning in assignments, or produce near gibberish. Ideally you identify these people early so they can withdraw from the class, but that doesn't always happen. Then you get a raw score on the exam of something like 2 out of 100.


See, I totally understand that people have serious shit going on or just don't go to class, don't study, or anything. But even in those situations, I strongly believe most schools at the top would give out Cs (or LPs for HYS). Because those grades are so serious and so rare, it's a signal to employers that the student screwed around. I don't think they'd fail any students, and I know professors basically are not allowed to do so at my school. I know a student who literally insulted his professors in his essays, and he still passed. That's just how these schools work.


At H I know of at least one person in a 1L who was not allowed to take an exam because they had not been in the class enough. In that case you don’t get an LP you retake it, I assume w some sort of late drop or incomplete notation added. LPs actually do happen from
certain professors with relative regularity, but there are all sorts of rumors over who can give them and if they’re reviewable. I knew a 3L last year who in her first year had two profs who maxed LPs, so there were multiple members of their section who had 2-3 LPs going into OCI whereas in other sections their year it was unheard of. Story LITERALLY gave me nightmares. The No Credit thing (I assume it’s an F? Not sure) also at least used to happen during PSW for people who didn’t show up for a day or two, and I know they’ve forced retakes in 2L. Given how stupid PSW was i literally would have dropped out personally rather than sitting thru it twice, but whatever floats your boat I guess