Likelihood of Changes to Order of the Coif Cutoffs Due to Mandatory Pass/Fail?

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anonymous2898

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Likelihood of Changes to Order of the Coif Cutoffs Due to Mandatory Pass/Fail?

Post by anonymous2898 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:14 pm

Hello All,

I hope everyone is staying safe. I'm writing with a quick question: Does anyone know the likelihood of changes to the "Order of the Coif" cutoffs this year due to many law schools changing to mandatory pass/fail grading for the current semester? I'm a graduating 3L, and I entered the semester about 0.01-0.02 GPA points shy of the historical Order of the Coif cutoff for the past few years, and due to mandatory pass/fail my GPA is locked-in without the ability to move upward. I've heard that other schools have considered adjusting Latin honors cutoffs this, but I have also heard that because Order of the Coif rules are set by the national organization, schools are unable to unilaterally adjust Order of the Coif cutoffs without its approval. Thus, does anyone know if the national organization is considering or allowing adjustments to this year's eligibility criteria in light of mandatory pass/fail grading?

Thanks for any insight you can provide!

nixy

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Re: Likelihood of Changes to Order of the Coif Cutoffs Due to Mandatory Pass/Fail?

Post by nixy » Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:13 am

I don’t mean this to be as snarky as it sounds, but why would a pass/fail semester lead the Order of the Coif people to adjust cut offs?

stupididiot

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Re: Likelihood of Changes to Order of the Coif Cutoffs Due to Mandatory Pass/Fail?

Post by stupididiot » Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:47 am

nixy wrote:I don’t mean this to be as snarky as it sounds, but why would a pass/fail semester lead the Order of the Coif people to adjust cut offs?
Not endorsing this, because I dont quite understand it either, but apparently the idea is that some people backloaded easy classes/seminars/clinics into their last semester, with the idea that they would be able to bring their GPA into range with last semester grades. And now its 'unfair' that this semester is pass/fail.

When Harvard went mandatory pass/fail, there was apparently push back from 3L's for this reason, and so Harvard adjusted magna cutoffs with some weird formula (so it will be more than 10% of the class this semester).

nixy

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Re: Likelihood of Changes to Order of the Coif Cutoffs Due to Mandatory Pass/Fail?

Post by nixy » Thu Apr 30, 2020 11:40 am

stupididiot wrote:
nixy wrote:I don’t mean this to be as snarky as it sounds, but why would a pass/fail semester lead the Order of the Coif people to adjust cut offs?
Not endorsing this, because I dont quite understand it either, but apparently the idea is that some people backloaded easy classes/seminars/clinics into their last semester, with the idea that they would be able to bring their GPA into range with last semester grades. And now its 'unfair' that this semester is pass/fail.

When Harvard went mandatory pass/fail, there was apparently push back from 3L's for this reason, and so Harvard adjusted magna cutoffs with some weird formula (so it will be more than 10% of the class this semester).
Wow. I totally don't agree with that - no one is ever guaranteed any kinds of grades - but thankfully it's not my problem to deal with.

StopLawying

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Re: Likelihood of Changes to Order of the Coif Cutoffs Due to Mandatory Pass/Fail?

Post by StopLawying » Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:19 pm

stupididiot wrote:
nixy wrote:I don’t mean this to be as snarky as it sounds, but why would a pass/fail semester lead the Order of the Coif people to adjust cut offs?
Not endorsing this, because I dont quite understand it either, but apparently the idea is that some people backloaded easy classes/seminars/clinics into their last semester, with the idea that they would be able to bring their GPA into range with last semester grades. And now its 'unfair' that this semester is pass/fail.

When Harvard went mandatory pass/fail, there was apparently push back from 3L's for this reason, and so Harvard adjusted magna cutoffs with some weird formula (so it will be more than 10% of the class this semester).
Can anyone from Harvard describe the formula?

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stupididiot

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Re: Likelihood of Changes to Order of the Coif Cutoffs Due to Mandatory Pass/Fail?

Post by stupididiot » Thu Apr 30, 2020 2:03 pm

StopLawying wrote:
stupididiot wrote:
nixy wrote:I don’t mean this to be as snarky as it sounds, but why would a pass/fail semester lead the Order of the Coif people to adjust cut offs?
Not endorsing this, because I dont quite understand it either, but apparently the idea is that some people backloaded easy classes/seminars/clinics into their last semester, with the idea that they would be able to bring their GPA into range with last semester grades. And now its 'unfair' that this semester is pass/fail.

When Harvard went mandatory pass/fail, there was apparently push back from 3L's for this reason, and so Harvard adjusted magna cutoffs with some weird formula (so it will be more than 10% of the class this semester).
Can anyone from Harvard describe the formula?
For 2L and 3L students, the calculation for the award of Latin honors at the time of graduation will be a weighted average of the GPA for each of the years in which HLS grades were received.
Full weight will be given to the years in which grades were received in all terms.
The Law School will calculate the overall GPA for Latin honors three different ways for each student using three different weighting calculations for 2019-20 in relation to the other years in which HLS grades were received.
The three weighted factors will be:
(i) 50%;
(ii) 60%; and
(iii) an individualized percentage for each student, calculated by dividing the number of graded credits the student completed in 2019-20 that are included in the calculation of Latin honors in the ordinary course by the student’s total number of credits in enrolled courses that are or would have been included in the Latin honors calculation in the ordinary course.
In assessing Latin honors for 2L and 3L students who are enrolled for the Spring Term 2020, students who qualify for honors under any one of the calculations, regardless of which one, will receive the respective honors designation associated with their best outcome. In other words, under this approach, we will calculate GPAs three independent ways, creating three different GPA pools. Students falling into the top 10% in any of the three pools will receive magna cum laude honors, and students falling into the next 30% in any of the three pools will receive cum laude honors.

StopLawying

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Re: Likelihood of Changes to Order of the Coif Cutoffs Due to Mandatory Pass/Fail?

Post by StopLawying » Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:06 pm

stupididiot wrote:
StopLawying wrote:
stupididiot wrote:
nixy wrote:I don’t mean this to be as snarky as it sounds, but why would a pass/fail semester lead the Order of the Coif people to adjust cut offs?
Not endorsing this, because I dont quite understand it either, but apparently the idea is that some people backloaded easy classes/seminars/clinics into their last semester, with the idea that they would be able to bring their GPA into range with last semester grades. And now its 'unfair' that this semester is pass/fail.

When Harvard went mandatory pass/fail, there was apparently push back from 3L's for this reason, and so Harvard adjusted magna cutoffs with some weird formula (so it will be more than 10% of the class this semester).
Can anyone from Harvard describe the formula?
For 2L and 3L students, the calculation for the award of Latin honors at the time of graduation will be a weighted average of the GPA for each of the years in which HLS grades were received.
Full weight will be given to the years in which grades were received in all terms.
The Law School will calculate the overall GPA for Latin honors three different ways for each student using three different weighting calculations for 2019-20 in relation to the other years in which HLS grades were received.
The three weighted factors will be:
(i) 50%;
(ii) 60%; and
(iii) an individualized percentage for each student, calculated by dividing the number of graded credits the student completed in 2019-20 that are included in the calculation of Latin honors in the ordinary course by the student’s total number of credits in enrolled courses that are or would have been included in the Latin honors calculation in the ordinary course.
In assessing Latin honors for 2L and 3L students who are enrolled for the Spring Term 2020, students who qualify for honors under any one of the calculations, regardless of which one, will receive the respective honors designation associated with their best outcome. In other words, under this approach, we will calculate GPAs three independent ways, creating three different GPA pools. Students falling into the top 10% in any of the three pools will receive magna cum laude honors, and students falling into the next 30% in any of the three pools will receive cum laude honors.
Thanks a lot for posting!

anonymous2898

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Re: Likelihood of Changes to Order of the Coif Cutoffs Due to Mandatory Pass/Fail?

Post by anonymous2898 » Thu Apr 30, 2020 4:58 pm

nixy wrote:
stupididiot wrote:
nixy wrote:I don’t mean this to be as snarky as it sounds, but why would a pass/fail semester lead the Order of the Coif people to adjust cut offs?
Not endorsing this, because I dont quite understand it either, but apparently the idea is that some people backloaded easy classes/seminars/clinics into their last semester, with the idea that they would be able to bring their GPA into range with last semester grades. And now its 'unfair' that this semester is pass/fail.

When Harvard went mandatory pass/fail, there was apparently push back from 3L's for this reason, and so Harvard adjusted magna cutoffs with some weird formula (so it will be more than 10% of the class this semester).
Wow. I totally don't agree with that - no one is ever guaranteed any kinds of grades - but thankfully it's not my problem to deal with.
I think the argument isn't that anyone is entitled to particular grades; rather, I think it's that what was denied was the opportunity to work towards achieving honors, an opportunity that but for the mandatory pass/fail grading regime graduating JDs would have had (i.e. six semesters of grades rather than five). Graduation honors have traditionally been awarded on the basis of six full semesters of grades; whether you achieve it via early successes or later successes, it did not matter under the traditional understanding. I'm not saying you have to agree with the argument -- not everyone does -- but the idea is that (as my school's Dean confirmed) statistics show that there is a lot of Latin honors/class rank movement that occurs in the final semester. Some will characterize that as "3Ls backloading easy classes" and thus undeserving of any sympathy; however, I disagree with that characterization. Sure, some 3Ls might fall into this category, but many 3Ls aren't taking easy classes. Rather, they may be law students who didn't do well 1L year and who didn't hit their stride until later in law school. For those students, they've worked hard in 2L and 3L to overcome poor 1L performance. By not lowering cutoffs to recognize those students and the significant class rank movement that occurs in the final semester, the argument is that you deprive those students of an opportunity that they would have otherwise had to prove themselves (and in doing so, you unfairly benefit those who did well early on, who came into Spring 2020 "above the cutoff," and who can simply coast in their final semester because their honors are locked-in).

nixy

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Re: Likelihood of Changes to Order of the Coif Cutoffs Due to Mandatory Pass/Fail?

Post by nixy » Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:28 pm

I get that, but I still don’t really agree with it. Partly I’m not convinced there is so much significant movement in class rank during 3L (everyone I know was calculating what grades they might get and what difference they would make to GPA and generally it was really hard to move the needle at that point). Maybe some of that was a function of my school’s grading system as much as anything else (which made no adjustment to the curve after 1L and was definitely not LP/P/H), but adjusting the rankings just doesn’t make sense to me.

But in any case, no one has to convince me.

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anonymous2898

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Re: Likelihood of Changes to Order of the Coif Cutoffs Due to Mandatory Pass/Fail?

Post by anonymous2898 » Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:42 pm

nixy wrote:I get that, but I still don’t really agree with it. Partly I’m not convinced there is so much significant movement in class rank during 3L (everyone I know was calculating what grades they might get and what difference they would make to GPA and generally it was really hard to move the needle at that point). Maybe some of that was a function of my school’s grading system as much as anything else (which made no adjustment to the curve after 1L and was definitely not LP/P/H), but adjusting the rankings just doesn’t make sense to me.

But in any case, no one has to convince me.
I understand your point. For my school at least, our Dean revealed that school data showed that every year a significant enough number of our students move up in rank / achieve Latin Honors to warrant lowering the cutoffs this year as an accommodation. So your mileage may vary, of course, but I caution against assuming that your experience bears out for every school. I certainly understand your points, though. As I said, I know not everyone will agree -- and that's fine.

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Re: Likelihood of Changes to Order of the Coif Cutoffs Due to Mandatory Pass/Fail?

Post by politibro44 » Sat May 02, 2020 12:51 am

I sympathize with the 3Ls. Mostly because I walked into 3L with the goal of achieving Coif and would not made it but for getting a 4.0 both semesters.

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Re: Likelihood of Changes to Order of the Coif Cutoffs Due to Mandatory Pass/Fail?

Post by pizzagoblin » Wed Sep 02, 2020 7:27 pm

Any idea when Coif will be announced?

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