## Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
iliketothinkiamcool

Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:47 pm

### Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

How does it actually work? I know it depends on the school. Do professors have a certain amount of A's, B's, etc?? The thing I wonder about is when you see they grade on a 2.0 curve or 2.5 curve...

mycousinvinny

Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:12 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

underdawg

Posts: 1115
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:15 am

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

iliketothinkiamcool wrote:How does it actually work? I know it depends on the school. Do professors have a certain amount of A's, B's, etc?? The thing I wonder about is when you see they grade on a 2.0 curve or 2.5 curve...
1. depends on the school
2. you're right, it does depend on the school
3. it depends on the school
4. it depends on the school
Last edited by underdawg on Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NewHere

Posts: 411
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 1:19 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

Do professors have a certain amount of A's, B's, etc??
Yes, exactly.

For example, if the curve is (I'm making something up now)
A 5%
A- 10%
B+ 25%
B 25%
B- 10%
C 5%

That means that if there are 100 people in the class, 5 of them will get an A, 10 will get an A-, etc. If there are only 50 students, then 2 or 3 will get an A, about 5 will get an A-, etc. I think the above would be called a B+/B curve (meaning that the median lies between B+ and B).
when you see they grade on a 2.0 curve
That usually means that 2.0 is the median. (This seems very low for a curve by the way.)

huckabees

Posts: 322
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:38 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

NewHere wrote:
Do professors have a certain amount of A's, B's, etc??
Yes, exactly.

For example, if the curve is (I'm making something up now)
A 5%
A- 10%
B+ 25%
B 25%
B- 10%
C 5%

That means that if there are 100 people in the class, 5 of them will get an A, 10 will get an A-, etc. If there are only 50 students, then 2 or 3 will get an A, about 5 will get an A-, etc. I think the above would be called a B+/B curve (meaning that the median lies between B+ and B).
when you see they grade on a 2.0 curve
That usually means that 2.0 is the median. (This seems very low for a curve by the way.)
Thanks, NewHere.

Can you tell me what the curve for CLS is like, during 1L and also post-1L?

(Will move this question to the CLS thread if you prefer.)

Thanks!

## Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!

Wahoo1L

Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:35 am

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

Not all schools require a certain percentage of students to get one particular grade, at Virginia, professors are free to give whatever distribution of grades they want so long as it averages out to a 3.3. Thus, the following grades are theoretically possible:

Professor A
A: 0
A-: 10
B+: 80
B: 10
B-: 0

Professor B
A: 20
A-: 20
B+: 20
B: 20
B-: 20

NewHere

Posts: 411
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 1:19 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

Can you tell me what the curve for CLS is like, during 1L and also post-1L?
here.

huckabees

Posts: 322
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:38 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

NewHere wrote:
Can you tell me what the curve for CLS is like, during 1L and also post-1L?
here.
Thanks!

How much more lenient are post-1L grades? And how so? E.g., is the bulk of the leniency in the increase in B+ grades or A grades, etc.

Thank you!

XxSpyKEx

Posts: 1805
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2006 5:48 am

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

Then there are the profs that have just been at the school forever and just do whatever the hell they want with grades and tell the school to fuck off with their mandatory grade curve (i.e. my civ pro prof).

## Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?

twenty

Posts: 3189
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

XxSpyKEx wrote:Then there are the profs that have just been at the school forever and just do whatever the hell they want with grades and tell the school to fuck off with their mandatory grade curve (i.e. my civ pro prof).
This happens a lot more than people realize, especially for upper division classes.

What 0Ls don't immediately realize is that median =/= average. An A- median could be B+, B+, B+, A-, A-, A-, A-, or alternatively, A-, A-, A-, A-, A, A+, A+.

Mack.Hambleton

Posts: 5414
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:09 am

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

At HLS it's 40% H 60% P and then 0-8% LP depending on the professor for 1L grades. Upper level classes and seminars have easier curves.

thesealocust

Posts: 8525
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

Code: Select all

``````[quote="gondar5678"]This seems very low for a curve by the way.
[url=https://www.9gclub.com/casino-online/][color=#DCE1E5]คาสิโนออนไลน์[/color][/url][/quote]``````

Spammer/SEO optimizer bumping a thread after 6 years. Nice.

Mack.Hambleton

Posts: 5414
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:09 am

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

thesealocust wrote:

Code: Select all

``````[quote="gondar5678"]This seems very low for a curve by the way.
[url=https://www.9gclub.com/casino-online/][color=#DCE1E5]คาสิโนออนไลน์[/color][/url][/quote]``````

Spammer/SEO optimizer bumping a thread after 6 years. Nice.
Lol didn't even notice the age

Register now!

## Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!

Leonardo DiCaprio

Posts: 316
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:06 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

if the required median is a B, can't the prof just give AAA B BBB and not below-median pwn anyone. or am i not understanding wtf a median is or how the curve works

thesealocust

Posts: 8525
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

Leonardo DiCaprio wrote:if the required median is a B, can't the prof just give AAA B BBB and not below-median pwn anyone. or am i not understanding wtf a median is or how the curve works
(1) Assuming a sufficiently difficult exam, the scores will all but inevitably follow a normal distribution (bell curve). Nature is freaky like that. As a consequence, it would require a rather dodgy grading scale with a hard B/A cutoff right in the most populated area of the curve to yield the "AAA B BBB" result.

(2) The median grade is the grade in the middle, so your example would work, but the median isn't how curves are established. Most schools with explicit polices use a mandatory mean/average - otherwise even less severe distortions than the one you proposed could still result in dramatic differences between professors, when the intent is to impose rigid set of constraints on professors to allow students to be somewhat evenly ranked and compared. The alternative to a system involving means/averages is a mandatory distribution of some kind, which again wouldn't work for your median-pwnage-avoiding example.

(3) You hear the phrase "median-pwned" or "below median" thrown around a lot, and it's not incorrect, but it's referring to the result of the curve (i.e. what grade is in the middle and what is above or below it) and not the method for imposing it (which, as noted, will look at the mean/average or at least distributions around a median instead of just taking the median however derived).

Paul Campos

Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:44 am

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

It depends completely on the school. At CU there's a required median, which means the median grade in a class has to be that grade, and that's literally the only requirement. So you could in theory give no grades above the median, or no grades below it. (There's a "suggested" distribution but I don't think people pay a lot of attention to it).

Leonardo DiCaprio

Posts: 316
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:06 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

thank you for the above comments.

last q. when profs say that participation can boost your grade a smidge, how does this work? i thought grades were all done anonymously? how would the prof know where to add that 0.01 extra point to your grade if prof doesn't know what grade you got?

## Register now!

I'm pretty sure I told you it's FREE...

rnoodles

Posts: 8465
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:52 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

Leonardo DiCaprio wrote:thank you for the above comments.

last q. when profs say that participation can boost your grade a smidge, how does this work? i thought grades were all done anonymously? how would the prof know where to add that 0.01 extra point to your grade if prof doesn't know what grade you got?
I think it's just that they grade the exam anonymously. But when they're inputing grades they will know who got what and be like "Oh, yeah Mr. DiCaprio did well participation wise. Let's bump him."

I am a 1L, though, so don't take my word for it.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Posts: 316
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:06 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

rnoodles22 wrote:
Leonardo DiCaprio wrote:thank you for the above comments.

last q. when profs say that participation can boost your grade a smidge, how does this work? i thought grades were all done anonymously? how would the prof know where to add that 0.01 extra point to your grade if prof doesn't know what grade you got?
I think it's just that they grade the exam anonymously. But when they're inputing grades they will know who got what and be like "Oh, yeah Mr. DiCaprio did well participation wise. Let's bump him."

I am a 1L, though, so don't take my word for it.
that doesn't sound very anonymous at all. in theory some vindictive boomer asshole can just say "oh i gave him an A- on the exam? fuck him. I'm gonna give him a B+" while inputting grades

thesealocust

Posts: 8525
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

Leonardo DiCaprio wrote:thank you for the above comments.

last q. when profs say that participation can boost your grade a smidge, how does this work? i thought grades were all done anonymously? how would the prof know where to add that 0.01 extra point to your grade if prof doesn't know what grade you got?
Mechanically, professors assign grades based on blind grading numbers and submit them to the school. The school reports back to the professor the student and the grades. From there, the professor can apply adjustments for participation. Yes, that means blind grading is not completely "blind" - but it is what it is, neh?

In my experience, it's done exceedingly rarely, but the threat is used to encourage participation. Even professors that admit to adjusting grades often caveat that it's reserved for students who were right on the edge between two grades.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Posts: 316
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:06 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

based TSL, you da real MVP

Communicate now with those who not only know what a legal education is, but can offer you worthy advice and commentary as you complete the three most educational, yet challenging years of your law related post graduate life.

## Register now, it's still FREE!

Paul Campos

Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:44 am

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

Again, this is school-specific. At my school, you grade exams anonymously, get back a grade sheet, and then are allowed to make adjustments based on "participation." The specific policy for any class is supposed to be announced at the beginning of the year. In recent years I've told first years I wouldn't adjust grades on the basis of "participation," since this seemed to undermine the whole point of an anonymous grading system. This has led to various complaints on student evaluations that I'm not penalizing people for non-participation.

BTW there's an actual ABA rule that requires schools to enforce a policy of "regular and punctual" attendance as a condition of accreditation. A lot of schools have adopted a sort of common law gloss on this called the 20% rule, which is that you're supposed to automatically fail if you miss 20% of a class's meetings. The extent to which this rule is actually adhered to tends to correlate inversely with a school's status.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Posts: 316
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:06 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

Paul Campos wrote:Again, this is school-specific. At my school, you grade exams anonymously, get back a grade sheet, and then are allowed to make adjustments based on "participation." The specific policy for any class is supposed to be announced at the beginning of the year. In recent years I've told first years I wouldn't adjust grades on the basis of "participation," since this seemed to undermine the whole point of an anonymous grading system. This has led to various complaints on student evaluations that I'm not penalizing people for non-participation.

BTW there's an actual ABA rule that requires schools to enforce a policy of "regular and punctual" attendance as a condition of accreditation. A lot of schools have adopted a sort of common law gloss on this called the 20% rule, which is that you're supposed to automatically fail if you miss 20% of a class's meetings. The extent to which this rule is actually adhered to tends to correlate inversely with a school's status.
hmmm interesting. thanks for that insight bro.

grizz20

Posts: 101
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:26 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

Bell curve, normal distribution. Highly unlikely to have anything else since it needs to be based around the school's curve. Plus, non-normal distributions can be a sign of outside influences like cheating - would really only happen for MC tests though.

For your final question see TSL's post.

IWantT6

Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:08 pm

### Re: Explain to a 0L how the law school curve works?

I'm confused as to how this works into class rank. Let's say there are 5 sections. Does each section have its own curve? If so, how is rank determined? If the top student in each section got an A, how would it be determined who is #1 v. #5?

## Seriously? What are you waiting for?

Now there's a charge.
Just kidding ... it's still FREE!