Grade reform is big these days. Yale Law School has long been famous for not grading the people who go on to become the people who grade law students. At Yale, students can earn a grade of Honors, Pass, Low Pass, or Fail. However, in practice, students apparently only receive grades of Honors or Pass, and the only way you can fail a class at Yale is by getting caught cheating.
Berkeley Law has graded on a four level scale for over 20 years, but threw in another grading option in 1997 (Substandard Pass), just for kicks. The Berkeley scale consists of High Honors, Honors, Substandard Pass, and No Credit.
In late May, Stanford followed suit, eliminating letter grading in favor a system with four levels of achievement. Stanford’s system grades students as Honors, Pass, Restricted Credit and No Credit.
Not to be left behind, Harvard jumped on the bandwagon this week, dumping its traditional grading system in favor of a four level system that assigns grades of...wait for it...Honors, Pass, Low Pass, and Fail.
I like this trend, and, after listening to her unsolicited commentary on how hard it is to give law students bad grades, I bet Greta’s pretty down too. Greta’s remarks made me think about a little more about grade inflation in law school (not to mention the ethics of KSW by harnessing level V Thetans for Xenu).
Is there any reason grade inflation has to stop with the elimination of traditional grading?
What happens when professors at Harvard start to feel bad about giving students a mere Pass and Honors becomes average? Maybe a new system: Highest Honors? Super Pass? Respectable Pass?
As long as there’s Epic Fail, I’m okay with all of this.
Needless to say, I am jealous, and I hope Davis will immediately drop its traditional grading system and retroactively apply a four level system. I’ve already transposed a new version of my transcript and if Davis doesn’t make the switch soon I think I may make it without them.