The first thing I noticed, 1L year, about law school grades was how long it took to get them. The second thing I noticed about law school grades was how bad they were. Just kidding...
Finals usually end in mid-to-late-December, and grades at most law schools don't come in until mid-to-late January. Fair or not, this is just a fact of life for most law students. George Washington University Law School, however, is pushing its students' patience (and anxiety) to the brink this year.
Yesterday, the Blackbook Legal Blog reported that some GW students have still not received grades from last semester. That's right, an entire section of 1Ls has been waiting for Crim grades for over 100 days. As a Blackbook commenter noted, second semester finals at GW start in three weeks.
And this isn't the first time GW has tested it's students late-grade tolerance. Back, in February (week six of second semester), Nota Bene reported that two elective classes had yet to receive their grades.
I know that professors are busy people, and that it's important that they grade carefully and accurately, but that argument only goes so far. Most professors teach one, maybe two, classes a semester. How long can it really take to grade 50 finals? Even 100? And why does it take so long to report Scantron tests?
Late grades hurt students' employment opportunities, but what they say about professors' priorities is the real slap-in-the-face. Student tuition pays professors' salaries; grading should be their first priority, from the time students finish the final, until the last grade is reported.
I think most professors take their grading duties seriously and approach them with the reluctant diligence we expect, but maybe it's time to start punishing those that don't. A few years ago, Florida State set strict grading deadlines and (illegally?) started fining professors $10 for every grade they turned in late. The plan seems to have worked there. Something for GW to consider?