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Letter Grades Now Passé At Three Top Law Schools

Publication Date: 
October 10, 2008
Source: 
Law.com
Author: 
Karen Sloan

Dean Larry Kramer is quoted in a Law.com story about the move of three top law schools' to new grading systems that do not involve letter grades:

"It will be interesting to see if other schools follow," said Stanford Dean Larry Kramer.

...

Kramer said Stanford's old grading system had been piecemeal, complicated and weighed down by many rules. Although the school had a required grading mean, not all professors abided by it. Students would flock to classes taught by professors who doled out a larger number of high grades, he said.

"It had become a major factor in class selection," Kramer said.

...

Some hiring partners did tell Stanford that they plan to do more research when hiring, since the new grade scale will create less stratification among candidates. Kramer, for one, thinks that's a good thing.

Stanford's new grading scale took effect this semester, while Harvard's will be implemented for students who start next fall.

...

Instead of giving out Order of the Coif honors to the top 10% of students and Graduation with Distinction honors to the top 30%, professors will give out individual "book prizes" to students in their classes. The number of prizes available in each class is limited, based on the class size.

The book prizes will enable students who excel in one specific class or area to receive honors, whereas they may not have been recognized under the old system, Kramer said.