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Stanford Law School Grade Reform FAQ

What is being proposed?

On May 28, 2008, the law school faculty voted to adopt a grade reform proposal that will change the law school's grading system to an honors, pass, restricted credit, no credit system for all semesters and quarters. The new system includes a shared norm for the proportion of honors to be awarded in both exam and paper courses.

What is the current grading system at SLS?

Under the regular grading system, a student receives one of 21 numerical grades ranging from 2.1 to 4.3. Each grade has a letter equivalent, ranging from A+ to F.

JD students also have the option to take any or all of their first–semester, first–year courses on the optional "3K" grading basis (this system uses the symbols K, RK, and NK, which translates into credit, restricted credit, and no credit.) No matter what selection a student makes in the first semester, after the first semester, JD students may take no more than two courses on the optional 3K grading basis. All other work for the JD degree must be taken on the grading system employing letter grades and numerical equivalents (with the exception of courses that are "mandatory 3K" per the instructor).

How will grade reform be implemented and when?

While the law school faculty have voted in favor of the grade reform proposal, many details still need to been worked out. There have not been any decisions about when the new proposal will begin to be implemented, how students who entered Stanford under one grading system would be graded if a different system is put into place while they are still in residence, and whether the school will retain the current system of graduation honors (either for classes that entered under the old system or for classes that enter when the new one is in place) and if so, how eligibility for honors would be calculated. Faculty are also studying the possibility of devising alternative methods to honor exceptional student performance. Law school faculty will soon be reviewing a proposal to resolve these issues, and it is expected that a decision will be reached either this summer or in the early fall.