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Stanford Law School Nixes Letter Grades for Students

Publication Date: 
June 11, 2008
The Daily Journal
Noah Barron

The Daily Journal ran corrections to their June 11, 2008 story about grade reform at Stanford Law:


A June 11 article, "Stanford Law School Nixes Letter Grades for Students," contained several inaccuracies. The new grading system has no confirmed start date or transitional policy for currently enrolled students. As present, subject matter is not the only determining factor as to whether grades are curved.

The Daily Journal regrets the errors.

The original story quoted Vice Dean Mark Kelman and alumnus Andrew Bruk:

Stanford faculty voted on May 28 to join the law schools at Berkeley and Yale in doing away with GPAs to prevent quibbling competition over tenths of a grade point.

"It was misleading to those on the outside who are trying to discern distinction in performance. It characterized some of our students as weaker than they actually are," Kelman said.


The result, said Andrew Bruck of the class of 2008, was that students who favored abstract, writing-based classes had higher GPAs than students who took the curved classes.

"More often than not, if someone got a grade below the mean, it was not because they didn't understand the material, it was because someone has to get the B, the B-plus, the B-minus, because it's on a mean."'

Bruck, who will be clerking under Justice Stewart Rabner of the New Jersey Supreme Court, added, "I think the problem was that [the old system] created a lot of false distinctions based upon how you did on the day of an exam, not on your real knowledge."