Grading – BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School

Grading

A.  Grading Rules

All courses and seminars shall be evaluated by numerical grades unless departure from that general policy is approved by the Curriculum Committee.  Individual faculty members may determine whether to grade Directed Research on a numerical or pass/fail basis.  There will be a minimum grade of 1.6 for complete non-performance and a maximum grade of 4.0.

In a pass/fail graded offering, a student may receive a grade of pass, low pass, or fail.  Low pass will appear on the transcript at a grade of 2.7 per credit hour.  A fail will be recorded as a 1.6.

Law school grades are on a 4.0 scale using intervals of 0.1.  The presumptive top grade in each class shall be 4.0; the average required for graduation is 2.7; and the minimum grade for which credit will be given is 2.2.

B.  Grading Scale

A: 4.0-3.4
B: 3.3-2.7
C: 2.7-2.2
No Credit: 2.1-1.6

4.0
3.9
3.8                               Superior
3.7                               _______________
3.6
3.5
3.4                               Excellent
3.3                               _______________
3.2
3.1                               High Pass
3.0                               _______________
2.9
2.8                               Pass
2.7                               _______________
2.6
2.5                               Low Pass
2.4
2.3
2.2                               _______________
2.1                               Failing
2.0
1.9
1.8
1.7
1.6

C.  Median and Mean Grades

1. In all first-year courses, the median grade will be 3.3.

2. In all second- and third-year courses, the median grade will be 3.3 with two exceptions:

a.         A deviation not exceeding 0.2 points may be made if all of the following conditions are met:
i.          The course has an enrollment of fewer than ten students;
ii.         The faculty member clearly demonstrates that there is a disproportionate number of excellent, or sub-par, student performances;
iii.        The Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum approves the deviation.

Under this exception, in a particular course, a deviation may occur occasionally, but in almost all years the median for that course will be 3.3. The fact that a course involves a paper, a project, skills training, or a heavy workload does not justify a deviation from the 3.3 median.

b. If the median GPA of the students enrolled in the course is between 3.4 and 3.499, the instructor may use a median of 3.4; if the median GPA is between 3.5 and 3.599, the instructor may use a median of 3.5; and if the median GPA of students enrolled in the course is 3.6 or above, the instructor may use a median of 3.6.  The median GPA of the students in the course will be calculated as of the beginning of the semester in which the course is offered with respect to students enrolled in the course as of the end of the semester.  The registrar will notify the instructor if this exception applies to the course.

The exceptions described in sections a and b may not be cumulated.

3. A grade is a median grade if half the students in a course receive that grade or lower.

4. In any course with ten or more students, the mean grade for the course may be no more than 0.1 higher than the highest permissible median grade.

D.  Resolving Academic Grievances

Despite the well-meaning efforts of students and instructors alike, there may be times when students feel that they have been treated unjustly or that their work has been evaluated unfairly or inadequately by an instructor.  In such an instance, the following guidelines apply:

1. The student should first bring the grievance to the attention of the instructor involved who is better acquainted with the situation than any other member of the faculty.  Most instructors are anxious to work through differences with their students in a sensitive and fair-minded manner.

If (a) the instructor is not available, (b) the student feels strongly that the instructor will not deal with the grievance fairly, or (c) bringing the grievance to the attention of the instructor does not resolve the problem to the student’s satisfaction, the student may appeal to the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs.  He or she will consider the grievance and, within 30 days, will notify the student and the instructor of the decision.  The decision can include a grade change; however, the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs will sustain the original grade if it has a reasonable basis and is not arbitrary or capricious.

2. If the student is dissatisfied with the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs’ decision, the student may appeal in writing to the Dean no later than 30 days after the date of the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs’ notification letter.  The written appeal should include the details of the grievance and an outline of the student’s efforts to resolve it prior to making this appeal to the Dean.

3. The Dean will give the student the choice of having the grievance resolved directly by him or her or by a three-member committee chaired by a full-time member of the faculty selected by the Dean.  Should the student choose to have the grievance appeal heard by the three-person committee, the other two committee members will be appointed by the student and the instructor, respectively.  Each must either be a full-time student or a full-time faculty member.

4. When the grievance is heard by the Dean or the committee, both the student and the instructor may call witnesses to be questioned by the other party and by the Dean or committee members.  The number of witnesses and the conduct of the hearing will be determined by the Dean or the committee chair.

5. The Dean’s or committee’s decision (by majority vote) will be final and not subject to appeal.  The decision can include a grade change.  The Dean or the committee will sustain the original grade if, after full consideration, it has a reasonable basis and is not arbitrary or capricious.

6. The same appeal process is available to the instructor.  In other words, if the instructor is not satisfied with the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs’ decision, he or she may appeal to the Dean.

7. The student must bring the grievance to the attention of the instructor or the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs within one calendar year from the last day of the examination period in the semester in which the problem originated.  For example, if the grievance occurred in a course offered in a winter semester, the student must initiate the grievance procedure before the final day of the following year’s winter semester examination period.  Where military service or an LDS mission makes it difficult to bring the problem to the attention of the instructor or Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs, a later consideration may be permitted.

E.  Grades and Credit Earned at Another Law School

Up to three full-time semesters of visiting credit earned at an ABA-approved and AALS member school and up to two full-time semesters of visiting credit earned at an ABA-approved school not a member of AALS by BYU law students will be counted towards satisfying BYU Law School graduation requirements.  However, no credits will be accepted for courses taken at any other law schools unless the grade received is at least the equivalent of 2.2 at the BYU Law School, and there must be no duplication of credits. Students transferring to the BYU Law School from another law school will have their transfer credits accepted on the same basis.  All such credit will show on the student’s BYU transcript as a pass.

F.  Repeating Courses

A student who receives a grade of 2.1 or less in a required course must repeat the course until he or she receives a 2.2 or more.  A student who receives a grade of 2.6 or less in a course may repeat the course one time unless the grade was assigned for academic misconduct.  When a course is repeated, all grades will appear on the law school transcript and will be calculated into the cumulative grade point average for all purposes, except for dismissal under Section IV. Credits for the repeated course will be counted only once toward the number of credits required for graduation under Section VIII.B. In order to repeat a course, the student must otherwise be in good standing or be re-admitted to continue on probation.
In the case of seminar classes (Law 795R and 796R) a student will not be permitted to repeat the class because the class material, title and section may have been changed.

G.  Class Rank

Under FERPA, class ranking and cumulative grade point average records maintained by the law school are available to students.  The law school compiles, and students may request, individual Student Progress Reports that disclose ranking to the middle of the class in 10% increments with additional disclosures at the top 25% and the top 33%.  The remainder of the class is listed as bottom 50%.  The law school also compiles an individual class rank for students in the top 15% of the class.

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