Grading Policy at Rutgers School of Law-Camden
Our students are a talented and accomplished group who have been well-trained in analyzing cases and statutes, in writing effectively, and in learning the foundational skills they will need no matter who their future employer may be. Like every law school, we grade in order to gauge our students’ success in their training. We believe that grades ought to be transparent: that it should be easy for both students and prospective employers to look at student performance and judge how well the student has done. We also believe that it is undesirable to have inequities among sections of the same course, or to have students “grade-shop” in picking their courses.
Thus the Rutgers faculty has adopted, effective summer session, 2011, the following grading policy:
* First-year courses: The mean (average) grade point must be between 3.00 and 3.10. Legal Analysis, Writing and Research II (the spring course) grades must be between 3.10 and 3.20. It is recommended that 60% of the grades be in the B (range) (B+, B, B-), and that A+’s not exceed 3% or 1A+, whichever is higher.
* Upper Level Courses Over 30 Students: For courses with over 30 students, the mean must be between 3.20 and 3.30. The recommended distribution is the same as in First-year courses.
*Upper Level Courses with 10 30 Students: For courses with 10 30 students, the mean must be between a 3.10 and 3.40. The recommended distribution is the same as above.
* Upper Level Courses with under 10 students, Clinics, Writing Intensive Required, or Skills Required courses are exempt from this policy
* Only the Dean may award exceptions, and he or she must do so sparingly.
The policy reflects the practice of most professors, and so we do not anticipate either grade inflation or grade deflation overall.
The faculty made the decision to adopt this policy after almost two years of consideration and hard work. Students were given every opportunity to express their views, and many did.
We hope that this policy will be helpful to all members of the law school community and to those who need to assess the performance of our students.
Here is the text of the policy, which is included in the Law School’s Academic Rules and Regulations:
Rule 4.4: Grade Mean and Distribution Requirements for First Year Courses.
(a) The mean grade point average in first year courses shall be between 3.00 and a 3.10. This shall include adjustments for class participation.
(b) Faculty are strongly encouraged to give 60% of grades in the B range (B+, B, B ) and no more than the higher of one A+ or 3% A+'s.
(c) Grades with means outside the range set forth in (a) shall not be accepted except with the Dean's permission. The professor grading the course must substantiate the justification for grading outside this range. The Dean's permission shall be granted sparingly.
(d) Legal Analysis, Writing and Research I is subject to the requirements of (a) through (c). In the case of Legal Analysis, Writing and Research II, the required range is from 3.10 to 3.20, with the same recommended distribution as in (b). A professor teaching two sections of either Legal Analysis I or II may combine sections for purposes of determining compliance with the requirements of this subsection.
(e) The courses subject to this section are those listed in Rules 6.1(a) and (b), and 6.2(a), (b) and (c). Summer sections of the courses are subject to this section.
Rule 4.5: Grade Mean and Distribution Requirements for Upper Class Courses.
(a) The mean grade point average in upper class courses of more than 30 students shall be between 3.20 and 3.30. This shall include adjustments for class participation. .
(b) The mean grade point average in courses with 10 to 30 students shall be between a 3.10 and 3.40. This shall include adjustments for class participation.
(c) In courses subject to this rule, the strongly recommended distribution is the same as in Rule 4.4(b).
(d) Grades outside the ranges stated in (a) and (b) shall not be accepted except in compliance with Rule 4.4(c).
(e) Summer sections of the courses listed in (a) and (b) are subject to this section
(f) Courses with fewer than 10 students, clinics, and courses in which intensive writing credit or skills credit is mandatory are exempt from this rule.
Rule 4.6: Effective Date. Rules 4.4 and 4.5 shall take effect with the summer session 2011.
Rutgers University School of Law - Camden does not provide class ranking of students. Class ranking was eliminated by the law school's faculty in 1972 in order to avoid the pitfalls and prejudices that may result from a system suggesting a substantial difference between students who, in fact, have a small numerical difference in grade point averages. In the faculty's view, the ranking system did not accurately reflect the relative abilities or potential of the law school's students and graduates.
The law school's grading system consists of the following letter grades and numerical equivalents: