Numerous complaints about the Law School's highly competitive numerical grading system will undergo committee action within the next month, Paul F. Glenn 3L, president of the Dormitory Council, said yesterday.
The committee, comprised of heads of the major Law School organizations, plans to examine the grading system from three angles. We shall try to determine the best system not only for the students, but also for the faculty and the law firms," Glenn said.
Many students feel that the present plan of releasing exact rank and course scores to prospective employers places undue emphasis on actually meaningless grade differences. "The difference between a high C and a low C may only be a few points," Glenn said, "but it represents several hundred places on the rank list. Since the law firms tend to emphasize class standing, a student is under constant pressure to improve his grades."
The committee will try to decide whether this pressure has an adverse effect on the student. Glenn pointed out that the Business School had dropped its numerical marking system because it found that the students "lost perspective." The Business School now uses a system of high pass, low pass, failure.
"Excessive pressure on marks turns many students into unhealthy grinds," Glenn said. "Others become discouraged at low rankings, develop inferiority complexes, and sometimes even quit the profession."
Referring to the faculty, he said, "Opinion is divided, but many professors dislike having to draw dividing lines between students. Grades are often carried into decimal places to determine exact rank." He also thought that abolishing the rank list might bring about closer relations between students end law firms. The firms would them not be able to get as much detailed information about the student from the University, and would have to relay more on interviews.