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Law Faculty Approves Grading Reform Plan

By David N. Hollander

The Faculty of Law yesterday approved with only minor amendments the grade reform plan proposed last week by the faculty Committee on Grades.

The new plan is the faculty response to the demand of a group of first-year students the Law School adopt pass-fail grading. It gives first-year students the option of receiving their grades as pass-fail, high-satisfactory-low-fail, or in the nine categories the School has used for the past year.

The faculty met for over three hours both Tuesday the Thursday--with students attending at observers--to discuss the Committee proposal. At times, faculty members strongly criticized the student drive for grade reform, but the final vote on the proposal was nearly unanimous. Several outspoken faculty opponents of grade reform were not present at yesterday's meeting.

In one of the amendments to the Committee recommendation, the faculty voted that the decision to receive grades in a certain manner could not be changed until second-year first-term grades, had been reported. The Committee had recommended that the decision be irrevocable until after the second year.

Committee chairman Robert E. Keeton, professor of Law, said last night that some faculty members were concerned that the unamended plan would have shifted the tensions of the first year--which the new plan in intended to reduce--into the second year.

At the request of the Law Review, a student honorary publication, the faculty amended the Committee recommendation to increase from 15 to 20 the number of first-year students' grades to the submitted to the Review for purposes of choosing members. The Review claimed that the needed to accept more members because of the draft.

Exempt non-J.D.'s

The faculty also exempted non-J.D. students from the new provision for anonymous grading, and eliminated the word "marginal" from a sentence authorizing professors in awarding course grades to "make marginal allowances for relevant factors apart from the examination."

Stephen E. Cotton, a member of the lrst-year student group that had demanded pass-fail grading, said last night, "It's clear the faculty realizes that this is a temporary solution."

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