Law schools should “substantially eliminate” “C” grades because they’re stress-inducing and make it more difficult for students to get jobs, a law professor argues in the University of San Francisco Law Review.
Here’s why “C” grades damage student morale and should be given very rarely, according to University of Arkansas professor Joshua Silverstein:
Why do C grades cause such distress among law students? Why is it so difficult for law professors to convince their students that C’s are acceptable under the grading systems generally in operation in legal education? Because our students are raised in an “A and B world.” More specifically, they receive mostly A’s and B’s in high school and college. As a result, they are conditioned to expect marks above the C level.
Some top law schools inflate their students’ grades because it gives them an edge when they apply for jobs in their final year. Silverstein says this policy puts students at a disadvantage in less prestigious schools, where students graduate with lower average GPAs than their colleagues at better schools.
How are they supposed to compete for BigLaw jobs and prestigious clerkships when recruiters care so much about absolute GPAs?
To fix this problem, Silverstein wants to make everyone equal under a broken grading system, rather than fix grades at schools that inflate them.
There isn’t much point in having grades if they don’t mean anything, though. Law firms and other employers would have no way of avoiding mediocre students if “C”s are as rare as unicorns. Law schools everywhere should just start asking professors to grade students fairly.
Silverstein didn’t seem to like this idea. One problem with grade “deflation,” he told Business Insider, is “we wouldn’t get the psychological benefits of higher grades.”
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