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U of T grading

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This is completely anectodal, but 1Ls stress a LOT about grades even with this grading system. We haven’t had our exams yet but we’ve had a few assignments and most people are disappointed when they get Ps. I don’t know if that’ll change after exams or if law school students are just obsessed with their grades...

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It was introduced while I was at U of T but I was grandfathered under the old system. I understood what they were striving for but wasn't sure whether they hit it or not. I know that when I look at a transcript now, I just assume an HH = A, an H = B+ and a P = B. To the extent it's eliminated Cs, that works, as a C stands out more than a P does. But at the top end I don't really see a change.

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Some profs are awarding “P+” and “High P” grades as interim marks. Does anyone know whether these marks are numerically significant ie: if a P+ is awarded on a 20% assignment vs a P, how does that affect the final mark in the class.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Zarathustra said:

Some profs are awarding “P+” and “High P” grades as interim marks. Does anyone know whether these marks are numerically significant ie: if a P+ is awarded on a 20% assignment vs a P, how does that affect the final mark in the class.

 

 

Don't see why it wouldn't? P+ > P so if in the end, there's 1 more H left and it's between someone who got P, H, H and another person who got P+, H, H, I would imagine it would go to the latter.

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I was also there during the change.

Statistically it has not affected hiring. Anecdotally, I’ve seen zero evidence it reduced anyone’s anxiety. It was an enormous waste of time, except that I think its real purpose was just to comfort the faculty into believing they were doing something for the kids. In that sense, it was a success. 

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6 hours ago, andi28 said:

This is completely anectodal, but 1Ls stress a LOT about grades even with this grading system. We haven’t had our exams yet but we’ve had a few assignments and most people are disappointed when they get Ps. I don’t know if that’ll change after exams or if law school students are just obsessed with their grades...

Law students want jobs. Grades impact job options. Why would students not care about their grades?

A P is a mediocre grade and it is disappointing to anyone who wants to be above the curve. There’s no amount of renaming grades into “Fun Time Happy Everyone Winner” that will make law students so stupid they don’t know what above and below the curve means. 

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6 minutes ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

Law students want jobs. Grades impact job options. Why would students not care about their grades?

A P is a mediocre grade and it is disappointing to anyone who wants to be above the curve. There’s no amount of renaming grades into “Fun Time Happy Everyone Winner” that will make law students so stupid they don’t know what above and below the curve means. 

Exactly. 

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5 hours ago, Rashabon said:

It was introduced while I was at U of T but I was grandfathered under the old system. I understood what they were striving for but wasn't sure whether they hit it or not. I know that when I look at a transcript now, I just assume an HH = A, an H = B+ and a P = B. To the extent it's eliminated Cs, that works, as a C stands out more than a P does. But at the top end I don't really see a change.

There is grade "inflation" and there is grade "stabilization" 

HH = A and H= B+ and P= B then LP is B-

And F= ?

Really confusing. Why reinventing the wheel when A, B, C .. .is working fine?

Edited by Luckycharm
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Well nobody gets Fs so who cares. If I see an LP I'm assuming that person got a C or C- or something.

We raised all these points when it was first introduced but U of T went ahead. It's not really aimed at the Canadian market though. Certain of the stated rationales when I attended an info session way back when were that it made U of T students more competitive in U.S. markets, where a) these grading schemes already exist and b) an H looks better than a B+, and the students at U of T shouldn't be penalized by a curve reflecting a better pool of students than another school.

I'll leave whether the latter point is true or not to other people to debate because I couldn't care less.

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@theycancallyouhoju has it marked any change in NY hiring for U of T? 

 

McGill is considering doing the same (in fact they were considering having my cohort be the first under a new "high pass, pass, fail" system). I've talked with numerous faculty members expressing my concern on a system which doesn't actually differentiate students leading to other things differentiating students (all the subtle privilege monikers the world is trying to move away from). Would be nice to see if U of T's system made any different at all in hiring.

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The reason for the change was that Harvard, Stanford, and Yale use a P/H system, and so of course U of T must too. No one is fooled. 

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I really would not dismiss the psychological benefits of the HH/H/P/LP system so quickly, or the benefits it has with respect to more efficient use of a law student's scarce resources. (If you don't like a particular course or are doing badly or whatever, just put that course on the back-burner. No one will know whether you were literally the bottom of the class or in the middle of the pack!)

I don't know a single person who wishes we had granularly distributed grades similar to other law schools. Yes, students care about their grades and, yes, the grading system doesn't change the brute fact that there is still a visible distinction on transcripts between the top of the class and the rest. But, for the median student, the current system is totally fine. 

Seriously who cares whether you got a C+, B- , or a B or whatever we decide a P is equivalent to at another law school? Are employers not hiring U of T students because Ps are inscrutable? I don't think so. The grades are Good.

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1 hour ago, pzabbythesecond said:

@theycancallyouhoju has it marked any change in NY hiring for U of T? 

 

McGill is considering doing the same (in fact they were considering having my cohort be the first under a new "high pass, pass, fail" system). I've talked with numerous faculty members expressing my concern on a system which doesn't actually differentiate students leading to other things differentiating students (all the subtle privilege monikers the world is trying to move away from). Would be nice to see if U of T's system made any different at all in hiring.

That is exactly my concern. Thank God I had my grades because I sure didn’t have hockey or golf or a daddy in the biz or travel experience to 30 countries. I’m sure the only reason I got considered for anything or had an edge over anyone else was my grades that I earned. I would be furious if my school took that away and said all I got was a “high pass.” Plus as long as there is a high pass, there will be competition and stress - if they want to eliminate that, they need to go true pass-fail like med school.

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19 minutes ago, providence said:

That is exactly my concern. Thank God I had my grades because I sure didn’t have hockey or golf or a daddy in the biz or travel experience to 30 countries. I’m sure the only reason I got considered for anything or had an edge over anyone else was my grades that I earned. I would be furious if my school took that away and said all I got was a “high pass.” Plus as long as there is a high pass, there will be competition and stress - if they want to eliminate that, they need to go true pass-fail like med school.

That's my concern with McGill's scheme right now. Our "B" covers such a large swath of the class (something like 50-70 percent) that I get really miffed because the school is artificially trying to make everyone seem the same. Now they're just embracing that principle even more so - and guess what, I would hazard a guess that over half the class has some sort of connection to the profession that I don't have.

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4 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

@theycancallyouhoju has it marked any change in NY hiring for U of T? 

None I could discern. HH = A, H = the thing below A, P = the not good grade.

 

3 hours ago, onepost said:

I really would not dismiss the psychological benefits of the HH/H/P/LP system so quickly, or the benefits it has with respect to more efficient use of a law student's scarce resources. (If you don't like a particular course or are doing badly or whatever, just put that course on the back-burner. No one will know whether you were literally the bottom of the class or in the middle of the pack!)

I don't know a single person who wishes we had granularly distributed grades similar to other law schools. Yes, students care about their grades and, yes, the grading system doesn't change the brute fact that there is still a visible distinction on transcripts between the top of the class and the rest. But, for the median student, the current system is totally fine. 

Seriously who cares whether you got a C+, B- , or a B or whatever we decide a P is equivalent to at another law school? Are employers not hiring U of T students because Ps are inscrutable? I don't think so. The grades are Good.

Okay. But I was there when it happened and there was no change in people’s stress levels, or none we could see. 

 

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5 minutes ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

None I could discern. HH = A, H = the thing below A, P = the not good grade.

 

Okay. But I was there when it happened and there was no change in people’s stress levels, or none we could see. 

 

But no one will FAIL. As someone said previously.

 

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3 minutes ago, Luckycharm said:

But no one will FAIL. As someone said previously.

 

Oh lord no. Law school operates on kindergarten principles - if you more or less show up, they will let your parents come take pictures of you on graduation day.

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12 minutes ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

Okay. But I was there when it happened and there was no change in people’s stress levels, or none we could see. 

I am prepared to accept that the current system means absolutely nothing for the kind of high-performing students who are competitive for New York or clerkships or distinction or whatever gold ring they are chasing. (And nb. that these are the people who insisting that the system makes absolutely no difference!) The HH/H/P/LP system not implemented for them. It's for the people who would find themselves somewhere in the bottom half of a curve comprised of very strong students. 

Edited by onepost

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Just now, onepost said:

I am prepared to accept that the current system means absolutely nothing for the kind of high-performing students gunning for New York or clerkships or distinction or whatever gold ring that makes them tick. (And nb. that these are the people who seem to insist that the system makes absolutely no difference!) The HH/H/P/LP system not implemented for them. It's for the people who would find themselves somewhere in the bottom half of a curve comprised of very strong students. 

Yeah but, uh...I was there when it happened, among the people who don’t seek golden ticks or whatever, and they didn’t seem less stressed at all. They self-reported no less stress than the final year of the old system. 

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Yeah, I mean we all want to be on the top half of the curve, and trying to get there is always going stressful. But when the dust settles, half the class will fall short -- and when they do the consequences are less severe because of the P. And I think you can (i) take advantage of that, and (ii)  if you can keep it in mind, grades are less stressful. That's all. I find it hard to point to a significant downside of the current system. 

Edited by onepost
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