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Denning1919

Current Law Students: Pass/Fail due to COVID-19?

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10 minutes ago, BabyLawyer said:

Just piping in here to prevent the spread of misinformation. Windsor has yet to make a decision on the pass/fail front. As of 1:45 pm today, Windsor's SLS President updated the student body that the pass/fail option is "an ongoing conversation that is moving along quite rapidly and is taking into account the responses from other law schools. There will be more information released by us/the school when there is more we can say." 

We have now heard from the Dean the school is "contemplating moving to an optional modified grading system".

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2 hours ago, LegalArmada said:

Schools and childcare facilities are all closed. Restaurants and bars are closed but for take-out or delivery options. I think the NS closures are very similar to Ontario's. 

The problem is that everyone at this school seems to have resigned themselves to the new system proposed by Schulich admin. A cursory glance at the 2L Facebook group suggests that everyone got very excited by the prospect of banding together a few days ago and writing 50+ emails to the Dean, and then promptly giving up once she responded with the extended time regime. 

If you want to do something about it, circulate an online petition of some variety around the law school. I would be very cautious about supposing pass/fail is the preferred style vs. something a vocal minority is supporting, however. 

It shouldn't be an issue of what is popular. Of course there are going to be students in ideal situations who are licking their chops.

This is an issue of what's fair. Most of the top law schools are going pass/fail this term for a reason. There is no way to create anything that resembles a level playing field right now.

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18 hours ago, WindsorHopeful said:

Yeah - Windsor sent an email tonight confirming that emails will go ahead as scheduled. No pass/fail and examsoft will still be used. To make it worse, some profs are changing from multiple choice to short answer questions, effectively making the exam much harder than it was planned 😣

 

Windsor hasn't made the final decision yet. The SLS prez posted on facebook this afternoon stating they are speaking to the other SLS reps across Ontario. The email sent last night is to state that exams won't be pushed off to a later date, and the non-conflicted exam schedule stands. Nothing has been decided yet. 

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11 minutes ago, Beats said:

It shouldn't be an issue of what is popular. Of course there are going to be students in ideal situations who are licking their chops.

This is an issue of what's fair. Most of the top law schools are going pass/fail this term for a reason. There is no way to create anything that resembles a level playing field right now.

I get what you're saying. But evidently there is some significant disagreement as to what is or is not fair (just see this thread, for example). I know I've spoken to a few people at Dal and they've said they wouldn't want to go to a P/F system. 
 

The reality is that the Dean isn't going to cave if there's no pressure to do so, as is clearly evident by the correspondence we've received thus far. In my view, if you want this you'll have to drum up support from the student body. 

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This is a difficult time for administrators and they want to make the best possible decision. However, they should at least update us to tell us that they expect to make a decision no later than X date. Ottawa, Dal, and several american schools already clearly articulated their position.

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12 minutes ago, LegalArmada said:

I get what you're saying. But evidently there is some significant disagreement as to what is or is not fair (just see this thread, for example). I know I've spoken to a few people at Dal and they've said they wouldn't want to go to a P/F system. 
 

The reality is that the Dean isn't going to cave if there's no pressure to do so, as is clearly evident by the correspondence we've received thus far. In my view, if you want this you'll have to drum up support from the student body. 

Again, this shouldn't be about what some students prefer and it certainly shouldn't be about pressuring the Dean to cave. Leaders are put in charge to make the right decisions, not to bend to people with the loudest voice. 

Obviously if most of the top law schools are implementing a policy there is very good reason to do so. Those reasons should be carefully weighed, not the opinions of a bunch of greedy students who plan on colluding with each other to up their GPA.

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2 minutes ago, barnacledhermit said:

UofT just announced mandatory CR/NCR.

Across the board, all years, all courses.

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4 minutes ago, Beats said:

Those reasons should be carefully weighed, not the opinions of a bunch of greedy students who plan on colluding with each other to up their GPA.

This is way less pronounced than you make it to be.

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U of T Law just moved to mandatory CR/NCR: 

Quote

Dear JD Students,

Let me begin with the most important sentiment: I hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and taking care of yourselves. 

I appreciate your past and continued understanding as the Faculty works through some significant adjustments to your education and our community resulting from COVID-19.  Students, staff and faculty have worked together to make the changes with as little disruption as possible, and I am proud of our community’s resilience and cooperative spirit.

I have heard from students and faculty on both sides of the question of how we should treat remaining work, including grades, this semester.  Not only do I understand the good arguments on both sides – there are no obvious answers – but I have been impressed by the thoughtful engagement.  While everyone inevitably has interests based on their particular circumstances, the conversation has taken place at the level of principle.

After hearing from students on both sides, and consulting extensively with faculty, including an executive committee of faculty, we have decided the following.  First, out of concern for academic integrity, you will be responsible for completing your courses, including examinations and other written assignments

Second, we will move to a general credit/no-credit grading scheme for all JD students in all courses this semester, including full year courses (eg, small groups in first year).  We considered maintaining our grading scheme, moving to some kind of elective credit/no credit scheme, and moving to a general credit/no credit scheme.  Again, there are good arguments for each option that I will not rehearse here, and there will be understandable objections no matter what option we choose.  But, on balance, only the general credit/no credit scheme avoids problematic evaluative distinctions at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting students in highly differentiated ways that are independent of academic commitment and ability. 

A couple of concluding points.  First, classes continue.  Our goal at the Faculty is to provide you with a high quality legal education.  That does not change.  We understand that there may be differences in individuals’ ability to participate.  If that is the case, you need to contact the Accommodations Committee at [email protected] in the regular manner.  We will obviously be flexible in the circumstances.

Second, papers and other written assignments will be submitted to the Records Office as usual.  We will let you know our arrangements for exams in the coming days.  If you have concerns about meeting deadlines or writing your exams, you will need to contact[email protected] as usual.  We will be flexible in addressing these requests, and in the documentation required, if any, to support these requests.  You are also welcome as usual to contact your instructors after the term to gather qualitative feedback on your work.

In closing, I want to thank you again for your understanding, patience and cooperation.  Take care.  

Best,

Ed

 

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17 minutes ago, Beats said:

Again, this shouldn't be about what some students prefer and it certainly shouldn't be about pressuring the Dean to cave. Leaders are put in charge to make the right decisions, not to bend to people with the loudest voice. 

Obviously if most of the top law schools are implementing a policy there is very good reason to do so. Those reasons should be carefully weighed, not the opinions of a bunch of greedy students who plan on colluding with each other to up their GPA.

I 100% understand what you're saying. But the reality is that is not what's happening, or at least that doesn't appear to be Dal's position. I understand your frustration and I agree with you that this seems like the most fair scenario right now. With UofT, UofA and Ottawa moving to P/F I think this is the best solution for Dal as well. 

 

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I started the thread but can't seem to edit my first post. I thought it would be helpful if we could list the school and status. For example, in no particular order:

UFT: mandatory pass/fail

Ottawa: optional pass/fail

Dal: no change 

Osgoode: pending 

And so forth 

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5 minutes ago, Denning1919 said:

I started the thread but can't seem to edit my first post. I thought it would be helpful if we could list the school and status. For example, in no particular order:

UFT: mandatory pass/fail

Ottawa: optional pass/fail

Dal: no change 

Osgoode: pending 

And so forth 

UBC: no change

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1 minute ago, LegalArmada said:

UofA

From what I understand, this is not in stone: the Faculty of Law may choose to make an exception to the broader UofA decision. Messaging from the Faculty has been that they intend to make a decision in the next few days. According to the excerpt from the UofA’s email sent today (below), the Faculty of Law has until 27 Mar to announce their decision.

I am not prepared to interpret whether Law falls under the “accreditation or licensure” umbrella - things are so fluid I don’t think it’s prudent to make that determination based on a blanket announcement. I intend to wait to hear whether we go to P/F from the Faculty of Law.

Deans of programs may make exceptions where grades are required for accreditation or licensure requirements. If an exception is made for a particular program or course, students will be informed by their Dean no later than March 27, 2020.

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2 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Does mandatory pass/fail apply to grades which would have been received from extracurriculars rather than coursework?

At uOttawa, if we choose the pass/fail option, it applies to ALL of our courses, even those without final exams such as advocacy courses and directed research. 

 

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36 minutes ago, Denning1919 said:

I started the thread but can't seem to edit my first post. I thought it would be helpful if we could list the school and status. For example, in no particular order:

UFT: mandatory pass/fail

Ottawa: optional pass/fail

Dal: no change 

Osgoode: pending 

And so forth 

Western: pending, but they've said they should tell us the decision on Monday

Edited by lewcifer
rephrased for clarity

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Im just a 1L, so this may be a stupid question, but:

 

How does stare decisis work in this situation? Is U of T’s grading scheme binding on the rest of the Ontario schools, or merely persuasive?

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There are only a couple dozen law schools in Canada. Why couldn't the Deans collaborate on this? Or just wait and see what U of T was doing?

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