Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
lifelearner

Is optional pass/fail prejudical

Recommended Posts

6 hours ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

Grades obviously determine a lot of the OCI allotment.

I suspect firms will be pushing to do recruitment after the first semester of 2L. The downside of that - and what everyone will be complaining about then - is that marking for 2L courses is not as consistent nor as competitive. Some classes will be easier to get As in, others won’t, etc. It’s going to be an imperfect system one way or the other. But employers would still look at any 1L marks they do have, so you’ve got that. 

Thanks for the response. I'm actually hoping that firms move hiring a semester later. Even if the grading won't be as consistent, I think it would be an opportunity to take relevant courses that indicate interest in a firm's practice area and be graded on those courses.

Personally, if I had to choose between enrolling in a "harder" relevant, core course vs. an "easier", arguably irrelevant course, I would choose the former.

 

Edited by Twenty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

It’s not thinking negatively about a student. If you get one resume from a kid with As or B+s and one from a kid with Ps, you know that kid #1 is strong and you have no idea about kid #2.

You guys are all bananas. I knew law students were insecure, but I had no idea the insecurity reached so deep as to prefer guaranteeing you can’t be assessed over taking a shot at doing well in law school.

Just shoot your shot. The kids at mandatory P/F schools have lost the chance to demonstrate they’re capable. Don’t lament not being in that club. 

I disagree that firm's have no idea about kid#2 when both 2L students would have 3 previous semesters of grades to indicate their strength.

The schools that chose to do mandatory P/F thought it out and chose wisely. They realize that not everyone is able to succeed from the social distancing and online education requirement this semester. Many students are disadvantaged due to childcare concerns and difficult living arrangements. Some may even lack a stable internet connection. in fact, some professors are unable to properly conduct online classes due to their lack of internet capabilites. And as the libraries are closed, it becomes difficult for others to concentrate or to seek out resources like stable internet. At  uOttawa, the administration has only now communicated to students what changed exam formats will look like.

Secondly, you speak of students at mandatory P/F schools losing the chance to demonstrate their capability, but this less of a concern for 2L and 3L students. They would already have had anywhere from 3 to 5 semester worth of grades to show their capabilities. My concern about the prejudicial impact speaks to the concerns of upper year students, not 1L's. 

Finally, what value do alphanumeric grades even have when it is difficult to regulate academic integrity from a take home exam environment? 

Edited by lifelearner
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, lifelearner said:

Finally, what value do alphanumeric grades even have when it is difficult to regulate academic integrity from a take home exam environment? 

Aren't most online tests administered through special software that records your screen and webcam nowadays? Given that most law school exams are open book (so I've heard - I'm only a 0L), it shouldn't be an issue as long as they can verify you aren't chatting with anyone, right? I imagine it would be administered similarly to the digital writing portion of the LSAT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Cheech said:

Aren't most online tests administered through special software that records your screen and webcam nowadays? Given that most law school exams are open book (so I've heard - I'm only a 0L), it shouldn't be an issue as long as they can verify you aren't chatting with anyone, right? I imagine it would be administered similarly to the digital writing portion of the LSAT.

Some schools are using special software, some are not. At some schools, a document will just posted on the school class portal, you download it and answer the questions in a word file, and submit it back to the portal like you would for an assignment. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, lifelearner said:

Some schools are using special software, some are not. At some schools, a document will just posted on the school class portal, you download it and answer the questions in a word file, and submit it back to the portal like you would for an assignment. 

Ah I see. Well that just sounds extremely lazy and unfair. I would really hope that my school wouldn't pull something like that.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, lifelearner said:

I disagree that firm's have no idea about kid#2 when both 2L students would have 3 previous semesters of grades to indicate their strength.

The schools that chose to do mandatory P/F thought it out and chose wisely. They realize that not everyone is able to succeed from the social distancing and online education requirement this semester. Many students are disadvantaged due to childcare concerns and difficult living arrangements. Some may even lack a stable internet connection. in fact, some professors are unable to properly conduct online classes due to their lack of internet capabilites. And as the libraries are closed, it becomes difficult for others to concentrate or to seek out resources like stable internet. At  uOttawa, the administration has only now communicated to students what changed exam formats will look like.

Secondly, you speak of students at mandatory P/F schools losing the chance to demonstrate their capability, but this less of a concern for 2L and 3L students. They would already have had anywhere from 3 to 5 semester worth of grades to show their capabilities. My concern about the prejudicial impact speaks to the concerns of upper year students, not 1L's. 

Finally, what value do alphanumeric grades even have when it is difficult to regulate academic integrity from a take home exam environment? 

By definition, we know less about applicants with one fewer semester of marks. If you were applying to a firm with 4 semesters of As, and another kid had 3 semesters of As and one of Ps, and he got an interview and you didn’t...how do you feel? Keep in mind this would only, reasonably, impact things at the margin.

I’m not especially sympathetic to the argument that someone with a taxing home situation can’t find some way to do their best. For one, you’re going to be expected to as a lawyer - “my kids were loud” isn’t going to be something you get to say to a client who thinks you produced a crappy work product. So, might as well start living in reality now. Second, I do think it makes sense - however unrealistic it would be in the work world - to adjust the exam parameters to ameliorate that concern. Give people twice as long for the exams. You guys start getting into the whining like it’s hard for you to study - dude, you’re lining up to be a lawyer. You’re going to have to produce your best work in imperfect conditions. That’s sometimes the job.

Edit: To add, obviously if you get the virus or a family member dies (as happened to me) right around the exams, schools should make accommodations.

Yes - agree this is a bigger concern for 1Ls than others.

And the last point is very dumb. A huge amount of your undergrad was presumably done away from a locked down exam setting, and if not you, then many of us. Much of 2L/3L is paper courses and the like. We’ve all been comfortable with the idea of graded work being done from home for years and years. 

Edited by theycancallyouhoju
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

By definition, we know less about applicants with one fewer semester of marks. If you were applying to a firm with 4 semesters of As, and another kid had 3 semesters of As and one of Ps, and he got an interview and you didn’t...how do you feel? Keep in mind this would only, reasonably, impact things at the margin.

I’m not especially sympathetic to the argument that someone with a taxing home situation can’t find some way to do their best. For one, you’re going to be expected to as a lawyer - “my kids were loud” isn’t going to be something you get to say to a client who thinks you produced a crappy work product. So, might as well start living in reality now. Second, I do think it makes sense - however unrealistic it would be in the work world - to adjust the exam parameters to ameliorate that concern. Give people twice as long for the exams. You guys start getting into the whining like it’s hard for you to study - dude, you’re lining up to be a lawyer. You’re going to have to produce your best work in imperfect conditions. That’s sometimes the job.

Edit: To add, obviously if you get the virus or a family member dies (as happened to me) right around the exams, schools should make accommodations.

Yes - agree this is a bigger concern for 1Ls than others.

And the last point is very dumb. A huge amount of your undergrad was presumably done away from a locked down exam setting, and if not you, then many of us. Much of 2L/3L is paper courses and the like. We’ve all been comfortable with the idea of graded work being done from home for years and years. 

Good god, get off your high horse. 

The current circumstances are far from “imperfect.” 

Schools are shut down, daycares are shut down, caregivers (e.g. grandparents) are self-isolating from their families for their own health, many families are now having to survive on a drastically reduced income, there is greater uncertainty as it relates to future employment, the economy is falling, there is a shortage of essential medical supplies, and the list goes on. 
 

I don’t think the major complaint is “my kids are being loud.”

Edited by ottawhat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, ottawhat said:

Good god, get off your high horse. 

The current circumstances are far from “imperfect.” 

Schools are shut down, daycares are shut down, caregivers (e.g. grandparents) are self-isolating from their families for their own health, many families are now having to survive on a drastically reduced income, there is greater uncertainty as it relates to future employment, the economy is falling, there is a shortage of essential medical supplies, and the list goes on. 
 

I don’t think the major complaint is “my kids are being loud.”

Not really sure what most of that has to do with ability to write an exam well. There was a whole thread on this and people’s reasons for why they can’t do a good job on exams was having to care for kids while writing, or having loud roommates. The fact that you’re worried about employment prospects after you graduate is...I think pretty obviously not a reason that having graded exams is unjust. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And again - yeah, having kids around while you write is a bigger challenge than not. Obviously. Most of my colleagues are working from home with kids around - we’re all in this one. It makes good sense to extend exams to 5 hours or some longer period. And if someone gets sick or has to care for a sick parent, then the schools should give them deferrals.

But yeah man. “The economy is bad! Nurses don’t have masks!” Is not a reason you can’t write an exam. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

Not really sure what most of that has to do with ability to write an exam well. There was a whole thread on this and people’s reasons for why they can’t do a good job on exams was having to care for kids while writing, or having loud roommates. The fact that you’re worried about employment prospects after you graduate is...I think pretty obviously not a reason that having graded exams is unjust. 

Because it’s not just about writing the exam. It’s about everything leading up to it too. Not sure if you encountered any equity-barriers (raising children, caregiving, financial crisis, etc.) during your time in law school, but having an affected mental state going into (Especially for an extended period of time like oh, 4-6 weeks in this case) and during an exam can be a real hinderance; one that certainly doesn’t exist for some groups (e.g. 23 year old trust fund baby who has everything paid for by their parents, has their own apartment, etc.). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, ottawhat said:

Because it’s not just about writing the exam. It’s about everything leading up to it too. Not sure if you encountered any equity-barriers (raising children, caregiving, financial crisis, etc.) during your time in law school, but having an affected mental state going into (Especially for an extended period of time like oh, 4-6 weeks in this case) and during an exam can be a real hinderance; one that certainly doesn’t exist for some groups (e.g. 23 year old trust fund baby who has everything paid for by their parents, has their own apartment, etc.). 

My grandfather was hospitalized while I was his primary care giver for three weeks leading up to my 1L exams, died the week before them, and I sat shiva leading up to them. So yeah, a little bit.

  • Like 2
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That’s the breaks, man. If something flowing from the virus is so rough that it grounds a good case for a deferral, the schools should offer you a deferral. But if it’s just “I’m very worried”, that’s not an issue that should push back exams.

Having kids in the house is a pretty good reason to adjust the exam structure. It’s unfair to expect people who are minding children to focus exclusively on an exam for three hours. I’m on board with that. If your parents get sick and are hospitalized, you should get a deferral offer. I’m on board with that. But if it’s just a matter of you don’t think your apartment is the ideal place to work because of roommates or you’re stressed about the economy...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ottawhat said:

Good god, get off your high horse. 

The current circumstances are far from “imperfect.” 

Schools are shut down, daycares are shut down, caregivers (e.g. grandparents) are self-isolating from their families for their own health, many families are now having to survive on a drastically reduced income, there is greater uncertainty as it relates to future employment, the economy is falling, there is a shortage of essential medical supplies, and the list goes on. 
 

I don’t think the major complaint is “my kids are being loud.”

I think this has been said before but the situation for most law students is considerably better than the vast majority of people in the work force. The dreadful impacts on the service industry and the layoffs in other sectors of the economy aside, all professionals I know are still working. They are working remotely the best way they can, and don't have the luxury to make excuses on the basis of "equity barriers". We surely need a measure of perspective here.

Challenges with regards to fair exams that ensure academic integrity are valid, though arguably surmountable.

I personally have not seen one compelling argument for a mandatory P/F system that is imposed on all students. It should have been offered as optional in very restricted circumstances: ie. those students that genuinely faced concerns related to COVID-19 or the quarantine. It seems callous to me to strip so many students of the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities to employers. 
 

I am very curious to see what is in the pipeline in terms of recruitment and wish everyone the very best!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not reviewing student transcripts any more, but if I was I would not be paying any attention to any grades from this semester. The circumstances are too unusual for them to mean anything. As long as you have grades, it means you didn't drop the ball in very difficult times, which is the standard being applied to my work right now too.

Edited by Jaggers
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

I am not reviewing student transcripts any more, but if I was I would not be paying any attention to any grades from this semester. The circumstances are too unusual for them to mean anything. As long as you have grades, it means you didn't drop the ball in very difficult times, which is the standard being applied to my work right now too.

How would you determine which 1Ls to give interviews to? Or propose giving interviews to. What would be the metric you’d pay attention to? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Experience, qualifications, etc. The same thing that everyone other than lawyers look for when they review application?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Jaggers said:

Experience, qualifications, etc. The same thing that everyone other than lawyers look for when they review application?

I thought our qualifications would be law school grades. What else is there?

Experience for sure! Again though, per the other thread, most law students are straight from undergrad, and it seems pretty clear to me that students who didn’t have to pay for their undergrad are likely to have cooler experiences that look more impressive to law firms. Just seems like a recipe for class background to play a much bigger role.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I guess you do have to do some work determining what experience is "cool" vs what experience could help you succeed in a law firm environment. Luckily you don't need to assign anyone to spend time looking at transcripts, so you can focus on that instead. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mean if employers really feel like it works just as well as grades, and that it’s easy enough to tell whose resume looks cool because they got to do an internship or low paying job without worrying about money, or who could get those jobs because of family connections, then it’s really just an argument for abandoning grades and exams altogether.

I just don’t think that’s true. I think removing a metric necessarily increases the weight placed on others. And I knew no shortage of people in law school who didn’t have to worry about their finances and did do UN internships or the like instead of pursuing whatever paid the most to keep debt down. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...