Grading

Anonymous Grading
Examinations are graded anonymously. Each student’s exams are identified by a number, which changes each semester. The registrar’s office very carefully protects students’ anonymity, and students are expected to refrain from disclosing information (such as marking an exam “graduating senior” or some other subtle identification) to professors that might identify their exams. A professor does not learn the student name associated with a grade until after the professor has turned in the grades. Professors are not given students’ anonymous numbers. After grades are determined, however, students are given opportunities to discuss examinations with professors.

The Law School Student Records Office safeguards the secrecy of the anonymous numbers by handling the mechanics of matching grades with names.

Grades are distributed to students by the Student Records Office on an announced day after all examinations have ended. Professors do not distribute grades.

Seminars, workshops, oral reports, papers and problems are not under the anonymous grading system, unless the professor so chooses.

Grading System
A student’s work in law school courses and seminars is graded on a numeric scale running from zero to 4.0, which corresponds to the letter grades in the chart below. An anonymous grading system is used.

Law School Grades : Corresponding Letter Grades

4.0 (excellent)	A
3.67       A-
3.33       B+s
3.0        B
2.67       B-
2.33       C+
2.0        C
1.67       C-
1.33       D+
1.0 (unsatisfactory)	D
0.0 (failure)	F

Distribution of Grades
The Law School Faculty has approved the following recommended, voluntary, aspirational norms and ranges for the distribution of grades for students for students graduating after May 2005. This policy is in effect through Spring 2010.

First-Year and Other Required Courses

Grade  	Norm  	Range
A   	4.0    5%    	2.5-5%
A-  	3.67  	7.5%  	7.5-10%
B+  	3.33  	12.5% 	10-15%
B   	3.00  	15%   	12.5-17.5%
B-  	2.67  	20%   	15-25%
C+  	2.33	15%   	12.5-17.5%
C	2.00	12.5% 	10-15%
C-F  	1.67-0 	12.5%  	0-15%

Effective Fall 2010, the Law School faculty approved a mandatory mean of 3.2 for all first-year classes. Recommended distributions are noted below.

Letter Grade  	GPA  	Proposed Distribution Percentages
A 		4.00  	16  15  14  15  15
A- 		3.67  	22  22  21  22  21
B+ 		3.33  	29  29  33  25  31
B 		3.00  	10  12  10  14  11
B- 		2.67  	8   6   6   9   6
C+ 		2.33  	5   5   5   6   5
C		2.00	5   4   5   4   5
C-		1.67	2   2   4   4   3
D+		1.33	1   2   2   1   3
D		1.00	1   2   0   0   0
F 		0.00	1   1   0   0   0

Effective Fall 2009, the Law School faculty approved a mandatory mean of 3.3 for all upper-level classes with more than 12 students. Recommended distributions are noted below.

Letter Grade  	GPA  	Proposed Distribution Percentages
A 		4.00  	15  15  17  16  15
A- 		3.67  	20  20  26  21  25
B+ 		3.33  	27  39  29  30  30
B 		3.00  	28  10  7   13  10
B- 		2.67  	4   5   7   10  10
C+ 		2.33  	2   5   7   10  5
C		2.00	2   5   7   0   5
C-		1.67	2   1   0   0   0
D+		1.33	0   0   0   0   0
D		1.00	0   0   0   0   0
F 		0.00	0   0   0   0   0

Effective Fall 2009, the faculty policy is that no more than one-half of the students in a class with 12 or fewer students may receive As.
The grade of A+ may be assigned to the best paper in each class. Under University of Alabama policy, the A+ is calculated as 4.33, except that a student’s overall gpa may not exceed 4.0.
Instructors in externships, trial advocacy classes, clinics, and other Pass/D/Fail classroom-based skills courses may award up to 1/3 of the students in the course a “High Pass” (HP).
A student’s academic average in the School of Law is computed by first multiplying the grade received in each course by the number of hours in the course, then totaling the figures thus produced for all courses, and dividing by the number of semester hours attempted.

Failing a Course
Should a student fail a course, the dean may require the student to repeat that course. Students must repeat and pass all required classes to graduate. The grade of “I” (incomplete) may be assigned at the law school’s discretion when, for acceptable and approved reasons, a student has been unable to complete the required work for a course or seminar. The award of the “I” instead of 0.0 may be contingent upon completion of the unfinished work, at which time another grade may be assigned, or upon other terms fixed by the School of Law.

Participation Grades
Although it is not the general practice to do so, in courses other than seminars, and after notification to students at the start of the semester, a professor may raise grades by .5 for class participation or lower grades by .5 for lack of participation. In seminars, class participation or lack thereof may not count for more than 50% of the final course grade. In workshops, class participation or lack thereof may be the sole determinant of the grade.
For serious failure on the part of the student to participate in class as required by the professor, the student may be dropped from the course.

High Pass
In certain classes graded on a P/D/F basis, professors may designate up to 33% of the grades as “High Pass.” This option applies to trial advocacy classes, externships, P/D/F law clinics, and appellate advocacy classes. This option is not available for journals, Moot Court classes and competitions, and trial advocacy competition teams, independent studies, and other co-curricular activities that do not involve substantial scheduled classes and coursework.

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