Monday, January 17, 2005

More On SW's Bar Pass Rates

To end the first day of Legal Profession, Prof. Fischer brought the class's attention to SW's 2004 summer bar exam results. He asked the class to email him three suggestions to improve those results or reasons for why the results are so poor, noting that the classes of 2001 and 2002 had pass rates in the 70s.

Now since I've been at SW only since Fall 2003, it's hard for me, or anyone else in my class for that matter, to have an idea of what has gone wrong since the classes of 2001 and 2002. But I for one think some of it may have to do with the grading policy at SW. To illustrate why I believe SW's current grading policy has an adverse effect on some students, I point to a 1L's current dilemma.
What's most upsetting is that I actually enjoyed the class. I kept up with the readings and I thought I had a good handle on the material. I studied. As one of those over-achieving assholes who always did well in school without really trying, I decided law school would be different. I applied myself. And the reward I got was a lousy grade!

So, should I go back to my slacker ways? I think I could do this well with a lot less work. Or should I chalk it up to experience and the fact that I'm still learning exactly what law professors are looking for in an exam? Or should I write it off as one bad test, hardly an estimation of my self-worth, or even my (potential) ability within the practice of law? I dunno. I suppose I should wait and see if this one grade was an anomaly, or an indication of a bad semester.

As shortsighted and wrong as the choice may be, I fear that too many disheartened students decide to go back to their slacker ways for the rest of their law school careers. It results in a graduating class ill-prepared to take the bar and that is why I favor a different grading policy.

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