As we have extensively reported, the top-six schools (Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, NYU, Berkeley) have all moved away from letter grading towards a modified pass/fail system, or are contemplating such a move (Yale and Berkeley have had pass/fail systems for some time).
The University of Chicago Law School, which currently has a grading system that defies rational understanding, is the next logical school to face the growing tide towards grade reform. On Friday, an all faculty meeting took place to discuss the matter.
According to tipsters, one professor discussed the meeting with his class. The professor suggested that the administration felt they had to consider the issue with an eye towards remaining competitive with their peer institutions. The professor then asked the class if they shared those concerns:
Interestingly enough, the professor who mentioned this to us did a straw poll of students (mostly 2Ls) and the vast majority were in favor of staying on our current system. It’s not like anyone knows what our system really is/means, so why change it?
The Dean responds after the jump.
We haven’t received any information directly from faculty members who were actually at the meeting. Whether or not they had the meeting as a direct response to the moves taken by other top schools, University of Chicago Law School Dean Saul Levmore said that the meeting had a much different tenor than the one suggested by our tipsters:
Gee, the opposite is true. A meeting but no interest in the pass/fail-ish system
It sounds like Chicago is prepared to hold the line. It is well established that you need a Captain Crunch decoder ring to understand a UofC Law transcript. But at least their system is their system, not some carbon-copy of other people’s ideas.
Next up: University of Pennsylvania. Are they going to move towards some kind of hippie “pass/tried really hard” system, or does Chicago’s move stop the pedagogical backsliding?