The law school perspective on grading is wrong. At many law schools, professors look at grades as the least important part of their job. Sadly, it’s actually the most important part of their job. Grades are the only thing law students can’t get from an outline. Grades are VASTLY more important to a student’s earning potential than any professorial pontification about black letter law.
Grades should be produced immediately or as soon as is physically possible.
Law school administrations don’t seem to get that. UCLA Law is just the latest example. A tipster reports:
I’m a rising 2L at UCLA Law — we got this email last night saying that our grades weren’t going to be posted until next week. The fact that we won’t know our grades until then seems like something a low-ranked school would do to discourage transfers, but what struck me right away was the rather condescending tone.
The tipster is right. The tone of this email is kind of ridiculous…
This is just the wrong way to lead off an email to rising 2Ls:
Dear Class of 2012 (former 1Ls, now “rising 2Ls”),
Again, congratulations on completing your first year! I hope all of your summers are off to wonderful starts – that you are already rested, receiving positive feedback about how much law you know, and enjoying some precious free time with family and friends, or just sitting by yourself reading a good book that doesn’t have cases in it!
How much law you know? They’re freaking 1Ls, stop blowing smoke up their asses. But, “reading a good book” is a reasonable expectation for one’s 1L summer. It’s not like there are any jobs available.
But the administration wants people to know that professors are hard at work:
Meanwhile, your professors are hunkered down, grading away diligently, valiantly trying not to complain about it.
Dude, nobody feels sorry for professors who are not complaining about doing their jobs:
Some of them have even finished and turned in their grades to us. (No, they’re not posted yet. More on that in a second.) A lot more of the faculty will be spending the next few days and Memorial Day weekend sifting and sorting through your great legal analyses and prose, looking for places to give you more points.
This email is going to give me diabetes.
I’m writing to let you know that we have decided to hold onto all 1L grades until after Memorial Day weekend so we can put as many grades up as possible at one time. This isn’t a question of our convenience, it’s an matter of helping you all preserve your sanity. If you get one grade at a time, it’s too easy to obsess about that one letter, out of context of the total and overall picture. And if you don’t know when grades are going to be posted, it’s too easy to check compulsively at all times of the night and day. We don’t think it’s a good idea to drive yourself crazy doing that. So we will take everything submitted through Tuesday (when we expect a flood of grades) and release it into the URSA universe on Tuesday afternoon. The magic URSA wizards will do their thing overnight and most grades should appear on URSA Wednesday morning. What time? I have no idea. What I do know is that you can and should put it out of your minds until then and enjoy the rest of the week and Memorial Day weekend. Next Wednesday will arrive soon enough. For those of you who don’t want to check then, that’s ok, too. Your choice.
Why can’t they have all of the grades done by Memorial Day? Again, this is the most relevant part of a professor’s job.
Shockingly, our tipster reports that this system is an upgrade over what UCLA did for the fall semester:
FWIW, we received our first semester grades one-by-one as the professors submitted them.
I’ll say this one more time: Professors, get your grading done NOW. You’ve got the whole summer to do nothing/struggle to get tenure so you can do nothing.