As other law schools laxed grading, U. Chicago Law School passed on 'pass fail'

The University of Chicago Law school refused to let students take advantage of a lax grading system, while other American law schools lowered standards amid the initial clamor of the coronavirus outbreak. University of Chicago Law School Dean Tom Miles informed students via email that there would be no changes to their current grading system for the spring 2020 term. 

Miles added, “We will continue to assess information as it arrives and remain prepared to make a change if warranted.” Miles emphasized the “core values” of the college, including the “seriousness of our education,” and noted that he intended for the law school’s approach to be in line with these values. 

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He went on to explain that because of the school’s unique academic calendar, UCLS was “unusually well situated to rise to the occasion.”

“Unlike most other law schools, next week we will start a new quarter. These classes will start anew rather than having been disrupted as semester-long courses were at other schools, and they come after an opportunity for a break and adjustment,” wrote Miles.

“Our faculty, who are already the best legal educators in the world, have had weeks, not days, to prepare for remote teaching. There are sure to be a few hiccups and stumbles, but I am confident that overall classes will run well in our new system. I am confident in our faculty’s ability to provide excellent teaching as they always do, just as I am confident that all of you will put as much effort into your learning as you always do.”

As Campus Reform previously reported, constitutional law professor Josh Blackman recently wrote an op-ed for Reason, condemning the practice of switching to lax grading policies for future lawyers: “Attorneys have a duty to their clients during crises of all manners; law students should learn that lesson personally...any sort of grading relief should be tailored to address individual circumstances; law schools should not adopt a blanket policy,” said Blackman.

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”If all law schools abolished grades, our weaker students would develop a false sense of security: well, I passed, and didn’t fail, so I must be okay! ... The students at the top and middle of the class will be fine. But the students who would most benefit from getting a bad grade will not receive the help they so need, and deserve,” Blackman added.