Grading Policy

WVU College of Law Grading Policy

Adopted by the College of Law Faculty – May 8, 2014
Amended (added Section F) – Sept. 24, 2014
Interpretive Language in section G adopted Aug. 26, 2015


I. FIRST YEAR CURVE

A. Curve for First-Year Doctrinal Classes

Mandatory Mean Grade: 2.95 to 3.05

Mandatory Distribution Requirements:

  • 5 – 10% of the grades must be A (including A+, which should be rare)
  • 5 – 15% of the grades must be A-
  • 15 – 25% of the grades must be C+ or below

B. Curve for LRRW I and II

Mandatory Mean Grade: 2.95 to 3.05

Expected Distribution Requirements:

  • 5 – 10% of the grades should be A (including A+, which should be rare)
  • 5 – 15% of the grades should be A-
  • 15 – 25% of the grades should be C+ or below

C. Intro to Legal Research

The 1-credit “Intro to Legal Research” course will not be subject to any curve.

II. UPPER CLASS CURVE

A. Curve for Classes of 30 or more students
(This curve does not apply to clinics, Trial Advocacy and other capstone courses, seminars, or graded study abroad classes. Section II.D below governs these classes.)

Mandatory Mean Grade: 3.15 to 3.25

Expected Distribution Requirements:

  • 5 – 15% of the grades should be A (including A+, which should be rare)
  • 10 – 15% of the grades should be A-
  • 5 – 15% of the grades should be C+ or below

B. Curve for Classes of 11 to 29 students
(This curve does not apply to clinics, Trial Advocacy and other capstone courses, seminars, or graded study abroad classes. Section II.D below governs these classes.)

Mandatory Mean Grade: 3.10 to 3.30

Expected Distribution Requirements:

  • 5 – 20% of the grades should be A (including A+, which should be rare)
  • 10 – 20% of the grades should be A-
  • 5 – 20% of the grades should be C+ or below

C. Curve for Classes with 10 or Fewer Students
(This curve does not apply to clinics, Trial Advocacy and other capstone courses, seminars, or graded study abroad classes. Section II.D below governs these classes.)

For classes this small, mean and distribution requirements are recommended rather than mandatory.

Recommended Mean Grade: 3.10 to 3.30

Recommended Distribution Requirements:

  • 5 – 20% of the grades should be A (including A+, which should be rare)
  • 10 – 20% of the grades should be A-
  • 5 – 20% of the grades should be C+ or below

D. Curve for Clinics, Trial Advocacy and other Capstone Courses, Seminars, and Graded Study Abroad Classes
(This curve governs the class types listed in the heading. If a class falling into one of these categories has 10 or fewer students, the mandatory mean grade range is recommended, but not required.)

Classes with 11 or More Students

Mandatory Mean Grade: 3.10 to 3.50

Expected Distribution Requirements:

  • 5 – 20% of the grades should be A (including A+, which should be rare)
  • 10 – 20% of the grades should be A-

Classes with 10 or Fewer Students

Recommended Mean Grade: 3.10 to 3.50

Recommended Distribution Requirements:

  • 5 – 20% of the grades should be A (including A+, which should be rare)
  • 10 – 20% of the grades should be A-

E. Determination of Class Enrollment for Purposes of the Upper Class Curve
As slightly different curves apply to upper level classes depending on enrollment, there needs to be a set day on which a class’s official enrollment is determined for purposes of the grading policy. The official enrollment for a class will be the enrollment at midnight on the final day of classes for the term.

F. LL.M. Students
In classes with only LL.M. students, the relevant section of the Upper-Class Curve (II.A-D) will apply. For example, grading in an LL.M. seminar will be governed by Section II.D.

For upper-level classes containing both LL.M. students and J.D. students, each set of students will be treated as a separate cohort for purposes of the grading policy. J.D. class enrollment will be determined by the number of J.D. students in the class, and the relevant section of the upper-class curve will apply to the J.D. students considered as a group. LL.M. enrollment will be determined by the number of LL.M. students in the class, and the relevant section of the upper-class curve will apply to the LL.M. students considered as a group.

Example 1
Energy Law has an enrollment of 32 J.D. students and 12 LL.M. students. The grades for J.D. students must conform to Section II.A; the grades for LL.M. students must conform to section II.B.

Example 2
Energy Law has an enrollment of 25 J.D. students and 8 LL.M. students. The grades for J.D. students must conform to Section II.B; the grades for LL.M. students must conform to section II.C.

G. Default F Grades: No Effect on Curve

This policy is intended to apply only to grades that a professor has given as the result of assessed work in the course and not to “F” grades that have been given as a result of a failure of a student to complete the requirements of the course.

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