Law school adopts mandatory Credit/No Credit policy for spring classes

Media Credit: File Photo by Donna Armstrong | Senior Staff Photographer

Law school students' transcripts will include notation stating that administrators, not students, made the decision to move all classes to a Credit/No Credit scale based on a "public health emergency."

Updated: March 30, 2020 at 11:05 a.m.

Law school students will take all of their spring 2020 courses on a Credit/No Credit grading scale, according to the school’s top official.

Interim Dean Chris Bracey said in an email sent to law students Friday that all classes will be moved to a pass/fail basis, with a notation placed on transcripts indicating that administrators made the decision for public health reasons. Bracey said he made the change – which comes after most undergraduates received the option to take their classes pass/fail – “in the best interest” of law students after consulting students, faculty, staff, employers and alumni.

“This decision has taken into account the perspectives of those throughout the GW Law community, and it is not one arrived at hastily or easily,” he said in the email.

Bracey said this semester’s credit/no credit courses will not count toward the law school’s limits on the number of credit/no credit course hours students can take during their tenure. He added that the “no credit” designation will translate to a D or F on a letter-grade scale.

“Under normal circumstances, letter grades may accurately reflect achievement and merit,” the email states. “Relying upon this measure during a time of uncertainty and unprecedented crisis risks unfairly reflecting arbitrary forces that are outside of our students’ control.”

The move comes as most students prepare to take their second week of courses online to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Law school administrators worked with the Student Bar Association to distribute a survey to law students about their views on a modified pass/fail policy for the semester. Emily Hammond, the law school’s associate dean for academic affairs, reported the survey’s findings at a meeting Wednesday where faculty gave input about grading policies this semester.

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