Examinations and Grading
- Examination Procedures
- Exam Irregularities
- Examination Changes and Out of Sequence Examination Rules
- ADA Student Accommodations and Additional Time for ESL International Students
- Retention and Storage of Exams
- Grading System
- Grade Normalization
- Non-J.D. Student Grading Policy
- Academic Standards for non-J.D. students matriculating Summer Semester 2015 or after
- JD Academic Probation, Dismissal and Readmission Policy
- Bar Passage Program
- Class Attendance and Examinations
- Repetition of Classes
- Anonymous Grading Policy
- Receipt of Grades
- Class Rank Information
- Finality of Grades and Grade Grievance Policy
The Registrar’s Office administers examinations according to the published examination schedule. The examination schedule is organized to create as few examination conflicts as possible according to out-of-sequence rules (see section below, “Examination Changes and Out-of-Sequence Examination Rules”). A tentative final examination schedule with tentative exam days will be published early in each semester. At the end of the semester, during or just before reading week, after details are received from professors, the finalized examination schedule will be published. Students must remain in residence during the period in which they have scheduled exams. Students must arrange their work and personal schedules in order to attend their scheduled exams.
No Early Examinations.
No student can take an examination before the official time scheduled for the examination. This is a policy created by the faculty and administration at the Sturm College of Law. Individual professors do not have discretion to override the policy.
In-Class Examinations with Hand-Written Responses
To the extent some professors still require hand-written responses on their in-class examinations, students must use blue books and scratch paper provided by the Sturm College of Law Registrar’s Office. Students must provide their own writing utensils and/or other equipment required for the examination. If the professor has indicated that students can bring various materials to the examination with them, students have the responsibility to ensure that they have these materials with them before the start of the examination. At the end of the examination, students must return examination questions and submit all of the blue books distributed to them, as well as answer sheets, to the proctor in the examination room. Students may take examinations only in designated rooms as determined by the Registrar’s Office.
Before an In-Class Laptop Examination
Students must download a copy of the approved software for both the midterm and final examination periods each semester. The Registrar’s Office will send an email to all students via the Law School email account when the software is available for download. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure he/she has downloaded the software PRIOR to the start of any examination for which the use of laptop software is permitted. Registrar’s Office staff will not be able to assist students in downloading in the classroom at the beginning of an examination.
After a student downloads the current version of the examination software, the student must perform a practice test. During the practice test, the software checks the computer for security and compatibility issues. Students have the responsibility to resolve any laptop hardware or software problems before taking exams on a laptop.
Student laptops must have the capacity to access the internet in order to download the examination software and to submit answers at the completion of an exam. Students have the responsibility to ensure that they bring a power cord and a fully charged battery.
Examination software can have compatibility problems with new operating systems or older software. The Registrar’s Office will notify students of known compatibility issues.
During an In-Class Laptop Examination
All classroom exams are recorded. Students who take an in-class exam on a laptop have the same amount of space and/or pages as students who write the exam. However, individual professors may issue their own policies with respect to space and page limitations.
Students must mute computer speakers during the examination period.
Students may use earplugs during exams but may not bring headphones or electronic media devices players to the exam. Students must also turn off their cellphones and store cellphones somewhere other than their person during examinations.
Students are not permitted to wear smart watches during the exam.
During laptop examinations, the software automatically saves the exam answer to the laptop hard drive every few seconds. The Registrar staff can assist with recovery of the encrypted examination answers in the event of a computer failure. If a student’s laptop fails during an examination, the student must immediately notify the proctor and proceed to the Registrar’s Office with his/her laptop and examination materials. If possible, the Registrar’s Office will print the answers the student has already typed and provide the student with a loaner laptop. The Registrar’s Office will then place the student in a “triage” classroom or study room for the remainder of the examination. It is the responsibility of the student to address any laptop issues prior to the start of the next examination period.
At the end of the exam, students must submit exam answers electronically. The Registrar’s Office will not confirm receipt of individual exams unless the student receives an error message while submitting an exam answer. If the laptop does not connect to the network during submission, an error message will appear. If a student receives such an error message, the student must immediately notify the proctor and bring the laptop to the Registrar’s Office where the staff will retrieve the exam via a USB drive. Students are responsible for ensuring exam answers are submitted at the conclusion of each exam.
After the In-Class Laptop Examination
Students MUST return exam questions to the proctor. The Registrar will print laptop exam answers within two business days. If the Registrar encounters any difficulty printing an examination answer, the Registrar will notify the student and retrieve a back-up copy of the answers from the encrypted copy on the student’s computer.
- Online Exams
Links to all take-home exams identified as “online” on the registrar’s exam schedule can be found in one location: https://www.exam4.com/org/600.
On this page, links are organized by professor and course. Clicking a link will lead to an index page for that exam which will contain links to the pages to pick up and submit the exam, as well as a short form to check the time the exam is due.
If general computer problems arise on the computer to be used for exams, students experiencing these problems should consult with the University Technology Services help desk ahead of time to resolve those problems.
Unless specifically directed otherwise, students should not communicate with each other after the start of the exam. Students should not communicate directly with professors after the exam starts. Students should NEVER communicate exam numbers to professors. Questions regarding exam format specifics can be routed through the Registrar’s Office. If students experience problems – technical or otherwise – that they feel may have affected the examination answer or the time allotted for an exam, students must contact the Registrar as soon as possible so that the issue may be documented.
Be vigilant about backing up examination answer documents during the exam. Students may use a USB drive or other storage device to make a copy of the examination answer frequently. This will serve as a backup in case of a system failure.
Students concerned about possible difficulties with the online examination process should plan to take their examinations during the Registrar’s Office’s business hours. During those hours, Registrar’s Office staff will be available to assist them.
Students must use word processing software header or footer options to make sure that their exam number appears on EVERY page of the actual exam answer. If the Registrar’s Office receives an examination answer without the exam number on every page, the staff may request that the student edit the document to provide the exam number on each page of the answer.
Students should upload only MS Word or PDF documents.
- Contact Information
If a student encounters any irregularity or extenuating circumstances during an examination that interferes with the examination process, the student must immediately report the circumstances to the exam proctor or Registrar’s Office. Such circumstances include, without limitation, an illness or a disruptive incident in the examination room. If a student fails to immediately bring such circumstances to the attention of the Registrar’s Office, the student cannot later appeal the examination result based on the unreported circumstances.
Once a student who has begun an exam leaves that exam for any reason (including illness) before the end of the exam administration, the student may not be allowed to resume taking the exam.
Examination Changes and Out-of-Sequence Rules
All students must take their examinations on the officially designated date and time at the officially designated place. Students should consult the examination schedule on the exams page each semester for examination times and rooms. Examination times and rooms are not necessarily the same as the time and room of the class during the regular semester.
Students must also arrange their work and personal schedules so that they can attend their scheduled examinations. If an examination must be rescheduled due to an emergency (weather, technology, etc.) the Registrar’s Office will make every effort to schedule the make-up examination during the normal examination period. For this reason, students must plan to remain in residence during the entire period in which they have scheduled examinations.
No student may take an examination before the examination’s officially scheduled date and/or time. This policy may not be overridden by individual professors. A student, however, may request permission to take an examination out-of-sequence after the date and time of the original exam for the following reasons:
1) The student has two (2) in-class or 24-hour take-home examinations scheduled on the same calendar day, or
2) The student has three (3) in-class examinations or 24-hour take-home examinations scheduled on three (3) consecutive calendar days, or
3) The student has a conflicting academic obligation that cannot be rescheduled (e.g. moot court competition, clinic court appearance, etc.)
4) The student has serious medical reasons verified in writing by appropriate medical personnel, or
5) The student has a personal emergency supported by documentation.
For exam scheduling purposes, “calendar day” is defined as 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM on a single calendar day. For example, if a student has two in-class, two 24-hour take-home or one in-class and one 24-hour take-home that are both on Monday, the student could petition to reschedule one of the exams. If a student has one exam on Monday and one exam on Tuesday, the exams would not qualify for rescheduling as they are not on the same calendar day. Papers, projects and take-home or online exams with multiple-day availability do not qualify for rescheduling.
Examinations Rescheduled for Reasons One (1), Two (2), or Three (3):
Students who seek to change an examination time for reasons one (1), two (2), or three (3) above must seek permission via the out-of-sequence petition form available here. If a student requests an out-of-sequence examination based on an in-class and take-home exam, the Registrar’s Office will reschedule the examination as follows: (a) in-class exams take priority - the online exam will be rescheduled; (b) if both exams are in-class or online, the exam that is scheduled second in time will be rescheduled. All exams will be rescheduled for a day and time closest to the originally scheduled exam that does not cause a subsequent out-of-sequence exam issue.
Examinations Rescheduled for Reasons Four (4) and Five (5) Above:
Students who seek to change an examination time for reason three (3) or four (4) above must seek permission from the Associate Dean for Student Affairs by filing a general petition form at http://www.law.du.edu/forms/petitions/. Personal emergencies do not include work-related responsibilities, but rather contemplate such events as a death in the family, or emergency medical situations that involve the student or family dependents. A student who seeks a rescheduled examination for reasons three (3) or four (4) must file a petition as soon as the medical situation arises or as soon as the student discovers the personal emergency. Students may be asked to provide additional information or forms to document the request.
Students who receive permission to reschedule an examination for reasons four (4) or five (5) must complete the examination as soon as possible and preferably within the normal examination period for the particular semester. In no event may a student reschedule an examination after the beginning of the next semester. Once permission has been received from the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the student should immediately submit and Out-of-Sequence Exam Request (available at http://www.law.du.edu/forms/registrar/out-of-sequence.cfm)
A general petition must be filed with the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for any reason other than those listed above.
A student with documented disabilities must first request accommodations through the University of Denver Disability Services Program (DSP). DSP reviews and approves all documentation and accommodations. Students can find the DSP handbook and forms at https://www.du.edu/studentlife/disability-services/index.html
Students who receive accommodations should meet with a staff member in the Office of Student Affairs at the beginning of the academic year, or upon discovery of the disability, to discuss how their accommodations are administered in the law school needed accommodations.
Once approved, students must complete an Exam Accommodation Form at least one week prior to a student’s midterm and/or at least one week prior to the start of the final exam period. Students can find the form online here. A student must complete and submit this form to the Student Affairs Office during each semester in which the student requests an exam accommodation.
For those approved for 50% additional time:
- If the exam is 1-12 hours, the student will receive 50% more time (time and a half)
- If the exam is 13-48 hours, the student will receive 25% more time (time and a quarter)
- If the exam is 49+ hours, no extended time will be granted
For those approved for 100% additional time:
- If the exam is 1-12 hours, the student will receive 100% more time (double time)
- If the exam is 13-48 hours, the student will receive 50% more time (time and a half)
- If the exam is 49-72 hours, the student will receive 25% more time (time and a quarter).
- If the exam is 73+ hours, no extended time will be granted
- Additional Time for ESL Students (Effective Summer 2016)
Juris Doctor (JD) Students
No additional time is available for JD students.
Non-JD students for whom English is a second language may petition the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for additional time and/or the use of a non-legal English translation dictionary for midterm and final exams. To complete the petition, please visit the Office of Student Affairs (Suite 115).
Once approved for additional time, students must complete an Exam Accommodation Form at least one week prior to a student’s midterm and/or at least one week prior to the start of the final exam period. Students can find the form online here. A student must complete and submit this form to the Student Affairs Office during each semester in which the student requests additional time.
The Assistant Dean in his or her discretion may grant the following:
- Additional twenty (20) minutes per hour on examinations and/or the use of a non-legal translation dictionary.
No additional time is available for papers, oral presentations, or take-home examinations whose original length is greater than ten (10) hours.
Students receiving additional time for ADA or ESL accommodations will be notified via DU Law e-mail of the time, date, and location for each midterm or final examination. Unless students have specific ADA accommodations for a separate room, study rooms and designated classrooms are considered limited distraction environments. The Student Affairs Office may place more than one student in a suitably sized room.
Retention and Storage of Exams
The Registrar’s Office will retain student exam answer documents for one year following the completion of the course. Faculty members have the option to retain these materials for one year, as well. Exam review takes place in Suite 444 the first two weeks of each semester. Students may review each exam once for no more than 30 minutes and must follow the rules for review set forth by the professor. The Registrar’s Office will publish a list of which exams have been received for review on the grading page at: www.law.du.edu/law-registrar/grade-information.
The Sturm College of Law employs a letter grade system of A-F. The grades issued in all required courses must have a median of 3.3 and a mean between 3.15 and 3.45. The grades issued in all non-required courses with an enrollment of more than ten students must substantially conform to this mandatory curve. Substantial conformity means that grades cannot deviate more than 0.1 from the mandatory median and mean. If the grades issued in a course of more than 10 students substantially deviate from the mandatory curve, the professor must provide the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (“Associate Dean”) with adequate justification for the deviation. The Associate Dean shall make the final determination of whether an adequate justification exists for the substantial deviation. If the Associate Dean determines that adequate justification does not exist, the professor, the Associate Dean, or the Registrar shall reconfigure the grades.
The law school uses letter grades to calculate grade point averages in a four-point numerical system. Letter grades have the following numerical values:
A limited number of courses receive pass/no pass grades. When the student receives a passing grade, P, the student has performed at a standard consistent with a grade of C or better. A no pass grade, NP, indicates unacceptable performance and will not count toward the graduation credit hour requirement. Pass and no pass grades do not factor into the student’s cumulative law school grade point average.
The normalized grade range for required classes will be a median of 3.3 and a mean between 3.15 and 3.45. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will conduct normalization procedures after notification to the professor involved that the median and mean fall outside of the required range. The professor shall have two working days from the date of notification by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to make adjustments and to resubmit final grades.
If no agreement can be reached in which the median is 3.3 and the mean falls between 3.15 and 3.45, then normalization will occur in the following manner:
- The Associate Dean will add the same number of points to, or subtract the same number of points from, each submitted grade to ensure that the median reaches 3.3 and the mean falls between 3.15 and 3.45;
- No student who originally received a passing grade will receive a failing grade after normalization;
- If, statistically and technically, the median cannot reach 3.3 and the mean cannot fall between 3.15 to 3.45, the Examinations, Standing, and Readmission Committee will take immediate jurisdiction over the matter and submit a final non-appealable decision after an expedited review.
- For classes with ten or fewer students, the faculty policy strongly encourages that all grades fall within the established median of 3.3 and the mandatory mean of 3.15 to 3.45.
Non-J.D. Student Grading Policy
All non-J.D. students (international and domestic LLMs, MLS – General and Major in ENRLP – formerly MRLS, MT, MSLA, Special Status and those coming from other units for transfer credit) are graded separately from J.D. students when enrolled in courses that are part of the J.D. curriculum. Faculty will evaluate the work of non-J.D. students independently from the work of the J.D. students in the same class. Faculty may decide upon the evaluation methods appropriate for each course for the non-J.D. students.
The Sturm College of Law employs a letter grade system of A-F. If there are more than 10 non-J.D. students in a course, the grades issued to those students, evaluated independently of the J.D. students, must have a mean between 3.4 and 3.6. If the grades issued in a course for a group of more than 10 non-J.D. students substantially deviate from the mandatory curve the professor must provide the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (“Associate Dean”) with adequate justification for the deviation. The Associate Dean shall make the final determination of whether an adequate justification exists for the substantial deviation. If the Associate Dean determines that adequate justification does not exist, the professor, the Associate Dean, or the Registrar shall reconfigure the grades.
Note: The current J.D. grading policy applies to the remaining J.D. students in a course with a combined J.D. and non-J.D. student populations; specifically, grading is subject to current mean/median range if there are more than 10 remaining J.D. students. Dual JD/LLM students are graded in accordance with the JD Program guidelines.
Academic Standards for non-J.D. students matriculating Summer Semester 2015 or after:
A student must achieve at least a 2.7 cumulative grade point average to graduate from the Sturm College of Law with any degree other than a J.D. degree. The Sturm College of Law will not graduate, and will dismiss, students who have satisfied the course requirements for graduation in non-J.D. program but have not maintained the required minimum 2.7 cumulative grade point average.
The summer semester is considered a “regular term” for purposes of evaluating satisfactory progress toward good standing.
Non-JD Academic Probation and Dismissal
A non-J.D. student who falls below 2.7 cumulative GPA after the first 9 semester credits will be issued a written warning regarding academic performance. The student’s academic progress will be monitored closely (but with no impact on merit-based aid). If the student’s GPA remains below 2.7 after 18 semester credits the student will be put on probation with an official probation letter on file and merit-based scholarships will be suspended.
A student may elect to take courses that will bring the total credits to over 24 but not more than 27 in order to remedy the deficiency and reach good academic standing (and be eligible to graduate, if enrolled in a program with a 24 credit requirement).
If a student maintains a cumulative GPA of below 2.7 during the probationary period in the immediately subsequent semester, the student will be dismissed.
If a student is dismissed and readmitted, a student cannot take more than 6 credits over the minimum program requirement to bring the cumulative GPA to 2.7; for a 24 credit program the maximum number of credits is limited to 30; for a 30 credit program limited to 36; for a 36 credit program limit is 42.
JD Academic Probation, Dismissal and Readmission Policy
A student must achieve at least a 2.3 cumulative grade point average to graduate from the Sturm College of Law. The Sturm College of Law will not graduate, and will dismiss, students who have satisfied the course requirements for graduation but have not maintained the required minimum 2.3 cumulative grade point average.
If a student does not achieve the required 2.3 cumulative grade point average in their final term, but has otherwise completed the requirements for graduation, they will receive notification that their graduation has been delayed. Students will then have 30 days from receipt of that notification to petition the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs to enroll in no more than 6 additional semester credit hours to raise their GPA. The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs will grant the petition unless it would be numerically impossible for the student to achieve the required GPA after completion of the additional 6 credits.
All relevant deadlines related to time limits to completion of the degree and adding and dropping classes will apply. As such, if the student intends to register for the term immediately following that of intended graduation, the petition must be received no later than 7 days before the end of the add/drop period for the semester for which they intend to enroll, even if that date falls before the end of the 30 days for petition to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The student must receive approval for the additional courses from either the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs or the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.
A student in this situation will not be subject to the probation requirements applied to students who have not yet satisfied the course requirements for graduation. All other Sturm College of Law and University of Denver policies apply, for example rules and policies regarding leaves and absences, and time limits for completion of degrees. Students should be aware that they may not be eligible for financial aid and may want to consult with the Director of Student Financial Management at the Sturm College of Law. This section applies only to students who have fallen below a cumulative grade point average of 2.3 during their last semester before intended graduation but have otherwise completed all requirements for graduation. All other students are governed by the SCOL’s general probation and dismissal policies.
Students who do not achieve a cumulative grade point average of 2.3 after completion of these additional 6 credits will not graduate and will be dismissed.
All students who enter the Sturm College of Law must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.3 to remain in good standing. The Sturm College of Law will place on probation any student whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.3 in any semester.
Students on probation can continue in law school provided they make satisfactory progress toward good standing as described below. Any student readmitted to law school after dismissal remains on academic probation pursuant to the academic probation rules above.
Conditions of Academic Probation
The following restrictions apply to all students on academic probation:
- 1. The student may not participate as an elected officer or devote substantial work to any student activity or faculty committee without the written approval of the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.
- 2. The student must register for and complete a normal academic credit load each subsequent semester while on probation, which requires 12 credit hours per semester for full-time students and 8 credit hours per semester for part-time division students.
- 3. During fall or spring semester, the student may not enroll in seminars, directed research projects, clinics, externships, courses offered outside the Sturm College of Law curriculum, or courses graded by a different method than the usual letter grade system. Simulation courses and clinics consist of educational experiences in which students perform lawyering skills and faculty base all or part of the grade on observation and assessment of student skill performances.
- 4. To maintain eligibility to continue in law school while on probation, the student must actively participate in the Academic Achievement Program.
- 5. The student also must meet with, and secure approval from, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs with respect to the student’s proposed academic schedule each semester.
6. A student placed on probation during any semester has two subsequent consecutive semesters in which to achieve a good standing GPA of 2.3. During the first of these two semesters, however, a student on probation must make satisfactory progress toward good standing as follows: the student must raise their cumulative GPA by one-half the difference between the student’s cumulative GPA and a 2.3 cumulative GPA.
During the second of these two consecutive semesters, the student who remains on probation must raise their cumulative GPA to 2.3 or above. Failure of the probationary student to secure the required progress in either of the two consecutive semesters described above results in dismissal from law school.
Summer terms are not considered “semesters” for purposes of satisfactory progress toward good standing. As a consequence the SCOL does not include summer grades in a student’s cumulative GPA for probation purposes until the end of the subsequent Fall semester.
- Conditions of Academic Probation
All students who enter the Sturm College of Law must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0, including the first semester of their first year.
The Sturm College of Law will dismiss any student whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.0 at the end of any Fall or Spring semester, including the first semester of law school. Ordinarily the SCOL will not readmit dismissed students. For the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years only, the Sturm College of Law will dismiss any student whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.0 at the end of any Fall or Spring semester only after the student has completed two semesters of course work, on either a full or part-time basis.
Readmission Policy Applicable to All Students
On rare, exceptional occasions, the College of Law may readmit a dismissed student. Readmission is a faculty decision of the Examinations, Standing, and Readmission Committee. Because readmission is rare, the SCOL advises dismissed students to make alternative educational and career plans.
The faculty of the College of Law has established minimum academic standards. A student who fails to achieve those standards has no entitlement or right to continue her or his legal studies. A dismissed student bears the burden of proving to the Examinations, Standing, and Readmission Committee that they merit readmission. Such a student must present clear and convincing evidence of good cause for readmission by establishing that:
- The student’s prior academic deficiency does not indicate the student’s inability to study law successfully; and
The reasons for the prior academic deficiency no longer exist, and the student, if readmitted, likely will graduate from the law school.
Students should note that, initially, the best evidence of 1 and 2 above ordinarily will consist of the student’s prior academic record in law school. To complete the College of Law’s education program, a student, if readmitted, must prove the ability to achieve grades that meet or exceed the 2.3 cumulative GPA required for good standing.
Mere identification of the reasons that a student failed to succeed accompanied by an argument that the student can perform better if readmitted will never be a sufficient basis for readmission.
The SCOL will dismiss third or fourth year students who have satisfied the credit hours and course requirements for graduation but have failed to achieve the minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.3. Only under extremely extenuating circumstance will the Committee readmit such students to law school.
Petitions for Readmission
A dismissed student may file a Petition for readmission at any time. However, the Examination, Standing, and Readmission Committee normally considers such petitions only during July. Students whose petitions the Committee denies may submit new petitions once per year. Students who seek readmission should consult the Assistant Dean of Students and obtain all information needed to file a petition with the Examination and Standing Committee.
The petitioner must email the petition as a single .pdf file including all exhibits to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. The petitioner shall address the petition to the Chair of the Examinations, Standing, and Readmission Committee.
The petition shall include:
- The student’s name, Banner ID, and contact information including email address;
- The student’s transcript;
- Supporting exhibits such as transcripts of other academic work, legal writing samples, letters of recommendation from persons who know the student’s academic potential;
- Medical records including evidence of treatment if medical reasons support the petition for readmission; and
- Any other documents.
Students should type the single-spaced Petition for Readmission on 8 1/2 × 11 inch paper. The Petition must contain the information set forth in the sample.
The Committee does not allow personal appearances before the Committee. The student must set forth all reasons and information in support of readmission in the petition and the attached exhibits.
The faculty members of the Committee review the petition and vote to grant or deny the relief requested. The Committee will notify the student of the readmission decision by email. Students cannot appeal the decision of the Committee except to the Dean of the College of Law. The Dean may reverse the Committee’s decision only if the facts clearly indicate that the record did not reasonably support the Committee’s decision.
Conditions Imposed on Readmission
The Examination and Standing Committee will impose appropriate limitations or special conditions on every readmitted student. All readmitted students remain on probation and must comply with all of the conditions imposed on all probationary students. A readmitted student must give priority to repeating any required course in which the student received an F.
The Committee may require a readmitted student to repeat all coursework. The Committee may also readmit a student with standing, which grants the student credit for completed coursework.
The SCOL includes all law school grades, including F’s, in the calculation of a student’s cumulative GPA. Readmitted students who repeat the entire first year provide the only exception to this policy. For these students all grades will appear on the students’ transcripts, but only the grades the student earns after readmission will determine their cumulative grade point average for purposes of ranking.
Bar Passage Program
The Sturm College of Law (SCOL) has implemented a Bar Passage Program to help JD students improve academic performance and achieve success on the bar exam. As identified below, the particular requirements are based upon academic performance on three markers: (1) cumulative grades at the completion of the first semester at the SCOL; (2) cumulative grades at the completion of the first two semesters at the SCOL; and (3) cumulative grades at the completion of the fourth semester at the SCOL.
Bar Passage Requirements Based upon GPA at the Completion of First Semester:
- Any student with a GPA of 3.0 or below at the end of the first (1) semester of attendance at the SCOL, must meet with the Director of the Academic Achievement Program (or the dean’s designee) early in the spring semester of the first year of law school. At this meeting the student and the Director of the Academic Achievement Program (or the dean’s designee) will perform a diagnostic review to determine reasons for the student’s GPA and develop an individualized program designed to address issues identified.
Bar Passage Requirements Based upon GPA at the Completion of the First Two Semesters:
- Any student with a GPA of 3.0 or lower at the end of the first two (2) semesters of attendance at the SCOL must take Intermediate Legal Analysis (2L legal analysis course) in the first subsequent semester it is offered. Successful completion of this course is a requirement for graduation.
- In addition, any student with a GPA of 3.0 or below at the end of the first two (2) semesters of attendance at the SCOL must take Legal Analysis Strategies (3L/4L bar preparation course) in the final semester prior to graduation.
- The student also must meet with, and secure approval from, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs with respect to the student’s proposed academic schedule each semester.
Bar Passage Requirements Based upon GPA at the Completion of the First Four Semesters:
- Any student with a GPA of 3.0 or below at the end of four (4) semesters of attendance at the SCOL must meet with the Director of the Bar Passage Program (or the dean’s designee). At this meeting the student and the Director of the Bar Passage Program (or the dean’s designee) will perform a diagnostic review to determine reasons for the student’s GPA and develop an individualized program designed to address issues identified.
- Furthermore, any student with a GPA of 3.0 or below at the end of the first four (4) semesters of attendance at the SCOL must take Legal Analysis Strategies (3L/4L bar preparation course) in the final semester prior to graduation.
- The student also must meet with, and secure approval from, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs with respect to the student’s proposed academic schedule each semester.
Class Attendance and Examinations
Adequate student learning requires consistent class attendance. The SCOL requires all professors and adjunct professors to set a firm attendance policy. Each faculty member must make their attendance policy known to their students at or before the first day of class. A professor may refuse to allow a student to take a final examination or submit a final paper if that student has failed to attend 20% or more of the total class meetings for the semester. If the professor imposes this rule and does not allow the student to take a final exam or submit a final paper, the student receives a grade of “F” in the course.
Part-Time students in the Weekend format: a professor may refuse to allow a student to take a final examination or submit a final paper if that student has missed more than one class meeting per course.
The Sturm College of Law does not recognize a grade designation of “Incomplete.” A student who drops a course without official permission, fails to take an examination, or fails to timely complete the required coursework, receives a grade of “F” for that class.
Repetition of Failed Classes
A student must repeat any required course in which the student obtained a grade of “F.” Students may elect to repeat any non-required course in which they received a grade of “F.” Students may not repeat a course for which they received a passing grade. Whenever a student repeats a course, the Registrar must record both grades on the student’s transcript and will use both grades to compute a student’s grade point average. A readmitted student who repeats the entire first year represents an exception to this policy.
Anonymous Grading Policy
The Sturm College of Law employs an anonymous grading system. The SCOL requires anonymous grading whenever the grade for the entire course, seminar, or exercise rests on a written examination. However, in other situations, such as faculty supervised student research, writing seminars, classroom participation credit, writing exercises, skills training, and performance courses, professors have no obligation to anonymously evaluate a student.
Whenever a professor anonymously grades any part of the course, the professor must maintain anonymity with respect to that part of the grade until the Registrar records final grades. Students who seek to discuss their performance on an examination should not contact the professor until the Registrar records the professor’s final grades.
The Registrar shall issue a final examination number to each student each semester. A student must use that number for all final examinations. The Registrar’s Office will also issue a different examination number for all scheduled mid-term examinations. The Registrar keeps all examination numbers confidential. Students have the responsibility to keep their examination numbers confidential and know their numbers at all examinations.
Receipt of Grades
The Registrar’s Office cannot release information with respect to grades. The Registrar will post grades to PioneerWeb as soon as possible after their receipt.
Class Rank Information
The Registrar’s Office begins calculating ranking after the receipt of the last classroom grades for spring semester each year. Collecting information and the process for computing ranking may take several weeks. Please note that the honorary society, the Order of the Coif, recognizes students whose cumulative grade point average are within the top 10% of all students who graduate within each academic year, but the Order of the Coif does not constitute an official class ranking.
Finality of Grades and Grade Grievance Policy
College of Law grades are final. The faculty do not have the authority to change grades. Students may neither argue for nor bargain for higher grades.
Computational errors are the sole exception to the policy that grades are final. If a faculty member adds 10 + 10 and gets 15, for example, then the faculty member may and indeed should change the student’s grade if the correct computation would have yielded a higher grade. Students should contact the faculty member concerning computational errors.
A faculty member may not change a grade in response to a student’s argument that a particular portion of an exam should have received more points. A matter of judgment is not a computational error.
- Grade Appeals to the Examinations, Standing, and Readmission
For very narrow reasons, a student who believes that a faculty member has unfairly assigned a grade may file a grade appeal with the Examinations, Standing, and Readmission Committee. The reasons that a student may file a grade petition are:
- The petitioner identified a computational error and the faculty member declined to grant relief, or the faculty member did not respond to the student’s identification of the error within two months.
- The grade received resulted from the bias or prejudice of the professor against the student. If the student received the grade in a course graded anonymously, in whole or in part, and the claim of bias or prejudice relates to the anonymously graded portion of the class, the student must also provide evidence of a breach of anonymity in the anonymously graded portion of the class.
- The conditions or circumstances under which the student took the examination effectively prevented the student from communication of his or her answers. Any student alleging technical difficulties with exam-related software must demonstrate that he or she took advantage of the opportunity in advance of the examination period to practice with the software.
- The student clearly and unequivocally establishes that the grade bears no reasonable relationship to accepted and reasonable grading standards.
The Committee will never substitute the Committee’s judgment for the good faith professional judgment of faculty member.
- A student may initiate a grade appeal by emailing a petition to the Registrar’s Office. The petition must consist of a single .pdf file that includes all attachments. The student must file such a petition within three months after the Registrar has posted the final grade.
A student shall address the petition to the Chair of the Examinations, Standing, and Readmission Committee, and the petition shall include:
- The student’s name, Banner ID, and contact information including email address;
- The student’s transcript;
- The name, year, semester, and professor for the course;
- The date the Registrar posted the grade the student is appealing;
- A concise explanation including evidence why the student believes his or her appeals falls into the narrow set of reasons for grade appeals; and
- The grade to which the student believes he or she is entitled.
Examinations, Standing, and Readmission Committee Review of the Petition
In response to a petition, the Committee may:
- Decide, after due deliberation, that the petition fails to state a claim, in which case the Committee shall email its written decision to the student. The student may appeal such a decision to the Dean of Sturm College of Law.
- Decide, after due deliberation, that the petition merits further inquiry. In such case the Committee shall notify, in writing, the faculty member whose grade the student has challenged and shall invite the professor to submit a written response to the petition within a reasonable period of time set by the Committee. The Committee may request the petitioner or any other person to provide any documents or information that the Committee considers useful to determine the merits of the petition. Ordinarily the Committee shall make a decision based upon written submissions. In very rare circumstances, the Committee may decide that special circumstances require a hearing. The Committee shall judge the relevance and materiality of all evidence and the Committee need not conform to the Colorado or federal rules. The Committee may reasonably limit the time for oral presentations. The Committee then shall make a decision based upon the available evidence.
The Committee will make every reasonable effort to review and issue a written response within three months after the student files the petition.
As part of their teaching methodology, a very few faculty members have innovated with a procedure that allows students to challenge grades on individual assignments and exams. Faculty members who adopt this approach must make their grading policy known to all students at the beginning of the semester and must preserve anonymity throughout the grading and re-evaluation process. Individual faculty members manage this process with no participation by the Registrar or the Examinations, Standing, and Readmission Committee.
The Committee and the Dean shall liberally construe these rules to serve the just, speedy, and fair resolution of every petition.