How grades are computed


The syllabus indicates:

“As a seminar course, there will be no final examination. Instead, you will be evaluated on thesis statement & outline/preliminary source listing (5%), first draft (25%), final draft (45%), and class participation (25%). Your score for class participation will take into consideration a number of factors, including: regularity and quality of preparation and discussion; providing peer review of classmates’ drafts; presenting your own paper; and regular class attendance.”


Here is further guidance on how each part of each student’s score is computed:

 Student work product % of grade How computed
Topic statement N/A N/A
Thesis/outline/sources 5%
Thesis statement      33%
Outline 33%
Source listing  33%
First draft 25%
Writing 33%
& analysis
& attribution
Bluebooking 6%
Final draft 45%
Writing 25%
& analysis
& attribution
Bluebooking 25%
Participation 25%
Attendance 20%
Harkness  30%
Presentation 30%
Oral peer 10%
Written peer 10%

What individual scores mean 

I score everything using numbers from 0 to 4.5. When scoring individual items, a score of 3.0 is roughly a B and a score of 4.0 is an roughly an A. Although St. Thomas Law does not issue grades of A+, I internally grade up to a 4.5, which would indicate A+ quality work. See below.

Rough Letter grade Value
A+ 4.50
A+/A 4.25
A 4.00
A- 3.75
B+ 3.50
B+/B 3.25
B 3.00
B- 2.75
C+ 2.50
C+/C 2.25
C 2.00
C/C- 1.75
C- 1.50
C-/D 1.25
D 1.00
D/D- 0.75
D- 0.50
D-/F 0.25
F 0.00

I use these numbers to compute the scores of each portion of each piece of student work, and use those numbers together as noted above. Those numbers are used to compute your final bottom-line score for the course, from which I will compute letter grades. Since some bottom-line numbers will not point clearly to a letter grade (such as 3.25, which is between B and B+), and since some letter grades are not available at St. Thomas (such as an A-), grading will involve a measure of professional discretion. Generally speaking, if a student is closer to 4.0 than 3.75, I will typically err on the side of the higher letter grade.