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Class Rank Results, 2011 Edition

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jul 22, 2011 in The 2L Life

Happy Almost-the-Weekend everybody! :D

There’s been a lot going on this past week and all sorts of news in the legal arena that I’ve been wanting to comment on but just haven’t had the time. The internship at I-Cubed has been a lot more enjoyable than I thought corporate work would be,1 grades for Summer Session I courses have all come in,2 it looks like I’ll be the CrimLaw tutor next Spring for the 1Ls and this Fall for the 2LEs,3 I was invited to give a leadership development presentation to the NCCU SGA earlier this week4 — there’s just been a lot going on in a very short amount of time!

Which brings me to the topic of this post: the 2011 class rank charts that we finished gathering data for over a week ago :beatup:

Before diving in to the data, I want to give a huge *THANK YOU* to everyone who participated! We had nearly two-dozen people submit their anonymous information, including folks from the upper and lower ends of the spectrum.  Coupling those with some data points provided by the Registrar we’ve got what should be fairly accurate models for each of the 3 classes submitting information.

Now for some charts…

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CLASS OF 2012 (Day Program):  ONE YEAR LATER
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We’ll start with my class, since it’s my blawg :P

Class of 2012 Rankings: the top is 2011 (after 2L) and the bottom is last year (after 1L)

The NCCU Law cohort that started in August 2009 began with 169 students, which had whittled away to 157 by the time our 1L year was finished.

Factor out the 18ish folks who fell below a 2.0 and another handful who enrolled in the 4-year JD-MBA program (pushing them into the Class of 2013), then add in folks who transferred in from the Evening Program or are from the August 2008 cohort who are now “in sync” with our class (either from being in a dual-degree program or being readmitted after falling below 2.0 in the 2008-09 year), and we’re down to 152 people.

You can see the impact of students being able to self-select their courses as each of the percentile cutoffs have climbed since last year.  The biggest jumps have come at the lower end of the ranking spectrum; for example, the 50th percentile cutoff is actually higher than my GPA last year when I was at the 40th percentile.

You can also tell from my class rank that there’s a decent amount of fluidity in the rankings. I jumped from #62 to #32 in the span of a year,5 with only a just-over-three-tenths-of-a-point bump in my GPA (e.g. a hair’s breadth greater than the difference between a B- and a B).

Not to continue beating the same dead horse, but that data point tends to reaffirm my argument that your 1L grades don’t matter. ;)

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CLASS OF 2013 (Day Program)
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Based on the incoming class profile, this year’s 1Ls were an interesting mix.

On the similarities side of the ledger, their class started out slightly larger than mine (174 for them compared to 169 for us) but had shrunk the same amount (-12 students apiece by the end of 1L year). The 75%ile/median/25%ile LSAT scores were also practically identical between the two cohorts.

Class of 2013 Rankings

But on the differences, the Class of 2013 was more polarized. The median age was almost the same (25 to our 24) but the Class of 2013 had more “really young” students in the 21-24 range and more “not as really young” students in the 40+ range. On the GPA side, they also had more students who did better than us in undergrad (75%ile GPA was +0.11) and more students who did worse (25%ile GPA was -0.12).

That polarity also shows up from two points in the 1L ranking data: (1) both their 15%ile and 25%ile GPAs are higher, meaning their high achievers racked up comparably more of the high grades than ours did; and (2) it looks they’ll have a lower number falling below a 2.0, meaning their low achievers soaked up comparably more of the low grades than ours did. Really high and really low grades were more broadly distributed in the Class of 2012.

You can also see the effect of the C-curve to an extent. Even with the low-ranked students taking up more of the bad grades, the median is still almost two-tenths of a point below a B-. And even with their higher-achieving high achievers, no one in the Class of 2013 scored above a 3.78.

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CLASS OF 2014 (Evening Program)
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When I started this data gathering operation I really didn’t expect anyone from the law school’s Evening Program to send me their information. They were extended the invitation of course, but I only know maybe 3-4 people in the entire program who I know have been to law:/dev/null at least once so I figured the odds of someone seeing the call for submissions were a bit low.

Class of 2014 (Evening) Rankings

You can imagine my shock when I ended up getting just as many submissions from the Class of 2014 evening students as I did from the Class of 2012 day students :surprised:

The Class of 2014 Evening Program started out with 34 students in Fall 2010, which has since shrunk to 32.

They’re also ranked separate and apart from their Day Program colleagues so the data isn’t quite as useful for analysis except on a year-over-year basis. For example, on a percentage basis the 1LE 15%ile and 25%ile cutoffs are markedly higher than the corresponding 1L cutoffs.

But there are also only 8 1LE’s at a 3.1 GPA and above, when there are twice as many 1L’s at 3.2+. In other words, to borrow an over-used cliché, comparing the Evening Program to the Day Program is akin to comparing apples and oranges.

One commonality that can be culled from the data is that the Evening Program is obviously bound by the same curving process since their median GPA (even with fewer students) is similar to the median for the day program.

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So that’s the class ranking data for the academic year ending May 2011! And it concludes what I can now officially designate as my first successful use of this blawg as a crowd-sourcing app :spin:

Hope all of you have a good night and a great weekend ahead! :D

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From the grade-related archives:

  1. :surprised: []
  2. :D []
  3. :spin: []
  4. B-) []
  5. Roughly 19%, going from the 40th percentile cutoff to a smidge over the 21st percentile. []

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Legal Eagles: I need your help plz :)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jul 7, 2011 in The 3L Life

Good evening folks! :)

I hope all of you had an amazing Independence Day weekend — the 235th celebration of my favorite holiday evah — and a solid start to the abbreviated-and-soon-to-end workweek :D

On my end I made my annual trip with 雅雅 up to Virginia Beach to see Nan and Pops, though the festivities this year were somewhat dampened (literally and figuratively) by thunderstorms that spanned Virginia and North Carolina… and the start of Summer Session II classes this past Tuesday :beatup:

Class this week plus that trip plus the preceding week helping with NCCU Law‘s Legal Eagle Law Camp was the reason for my most recent extended hiatus from the blawgosphere.1 The Law Camp in particular was an interesting experience that I’ll hopefully have time to write about in a later entry — it included everything from sitting in on an actual arson trial (featuring extensive vulgarity and sexual innuendo) with ~35 7th-10th graders, to witnessing the Durham PD’s drug interdiction unit arrest two people for trafficking in cocaine2 in the parking lot of a Burger King where I happened to be getting lunch with about 20 of those same campers, to watching my group successfully put on a full mock trial even after the group’s star witness was a no-show on trial day, to a bunch of other randomness in between :crack:

But that’s not the reason for tonight’s entry ;)

Those of you who have been reading law:/dev/null for awhile3 might recall the pie chart of class ranks I put together last year for the Class of 2012 day program.  I’m hoping to create new ones this year for all the classes, so we can (i) gauge how much the average GPAs have climbed between 1L and 2L year now that students can self-select their electives, and (ii) compare the GPAs across classes / programs / years. Did this year’s 1Ls perform significantly better or worse compared to last year’s?  Does the evening program really have higher median GPAs as rumored?  What are the odds of a now-3L reaching #.## GPA based on the curve and colleagues’ grades? Those are the types of questions I’d like answered.

However I’ve got two problems: my source for grade info last year is no longer around, and my new class rank doesn’t have the serendipitous function of being a cutoff for a round-number percentile like it was when I was the 40% guy last year.

And that’s where you come in…  :angel:

I know folks are über-secretive about law school grades, even though we all find out something anyway.  Taking that preference for discretion into account, I’ve created a temporary page on the blog (linked at the top) called “2011 Data4 that includes a comment field where you can anonymously enter your own GPA and class rank.  By entering in a fake name and using a fake email address, your comment will go into the WordPress “moderation queue” we have here behind the scenes, I can then harvest your GPA/rank without ever knowing who you are, and then delete your comment without it ever appearing to the outside world.

As of this entry I’ve got 14 people who’ve already shared their data — 4 from the class of 2012, 6 from 2013, and 4 from 2014.  That’s a solid start, but most of the folks who have commented are in a fairly narrow band rank-wise and I need folks across the spectrum to get accurate charts. So if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to shoot me your info I’d really really really appreciate :)

Once I’ve got enough data points to put the charts together, I’ll delete the 2011 Data page and put up a new entry with the approximate grade distributions.

Thanks in advance for your help, and feel free to recommend that a classmate send in their info too ;) Have a great night! :D

  1. And yes I realize I’ve had roughly the same excuse for randomly disappearing for most of the past two semesters now. Cut me some slack! :beatup: []
  2. One of whom made the unwise decision to resist arrest and was restrained with force as a result. []
  3. *THANK YOU* btw! :* []
  4. UPDATE on 07/13/2011:  Got all the data we needed so the page has been modified to remove the comment form and all the comments that were submitted have been deleted. Thanks for your help! :D []

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Revisiting class rank

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 5, 2010 in The 1L Life

Last month I posted a pie chart for y’all with class rank info on the Class of 2012 at NCCU Law, except that there wasn’t really much class rank info actually in it. The only thing I knew for certain at the time was that my GPA was the cutoff for the 40th percentile… because I happened to be the guy at the 40th percentile1 :beatup:

Fast forward a month, and several of my Legal Eagle colleagues were wondering if I had gathered any additional details given my penchant for graphs, tables and other data.

Slightly more 1L class rank data

And of course the answer is: of course ;)

After talking with about a dozen folks about their own grades/ranks, I tweaked the class rank chart to what you see here.

I know the GPA cutoffs for the 15th and 25th percentiles are solid. The Top 10% minimum GPA is just an estimate though; I haven’t really mingled with the super-smart folks in law school, and the only one I know 100% for certain who’s in that group decided to be coy and would only say the chart data “might be pretty close” :beatup:

I also added in my estimate of how many people fell below NCCU Law’s strict-C threshold and got academically dismissed at the end of the semester. It’s a very rough guess on my end, basically just taking the number of people I know personally who didn’t make it multiplied by the number of sections, taking a multi-year average of our historical 1L attrition data minus the folks who had already dropped, then weighting each of those two separate numbers and adding them together. I have -0- confidence that it’s an accurate count but I’m reasonably sure I’m ±5, so I included it anyway for informational purposes.

In the unlikely-but-possible scenario that my guess is a close approximation to the actual number of folks who will be gone, the attrition data highlights the challenge those of us in the middle of the pack academically are going to have trying to improve our class ranks this upcoming year. For example, being 62 of 157 puts me at the 40% mark now, but starting next week I’ll be 62 of ~139 (or less) — instantly dropping me down to 45%. It’s definitely a steep hill to climb.

Upside: at least I won’t have Contracts anymore :spin:

Have a great night y’all! :D

  1. Even though it’s not going to net my any academic excellence awards, I do appreciate my class rank being a nice round number :beatup: []

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Learning what I already knew

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jul 12, 2010 in The 1L Life

Class ranks got released today, and I got to re-learn what I already knew from my 1L GPA: I’m a decisively average student :beatup:

I rank 62 out of 157 1Ls. That puts me at a hair’s breadth inside the top 40%.

At least it's better than undergrad ;)

The chart to the right shows where I’m at, though not much else. I’m not sure if the registrar will be allowed to provide us with the GPA cutoffs for a given percentile, or how many of those in the bottom 50% are folks going home for not making above a 2.0 — if I can get that info I’ll update the chart to something more meaningful.

I did notice that if we were at 157 1Ls in April (I think this # excludes the evening students), that means we had already lost 12 of the 169 folks who started in the day program back in August. My assumption is that we’ll lose about 20 more students due to the GPA cutoff, putting our cumulative 1L attrition near the historical 20%ish mark. That’s all just speculation though.

On the bright side, I consider this a remarkable improvement over my undergraduate career :D

When I finally made it through N.C. State my 2.612 GPA placed me firmly in the bottom 25% of our 166 graduating seniors in the Computer Science Department, a byproduct of my spending far more time advocating for students through the Student Senate and UNCASG than I did writing code in front of a computer. My chronic bad grades were sufficiently legendary that I was even introduced to someone at a CSC function as “the George W. Bush of N.C. State’s Computer Science Department” — because I “can successfully run the world, but can’t successfully pass [my] classes.”1  :beatup:

One year and a strict-C curve later, and I’ve vaulted from the bottom quartile to just short of the top third with a mere +0.066 change in GPA.

It might not net me any BigLaw job offers or a spot on the law journal, but I’m gonna go ahead and call that a success ;)

Heading to bed so I can get up early for some hearings tomorrow — observing and/or co-mediating a pair of Medicaid appeal cases from the NC Office of Administrative Hearings ::joy:: Have a great night y’all! :D

  1. Though, for the record, I still considered it a compliment because I’m still a W fan :P []

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