In the current environment of curricular innovation and the increased focus on assessment methods, the time is ripe to reexamine grading practices. Part I of this Article defines basic grading principles. Part II summarizes the current state of grading in law school generally, and in legal writing specifically. Part III reviews the current trends in legal education and the related criticism of norm-referenced grading policies. Part IV explains why criteria-referenced grading should be adopted in legal writing classes. Part V argues that criteria-referenced grading should be adopted in other courses and responds to the concerns that such a proposal might raise. The Article concludes that the benefits of criteria-referenced grading outweigh the negatives and that legal writing can provide a model for other courses, as law schools begin to incorporate the recommendations of Best Practices and the Carnegie Report.
17 J. of the Legal Writing Institute 123 (2011).