Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rankings, Curves, Bar Passage Rates

Over the past few years, Greg at Otherwise Occupied has done a terrific job of compiling and making accessible via his blog a variety of data that has been "published" by USF (if by "published" one means posted on the board outside the registrar's office). However, Greg is graduating this year, and I doubt that in the future he will be sneaking in to the law school late at night and copying down data from the board and posting it on his blog. Since USF is apparently not interested in publishing this info on the web, we here at Citizen Kendrick propose to take over this task, which many students find to be helpful (particularly first-years trying to get a grasp on what those grades mean).

But first, a recap and links to what Greg has already done:

Curve: The curve determines what percentage of students in a class can get a particular grade. Curves are often described by the what the median GPA is likely to be. Up until recently, USF has had a pretty tough curve (2.7). Compare that to top-ranked schools like Stanford, which has a 3.4 curve. The faculty voted an increase in the curve that begins in Fall '07. I believe this new curve will be a 2.9 curve for first-years, though I may be wrong.

USF's old curve (prior to Fall 2007)
USF's new curve (beginning in Fall 2007)

Class rank percentiles: This information lets a student identify where in her class she stands. All of the following info is based on the old curve, and are thus of dubious validity when comparing to students who will be evaluated on the new curve.

Spring 2007
Fall 2006
Spring 2006
Spring 2005

Bar Passage Rate: This info lets students know how previous classes have performed on the bar on their first attempt based on their class rank quintile.

USF Bar Passage Rate by Quintile (2000-2006).

A lot of other comparative graphs Greg has put together are available here.


aphrael said...

I've been finding the fact that I can't rely on the numbers yet (due to the curve difference) to be somewhat frustrating; i'm cursed with this incredible, burning need to know just where I stand (i'm somewhat ashamed of this, but I admit that it's true), and so i'm impatiently waiting for this semester's numbers to be posted.

Dave said...

Yes, that feeling is a bit painful. The guilt about caring, the anxiety about how you measure up. It's kinda like when you were 14, and you got out the ruler and headed to the bathroom, and... well, never mind. Anyway, you'll have them soon enough, and the grade mystique thing will wear off.

greg said...

What I should probably do is get the spreadsheets cleaned up a little bit and then just turn it all over to whomever wants to maintain the data going forward.

It would be nice for the school to post them online. They're wildly popular; in aggregate, they're easily the most popular search hits on my site. Once this semester's come out, I can work on making the spreadsheets readily publishable and then hand over the reins.