Student Achievement and Grading

Presumptive Grade Distribution in the JD

Melbourne Law School has approved a presumptive grade distribution in compulsory subjects (apart from Legal Method and Reasoning and Legal Research) in the JD. The distribution is based, in part, on the historic range of marks awarded in the JD. Grade distributions are monitored by Melbourne Law School's Board of Examiners. The Board is chaired by the Associate Dean (JD) and comprises the subject coordinators in the compulsory subjects. The role of the Board is to ensure the quality and consistency of marking practices between subjects and across the degree. The presumptive grade distribution (excluding fails from the calculation) is as follows:

  • H1: 10–15% (at least 2% at 85% or above)
  • H2A: 15–20%
  • H2B: 25–30%

There is no presumptive grade distribution for Pass and H3 grades.

JD Grades

The following grade descriptions provide guidance as to the types and standards of learning outcomes that are attributed to each class of mark. Each set of descriptions (above a Pass grade) subsumes and builds on the learning outcomes applicable to the grade level below. When reading each description it is important to note that:

  • The  requirements of each class of grade will differ as a student progresses through  the degree. For  example, excellent communication skills for a first semester student may be considered  competent against the expectations in final year.
  • The  descriptions require adaptation for particular pieces of assessment in  individual subjects.  For example, some forms of assessment may address oral presentation skills  linked to the  subject's communication learning outcomes, but may not assess research skills.

80%–100%  H1 First class honours: excellent

This grade  is awarded to work of an excellent standard which:

  1. Consistently demonstrates a deep knowledge and understanding of the subject as  a whole,  integrating the broader context where relevant (for example, legal, practical,  theoretical  or cultural)
  2. Consistently  demonstrates independent, rigorous and appropriately creative engagement with  relevant material and interprets and integrates material from a range of  relevant primary and  secondary sources
  3. Contains  critical analysis, argument and problemā€solving that demonstrates originality  and insight  into the whole of the subject area
  4. Utilises  sophisticated, effective and persuasive communication skills, including  developing, structuring,  editing and referencing relevant analysis, argument and conclusions tailored to the  specific audience
  5. Identifies, analyses and responds appropriately to relevant ethical and  professional conduct  issues, integrating the broader context, including responsibilities to the  court, client,  profession and broader community (where relevant)
  6. Demonstrates a capacity to learn and work independently as well as  collaboratively with a high level  of accountability and professionalism.

75%–79%  H2A Second class honours, level A: very good

This grade  is awarded to work of a very good standard which:

  1. Evidences a deep knowledge and understanding of the subject as a whole,  integrating, where  relevant, its broader contexts (for example, legal, practical, theoretical or  cultural)
  2. Evidences independent, rigorous and appropriate engagement with research  sources and subject  materials and interprets and integrates such sources and materials
  3. Contains  critical analysis, argument and problemā€solving that demonstrates insight into the  subject area as a whole
  4. Utilises  effective and persuasive communication skills, including developing, structuring,  presenting and referencing relevant analysis, argument and conclusions tailored to  the specific audience
  5. Identifies, analyses and responds appropriately to relevant ethical and  professional conduct  issues with some appreciation for the broader context and responsibilities to the court,  client, profession and broader community (where relevant)
  6. Demonstrates a capacity to learn and work independently as well as  collaboratively with a high level  of accountability and professionalism.

70%–74%  H2B Second class honours, level B: good

This grade  is awarded to work of a good standard which:

  1. Demonstrates an integrated knowledge and understanding of the subject area as a  whole and some  appreciation of its broader context (where relevant)
  2. Accurately summarises, interprets, synthesises and integrates relevant  principles and theory from the  full range of subject materials
  3. Independently identifies and critically analyses materials from a range of  research sources that relate  to the subject area
  4. Develops  a clear structure that addresses the topic, and adopts communication methods appropriate  to the specific audience
  5. Identifies, analyses and responds appropriately to ethical or professional  conduct issues relevant to  or raised by the subject area
  6. Demonstrates a capacity to learn and work independently as well as  collaboratively with accountability  and professionalism.

65%–69%  H3 Third class honours: competent

This grade  is awarded to work of a competent standard which:

  1. Demonstrates sound knowledge and understanding of the subject area as a whole  and the way in  which its component principles interrelate
  2. Selects  from, interprets and accurately applies a range of subject materials
  3. Identifies and utilises materials from research sources that relate to the  subject area
  4. Develops  a clear structure that addresses the topic and utilises modes of communication appropriate  to explain the law
  5. Identifies and responds appropriately to ethical or professional conduct issues  relevant to or raised  by the subject area
  6. Generally demonstrates a capacity to learn and work independently as well as  collaboratively with  accountability and professionalism.

50%–64%  P Pass: satisfactory

This grade  is awarded to work of a satisfactory standard which:

  1. Demonstrates understanding of the key features of the subject area
  2. Selects  from, interprets and appropriately utilises core subject materials
  3. Relies  primarily on relevant content and analysis found in the subject material
  4. Generally addresses the topic, summarises and organises the chosen material  sufficiently clearly to  restate the law
  5. Generally identifies and responds appropriately to clear ethical or  professional conduct issues relevant to  or raised by the subject area
  6. Generally demonstrates a capacity to learn and work independently and  collaboratively with a  satisfactory level of accountability and professionalism.

0%–49% N Fail: unsatisfactory

This grade  is awarded to work of an unsatisfactory standard which:

  1. Demonstrates a lack of knowledge or understanding of key features of the  subject area
  2. Incorporates irrelevant subject materials, research sources or opinions
  3. Fails to  address the topic adequately or at all, has an unclear structure and derives unsustainable,  incoherent or no conclusions on the relevant issue
  4. Tends to  restate propositions derived from the subject materials without discrimination
  5. Does not  identify or address adequately or at all clear ethical or professional conduct  issues relevant to  or raised by the subject area
  6. Fails to  demonstrate a capacity to learn and work independently or collaboratively with  a satisfactory level of accountability and  professionalism.