The following is a hypothetical argument made by the author for his group exclusively for class discussion. Everything in here has no bearing and weighs no significance at all.
A new rule was imposed in the university’s student-retention system, wherein the GWA (General Weighted Average) of a student will be taken into consideration as to the quantity of the subjects that he will be taking. The university decided that if the student is not able to reach the required GWA of 80% for the previous semester, the student will be compelled to reduce the subject units that he will take in the next semester, until such time that he has successfully reached the GWA requirement.
The members of the group views that the new student-retention policy will bring a few advantages, to wit:
1. It will assist the student in getting good grades for the next subjects that he will take, considering the fact that there are fewer subjects to focus on. At this rate, the student can slowly adjust to the rigors of law school temporarily until such time that he has coped enough to enroll for a full-load semester.
2. The “slow-paced approach” will give ample time of preparation for the bar examination due to the extension of the time allotted for studying. Granted, this will not only help the student in his endeavors but the school as well when it comes to bar passing rates.
3. The whole idea generally is more “giving” as compared to the student being kicked out of school due to failure in reaching the GWA requirement.
We believe in the rightful vision of our alma mater when it comes to producing excellent lawyers. However, in view of the foregoing, the members of Group 3 were given the task of arguing against the imposition of the new rule. Now, as a case in point, we contend that:
1. Grades are never the deciding factor as the knowledge of a student and as such, should not be used to define the same. While it is true that the student himself is the one making his grades, it is wrong to assume that he alone can dictate the figures. The truth is, apart from the student himself, grades are also affected by several external factors, e.g., the professor’s contention as what is right or wrong.
One example in relation to the aforecited argument is that if a student receives a failing mark in one subject, it does not mean that he fails it altogether on the grounds that he can retake the same subject again and pass it with flying colors. A failing mark does not constitute failure itself; it is only a measuring tool dictated by the society.
2. Legal profession is both a privilege and a right, and the same applies to the status of being a law student. The study of law is a privilege granted only to those who are adept with mental and moral fitness, which would explain why a law school should do its best in selecting its new students. At the same time, it is also a right in such a way that anyone initially qualified should not be prevented to continue studying. Law students are already aware of the rigorous training happening inside the four walls of the classroom. As such, they are assuming the responsibility of doing their best to pass all of the subjects that they enrolled into upon the enrollment process, with full knowledge of the inevitable hardships and sacrifices arising therein.
Failing a subject should give them a good lesson as to their capacity. If a student who failed before attempts to enroll again with full subject units, it simply means that he is willing to undergo the same challenges that he went through before; only this time, he knows where he went wrong and he will be cautious enough to avoid it. It should be the maturity of making responsible decisions aiding them in gauging their capacity upon enrollment, not the failing marks.
3. The negative-reinforcement theory in learning, while effective, should be avoided at all costs. The idea of an individual being prohibited to enroll fully again in an upcoming semester if he received a failing grade is not a good way to force them to study well. The university should try to look for other positive ways to motivate a student to study and pass using a system of rewards and recognition, hence, the positive-reinforcement theory.
For example, the inviting idea of graduating and becoming a lawyer at the earliest possible occasion is already present in the mind of an aspiring student; the school just needs to do its best to inculcate and ignite that passion in the student so that he will be enticed to pass all the subjects that he will take.