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Administrative Law Research: Immigration Concentration Class Site

How Do I Make an A in this Class?

How Do I Make an A in this Class?

Great question! This has not happened yet in this class this semester, but in the past, I usually get a couple of Administrative Law Research students each semester asking how they can be sure to get an A.

Here is what I always tell them!

Since the weekly quizzes and exercises are about learning, I grade them rather lightly. A weekly quiz answer doesn’t have to be totally correct to get credit for the question, and, though I mark things wrong on weekly exercises, generally every student who puts effort into an exercise gets over a 90% (assuming they watch any required homework review video). That means that many, if not most, students get full credit for that 25% of the class. So, students shouldn’t assume they are headed for an A in the class because they did well on the exercises and quizzes. They should note that the final project is worth 50% of the final grade and the final quiz is worth 25%, and focus their efforts there.

The class is graded on the normal law school curve, and this semester, there are 16 students in the class. As you have probably noticed, the subject matter in this class is not super difficult, so generally final grades are pretty good. So, each semester there are not generally too many (if any) students earning Cs or Ds, which would lower the class average, and depending on the professor, allow an extra student or two to earn an A or A-. Generally, based on my traditional grading practices, in a class of 16 students, 4 or 5 students will get an A.

As I said above, the subject matter of this class is not super difficult. Based on my observations over the years, the students who earn the higher grades are those that start earlier/work harder on the final quiz and final project. This is not really a class in which some sort of natural brilliance or exceptional memory is going to help that much. It is perhaps not surprising that most students who ask how to get an A usually end up getting an A, presumably just because they focused on it and put more effort into the final project and final quiz.

Final Project Advice

Click here for some advice about the final project.

Your final research project is 50% of your final grade and is due October 17th at 11:59 p.m.

If you have any questions about the final research project, you can email me, drop by my office in the library, or set up an appointment to meet in person or on Zoom.

Students sometimes ask me how to make sure they get a good grade on the project, so here is my advice!

  • Be sure to follow the instructions (not just the general instructions, but the instructions each for each part of the project or each question)
  • Be sure to fully answer each question (after you answer a question, look back to check to see if you answered the whole question)
  • Be sure to notice when a question requires researching state law
  • Be sure to conduct research in different ways (reading secondary sources, using an index, table of contents, etc.) so you will find all the relevant primary law for each question
  • After you have found the relevant primary law, be sure to remember to write it down on your project paper
  • Be sure to answer all questions with reference to specific primary sources (it is not sufficient to just use information you found in a secondary source without citing the relevant primary source)
  • Be sure to start the project early enough that you leave yourself time to ask questions about anything you are confused about

Final Quiz Preparation

You will have 60 minutes (plus a 5 minute grace period) to complete the final quiz. It will be available in D2L on Saturday 10.9.2021/2021 at 5:00 p.m. and is due Wednesday, 10.13.2021 at 11:59 p.m. Originally in the syllabus, it was going to be due on 10.10.2021, but once I remembered that you have fall break the week of 10.4.2021, I decided to move it to the last official day of class. 

The quiz is "open book" so you can consult any sources (other than your classmates or other people) you want during the quiz. However, like many open book tests, you should study in advance because you will probably not have time to consult many sources. It is not necessary to actually run any searches on Westlaw to answer the terms and connectors (advanced searching) questions, though you can if you wish. There is no Week 7 weekly quiz, but there will be a few questions on the final quiz from the Week 7 material.

The quiz has 33 questions which are worth 3 points apiece on a 100 point scale.

Many of the questions are open ended, such as, “What is administrative law?” (Not a real question.) Some of the questions from the weekly quizzes are on the final quiz. These questions might have been reworded, or converted to open ended questions, so make sure that you read the questions carefully.

Since the final quiz is worth 25% of your final grade and tests what you have learned about research during the class, the questions are harder and will be graded harder than your weekly quizzes which were very lightly graded. In order to get 3 points for a question, you must answer the whole question fully and correctly. There is no partial credit for questions.

The following are suggestions for how to prepare for the final quiz:

  • Review the information on this site, paying special attention to the information in red/multicolored text AND the information that was covered on the weekly quizzes
  • Review the weekly quiz questions and answers in D2L Quizzes
  • Review the research knowledge, skills, and strategies you learned from the weekly exercises
  • These topics will definitely be on the final quiz, so be sure that you have an understanding of the following:
    • Basics of terms and connectors searching
    • The importance of investigating databases to see how they are organized, to determine what finding aids are available, etc. 
    • Different ways to search for regulations in general
    • Different ways to search for regulations on Westlaw (CFR database, finding regulations using a USC section, etc.)
    • Different database/sources of regulations and registers