This article explores the possible correlation between student GPAs when they graduate and the impact of a pass/fail option on Negotiation course results. The course requires students to engage in a series of negotiation exercises, with the comparative results having a direct impact on final course grades. I wanted to determine whether better students, reflected in GPAs, would achieve better negotiating results based upon the thought that better students are more intelligent, more articulate, and moreindustrious. I examined data from fifteen classes and found no statistically significant correlation between student GPAs and negotiation results. I believe that these findings are based upon the fact that GPAs reflect abstract reasoning skills, while negotiation performance reflects interpersonal skills. I also wanted to determine whether students who took the course on a pass/fail basis obtained results that were different from those attained by students taking the course for a regular grade. I had suspected that the pass/fail students would be unwilling to take the extra time necessary to achieve optimal results, and the empirical findings supported this suspicion. The pass/fail students did significantly less well on the exercises than did the graded students.
GW Paper Series
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 272; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 272
Charles B. Craver, The Impact of Student GPAS and a Pass/Fail Option on Clinical Negotiation Course Performance, 15 Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol. 373 (2000)