An alum is suing the University Law School because he believes its grading policies discriminate against slow typists.
Adrian Zachariasewycz claims the Law School’s grading policy is unfair to slow typists because students who can type more words per minute can write more during timed exams.
Zachariasewycz filed the complaint in a Delaware court in November.
“It’s an incredibly obvious claim,” he said.
In the complaint, Zachariasewycz says the exams are more of a test of typing skills than understanding of the material.
Law students have the option to handwrite their exams.
Zachariasewycz said in his case this option is not a suitable alternative because his handwriting speed is just as slow due to a reconstructed wrist from a past injury. It is easier for him to type, he said.
A Law School spokesman said he could not comment on the case because it is ongoing. In a statement posted on the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, a Law School official said,
“Beyond the typing policy at issue in the lawsuit, every effort is made to ensure fairness and equitability in the grading and evaluation process.”
Zachariasewycz said his handwritten papers and multiple-choice exams were an accurate reflection of his grade – but that his typed exams lowered his grade point average significantly.
Because of his poor grades, he is unable to find a job in the legal field, he said.
“It was wrecking my life – it still is,” he said.
He claims he was not aware of the cause of his poor performance on these exams until after graduation, when was unable to find a job.
While Zachariasewycz admits that he has not compared his grades with other law students, he said he is confident that the same discrepancy between typed exams and handwritten papers will also be seen in other students’ grades.
The suit says that the school failed to notify him that a minimum typing speed was necessary for success, and that they did not compensate for anyone who might be deficient in this area.
According the Law School’s student handbook, the University’s Service for Students with Disabilities arranges certain accommodations for students with document disabilities.
Stuart Segal, the University’s coordinator of services for students with disabilities, said the University makes accommodations for students with documented disabilities.
Zachariasewycz said he didn’t approach professors for special accommodations because he wasn’t aware his typing was a disadvantage at the time.
He said he approached the Law School with his concerns, but administrators said they couldn’t change his grades without an explanation and they didn’t have the expertise necessary to analyze his claim.