Forthcoming 2014 • ISBN: 978-1-59460-832-2
Tags: Law School Teaching
“The assessment movement is knocking at the door of American legal education.” So affirmed Greg Munro in 2000 in his widely read volume, Outcomes Assessment for Law School. In the very next sentence, however, he acknowledged the uphill battle faced by those of his colleagues who recognized the immediacy and necessity of taking up the issue of assessment. He added, “Legal education in the U.S. is renowned for its adherence to traditional case books, Socratic teaching method, single end-of-semester final exams, and an unwillingness to change.” Like Munro, LEARN (Legal Education Analysis and Reform Network), a consortium of ten law schools, has asserted that “[m]eaningful assessments must be designed to advance both learning and teaching … [they] must be integrated into the learning experience for the benefit of the students and faculty; not treated simply as a post-course ranking system for the purposes of employers and others.”
In this volume, the authors address this LEARN imperative by focusing upon classroom methods for formatively assessing what are, arguably, the most important and fundamental skills that law schools claim to teach: case reading, case analysis, and case reasoning. Drawing upon a four-year field-based study funded by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), as well as upon cutting-edge research on learning, reading comprehension, and problem-solving in the educational learning sciences, the authors demonstrate how different law school professionals can develop context-sensitive, formative and flexible assessment tools for their classes, tutorials, and clinics, and thereby help students improve these skills and self-evaluate their progress in these areas of legal literacy.