Friday, July 2, 2010

Proposed New ABA Rules on Student Assessment

The ABA wants you!  Or at least it wants your opinions on new law school accreditation standards.  Paul Caron has the details here.  Most of the proposed changes won't have much impact on the life of a garden variety law professor, but one might: a new section mandating assessment of student learning outcomes.  The requirement is surely a good idea from a pedagogical point of view.  But it may require some cranky academics to do things differently, and it will definitely require law school administrators to rethink gloabal assessment practices.  Here is the relevant provision:


A law school shall apply a variety of formative and summative assessment methods across the curriculum to provide meaningful feedback to students.

Interpretation 304-1 Formative assessment methods are measurements at different points during a particular course or over the span of a student’s education that provide meaningful feedback to improve student learning. Summative assessments methods are measurements at the culmination of a particular course or the culmination of any part of a student’s legal education that measures the degree of student learning.

 Interpretation 304-2 A law school need not apply a variety of assessment methods in each individual course; instead a law school shall apply a variety of assessment methods and activities over the course of a student’s education. Assessment methods are likely to be different from school to school and law schools are not required by Standard 304 to use any particular activities or tools.

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