Resources

The Practice Readiness Project for Chicago-Area Law School Students, or PREP Class, was created in 2013. The focus of the project is to help law schools develop curriculum that better educates students and prepares them for legal employment upon graduation. PREP began with a survey sent out to...
Designed for law teachers who want to improve their teaching and students' learning, this book offers general teaching principles and dozens of concrete ideas. The first two chapters present foundational principles of learning and instruction as well as insights from students. The next 12 chapters...
This article argues that the institutional and faculty disinterest in law student evaluation is attributable in part to a triumph of formalism over functionalism. The evaluation process has become more highly valued for its perpetuation of rank and hierarchy than for its accuracy of measurement or...
Effective Grading is a hands-on guide that focuses on the grading process as a valuable measure of student learning and as a way to assess curriculum and institutional objectives. Among other things, it lays out how to select the appropriate grading model to meet class objectives and how to...
This handbook offers college teachers advice on assessing and improving student learning through classroom assessment techniques. It provides detailed and practical how-to advice on what classroom assessment entails and how it works in addition to how to plan, implement, and analyze assessment...
Frequent, timely and focused assessments may significantly improve individual student learning. These assessments may additionally improve faculty teaching by allowing the instructor to consistently monitor whether he or she is meeting teaching objectives. This resource provides assessment...

Assessments

Most law school instructors would agree that their primary interest and function in teaching is to facilitate learning among their students. To discover if students are learning and to improve their learning, however, requires that frequent, focused opportunities for probing student thinking be built into the course structure. This is in contrast to what happens in most law school classrooms in which learning assessment is based on informal observation, the “Socratic” dialogue, or a final exam, which are not generally designed with the specific goal of improving student learning. Feedback from these activities is either haphazard or in the case of the final exam, too little or too late to improve student learning. 

There is a growing collection of assessment activities, rooted in good teaching practice, that are structured to improve student learning in law school. These range from quizzes given throughout the term so that students can assess their knowledge gains, to midterms with feedback, or even “practice” essays completed as the course proceeds, each of which is ideally designed so that students will have meaningful feedback on their ability to apply legal principles to situations before the final exam. These sorts of classroom assessment techniques have been implemented successfully in the law class. 

In addition to supporting student learning, meaningful assessment can lead to improvements in teaching as instructors integrate effective teaching strategies into their course design. Some resources to help you focus on improving your assessment are provided.