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Author Topic: Observation on law school testing methods  (Read 721 times)

old_student

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Observation on law school testing methods
« on: January 11, 2008, 08:01:41 PM »
I just completed my first semester of law school and have an observation on the testing methods.

One course - a 15 week course - only had one assessment the entire semester - a three essay question final exam.  It strikes me a strange that a 15 week semester is reduced to one three-question exam.

The exam did not seek to assess a broad understanding of the subject matter.

If I understand correctly, this is not an unusual law school testing model.  It just seems sort of archaic.

Non_Prophet

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Re: Observation on law school testing methods
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2008, 08:20:28 PM »
What is the alternative?

I have a friend who goes to a law school where the Con law prof has a midterm and two quizzes in addition to the final.  The final is worth a third, the midterm a third, and the quizzes each a sixth.  This seems like a better way to gauge a students knowledge, and certainly a more fair way of grading.  But the stress would kill me.  Especially if all of my classes had that many examinations.

Still, it seems better than a 15 week course boiling down to a 3 hour exam.

resipsaloquitur

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Re: Observation on law school testing methods
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2008, 09:46:23 PM »
Yeah, just when you think law school can't get any more out of touch with the real world, they spring exams on you.  A 1-3 hour race horse essay doesn't necessarily seem like a very good measure of people's ability to apply the law, but what do I know.  Can't wait for the bar! That'll be good times  :o

old_student

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Re: Observation on law school testing methods
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2008, 09:47:37 PM »
Modern educational theory is that you have frequent assessments on a small amount of material.  The assessments don't necessarily need to be graded.

The purpose is to give the students feedback during the course of the semester; it's an opportunity for the teacher to give the students some direction that may be necessary; it gives the students a chance to see if they are on track with the kind of questions that the teacher gives and how she / he wants them answered.

It results in a much more effective learning experience for the student. It is more work for the teacher.



xferlawstudent

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Re: Observation on law school testing methods
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2008, 10:06:56 PM »
The reason law school teaching method is archaic is because USNEWS rates scholarship/publications of professors as a highly important criteria.  Thus, schools are forced to care more about professor's publications and not waste time on trival matters like teaching students.  That's why.

old_student

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Re: Observation on law school testing methods
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2008, 10:38:06 PM »
That's the view I'm leaning toward.  I went to see one of my professors three times last semester.  Each time he sort of shooed me out of his office after about ten minutes.  Each time he said he was preparing for his next class.

I kept thinking "what preparation - he's been teaching the same cases for years."

Later in the semester, when i saw a list of publications of faculty, i realized that he probably was actually busy working on a paper for a conference.

I can appreciate the pressure for the faculty to publish but, unfortunately, it can easily come at the expense of teaching the students.