Sessions Information

  • January 6, 2011
    2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Session Type: AALS Committee Programs
    Session Capacity: N/A
    Hotel: Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco Union Square
    Room: Sutro
    Floor: Second Floor Level

    Student assessment is an important aspect of our work in legal education.  How can the methods we use to evaluate student progress further – or imperil – our efforts to nurture accomplished and responsible professionals? This program will consider assessment methods as tools for fostering learning and for identifying and developing the full range of skills necessary for excellence in the practice of law.


    We recognize that discussions of assessment often are laden with jargon that can be off-putting to law school faculty.  This program will move beyond jargon to discuss several critical purposes of assessment.  We will explore in detail how achieving our educational goals may require us to reconsider and reconfigure the way we measure student progress.  We also will consider assessment in light of students’ educational and psychological needs, and examine the new work in this area that is being done by law professors around the country.  The program will include demonstrations, discussion and specific examples of innovative assessment techniques. We anticipate that the first panel will take approximately 45 minutes, with the second panel directly following.


    Panel I.          Why Student Assessment Matters


    Moderator:       Elizabeth M. Schneider, Brooklyn Law School

    Speakers:         Aderson B. Francois, Howard University School of Law

                            Meredith J. Harbach, University of Richmond School of Law

                            Greg Munro, University of Montana School of Law


    This panel first will ask the question: what are we assessing? Possible answers include: communicating effectively; developing analytical skills; exercising professional judgment; and understanding and interpreting doctrine.  Panelists will consider the range of skills students need to master, and how law teachers can improve student learning through the assessment techniques they use.  This panel also will examine lessons from recent research on the impact of traditional assessment methods on student engagement and motivation.  Finally, it will explore internal challenges to changing assessment methods, including faculty scholarship expectations and the use of student evaluations of faculty.  External developments in legal education that raise questions about assessment, including reports from the Carnegie Foundation and proposals by the Department of Education and the American Bar Association, also will be identified.


    Panel II. Improving Learning and Student Engagement Through Assessment


    Moderator:       Peggy Cooper Davis, New York University School of Law

    Speakers:         Mary Patricia Byrn, William Mitchell College of Law

                            John Burwell Garvey, Franklin Pierce Law Center

                            Barbara Glesner Fines, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

                            Joan MacLeod Heminway, University of Tennessee College of Law

                            Steve Sheppard, University of Arkansas School of Law


    Through both discussion and demonstration, panelists will provide concrete examples of a wide range of assessment approaches and describe how law professors can incorporate them into their teaching in a variety of settings.  Examples will include: methods of providing feedback to students in large classes; the use of peer evaluation and self-assessment techniques; the assessment of judgment and of intrapersonal and interpretive skills; the use of student portfolios; and the use of final exams to measure a variety of student skills.

Session Speakers
Mitchell Hamline School of Law

New York University School of Law

Howard University School of Law

University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

The University of Richmond School of Law

University of Tennessee College of Law

Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana

Brooklyn Law School

University of Arkansas School of Law

Session Fees
  • 5185 Committee on Curriculum Issues Program: $0.00