Workshop on Measuring Learning Gains: Institutional Effectiveness for the New Era
June 22 - 24, 2015
Law schools are entering a new era, one in which they will be expected to seriously evaluate what their students have learned throughout their law school careers. New accreditation requirements imposed by the American Bar Association (ABA), regional accreditors of colleges, and the federal government are driving forces for such for attention to educational effectiveness. But so, too, is the intellectual curiosity and commitment to delivering high quality, effective education that animates most legal educators, particularly during a time of declining law school applicants and rapid changes in the legal profession. Few within the legal academy have experience in developing learning outcomes, measuring learning gains or demonstrating institutional effectiveness. Attentive administrators and faculty leaders of law schools around the country need to understand both how they can facilitate student learning in order to meet learning goals and how they can provide proof of accountability and effectiveness. This workshop is designed to meet these needs by providing an intellectual and practical framework for measuring learning gains and institutional effectiveness, along with hands-on experience.
This program is designed to provide participants with in-depth understanding and experience with the issues, goals, and strategies associated with assessment of institutional effectiveness. The program will provide participants with a true “workshop” experience that helps them achieve the following outcomes: (a) identifying a starting point for assessment planning at their individual schools; (b) drafting an assessment plan for their program or school; (c) developing a communications plan to increase understanding, acceptance, and participation in the assessment plan by others; and (d) identifying resources that will help them improve assessment of student learning. The workshop will accordingly provide participants with a significant head start in implementing related strategies at their individual schools.
Law schools are encouraged to send teams of 2-4 individuals who can work together to develop draft assessment plans for their home schools, and brainstorm and test implementation strategies through small-group work with those from other participating schools and programs. Those playing any of the following roles would find the program of particular use and benefit: associate deans for academic affairs, self-study committee chairs, curriculum committee chairs, directors of academic support programs, directors of masters’ programs, clinic directors, legal writing directors, faculty members involved in developing substantive concentrations, faculty and staff charged with undertaking various types of institutional assessment, and librarians interested in expanding their roles into the area of educational effectiveness, and deans interested in developing long-term planning strategies. Participants should be committed to complete advanced reading assignments and to take assessment plans back to their home schools for further action. Individual faculty members who wish to gain deeper insight into related topics are also welcome, but should be prepared to work with others in developing strategies for institutional action.
Potential participants should also consider special registration rates for those interested in participating in multiple programs (family law, institutional effectiveness, and leadership development) during the 2015 mid-year program.