Live from LegalED’s Igniting Law Teaching Conference — Assessment

I am at LegalED’s Igniting Law Teaching conference at American University Washington College of Law hearing from Prof Syd Beckman about Tips for Using Interactive Technology for Assessment. Here are his 5 Tips for Assessment: 1. Plan and tie learning outcomes to assessment 2. Execute it — use interactive technology that can help with assessment; […]

Using Portfolios for Assessment

A few years ago I started to use student portfolios as part of the end-of-semester evaluation of my students. I have found that portfolios can be an excellent vehicle both for the student’s own self-reflection and for providing summative feedback. Here is how I use them. At the end of the semester, I ask each […]

Assessment Across The Curriculum – Spring Conference

Assessment Across The Curriculum Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Spring Conference 2014 Saturday, April 5, 2014 “Assessment Across the Curriculum” is a one-day conference for new and experienced law teachers who are interested in designing and implementing effective techniques for assessing student learning.  The conference will take place on Saturday, April 5, 2014, at […]

A rose by any other name: Evaluation and Assessment at Cross Purposes

A barrier to developing, improving, or sharing our assessment practices is the confusion surrounding the vocabulary of assessment.  Whenever it occurs or by whatever method, assessment is simply the process of discovering what and how well students have learned and then using that information to improve. One can quickly become mired in a sea of words […]

High Standards of Professional Excellence, Student Motivation, Assessment & Fairness

in this post  you get the results of my effort to frame the questions for dealing with what seems like round 18,096 in debates over grading policies: My  faculty colleagues disagree among ourselves about how to strike the balance among potentially conflicting educational goals. We all want to challenge students to aspire to and meet […]

Why Formative Assessment is Essential in Legal Education

As the ABA Council meets to consider and debate the proposed revisions to the Accreditation Standards found in section 3, The Program of Legal Education, I want to highlight a Forbes article by Michael Horn of the Clayton Christensen Institute.  Horn has been studying disruption in education for the last several years.   If we […]

Assessment Tales: The Bluebooks That Stayed

It’s that time of year when we all have the grading of our last semester’s bluebooks well behind us and the last few students have come in to review their exams. So we have packed up the bluebooks to be archived and they are out of sight and out of mind. But wait! In the […]

Innovations in the First Year: Outcomes, Assessments and Collaboration, Oh My!

In December 2010, the faculty of William Mitchell College of Law approved a pilot curriculum for one section of the first-year class to run in 2011-2012.  The Deans also created a Pilot Assessment Committee, whose task would be to monitor and evaluate implementation of the pilot curriculum.  I am the chair of that committee. The […]

Talk about multi-competency assessment of professional qualifications . . . medical schools way ahead of us, again

Worth checking out:  “New for Aspiring Doctors, the People Skills Test“.   Eight US and 13 Canadian medical schools, including Stanford and UCLA, have adopted the “multiple mini interview,” or M.M.I.  This technique seeks to “test” medical school applicants for ethical and problem-solving acumen and even more importantly, ability to collaborate.   The schools invite applicants to […]

Tales from the Assessment Trail

Like many schools, here at UMKC Law we have been working steadily on our assessment plan.  After two retreats, six focus group meetings with attorneys, countless meetings and even more emails, we have narrowed our outcomes down to 126 skills and values outcomes.  Each faculty member has exercised their six “votes” on those outcomes that […]


In addition to the proposed revisions regarding academic freedom, the ABA Standards Review Committee also posted proposed revisions regarding Faculty Responsibilities – Standards 401-404.  [To see draft click on:  The proposed revisions focus appropriately on student-centered learning and the need to make good teaching a central focus of law school accreditation. The proposed standards make […]

Support for Empirical Research on Teaching/Assessment

The Need for Scholarship About Law Teaching and Learning When we teach or assess differently, we often wonder: does this actually make a difference?  Does it improve student learning?  If so, does it improve all students’ learning, or does it only help a particular segment of students?  What do students think about this different methodology?  […]

Assessment Experiment: Letting Students Teach, Part Deux

As a sequel to the June 16, 2009 blog “Collaboration Experiment,” I wanted to share a great experience one of my students had last semester. I teach a clinic at Albany Law School that handles unemployment insurance cases. We get referrals from a legal aid office under their Private Attorney Involvement initiative and early last […]

Utilizing Best Practices for Formative Assessment in a Trust & Estates Course

The summer months often supply the time, energy, distance (from the inexorable demands of the academic year), and desire to re-envision our courses.   A colleague and BP blog author, Carolyn Grose, is engaged in redesigning a Trusts & Estates Course with a focus on using BEST PRACTICES  for Assessment.   The purpose of this Blog post […]

Denver to Host Conference on Assessment Next Fall

I am pleased to announce that the University of Denver will be hosting a conference in September focused on Assessment in Legal Education.  Here is the opening paragraph for the request for proposals.  Check out the RFP and Conference program at:


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