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:

Interactive Assessment Program at the AALS Annual Meeting

I am really excited about moderating and serving as commentator of the second session of the Joint Program sponsored by the Clinical and Professional Responsibility Sections to be held in San Diego on Wednesday, January 7.   It is on assessment and is going to be very interactive.  At the International Clinical Conference this summer, I had the distinct […]

11th Annual Northwest Clinical Conference: On Assessment

Wish you all could have been there for the 11th Annual Northwest Clinical Conference at the beautiful Sleeping Lady Conference Center outside Leavenworth in Washington’s Cascade Mountains. Our topic?  A central Best Practices issue:  Assessment.

Peer Assessment

I hate to be one of the first to mention it, but it feels like summer is waning. As much as I love what I do during the academic year, summer break never seems long enough to catch up on what gets back-burnered by the demands of teaching – in my case, teaching students within […]

Assessments Requiring Reading Statutes Not Covered In Class:Lessons I Learned

I teach the second half of a year-long first-year civil procedure class.  We spend the semester reading and interpreting the Fed. R. of Civ. P.   Throughout the semester, I give the students hypothetical questions that require them to read and interpret the applicable Federal Rules.  This semester, I wanted to see if I could assess […]

Requiring Midterm Assessments in First-Year Courses

Maybe this is already well-known, but (without conceding that paper-and-pencil exams of any sort necessarily constitute useful assessment of integrated legal skills and knowledge), I thought it was a slightly encouraging example of movement on the assessment front. I’ve learned from postings on other list-servs that both Loyola L.A. and University of St. Thomas have […]

Learning from Medical School—Formative Feedback, Assessment and Resources

Formative feedback is giving students information about their performance to help them improve.  Summative assessment is an evaluation of the student’s performance.   It is useful in determining whether the student as achieved the skill or level of knowledge.  Criteria referenced assessment measures whether a student as achieved a certain level of knowledge or skill. Norm […]

Learning from Medical School–Outcome Based Assessment: An “aha” moment

Ever since I got involved a few years ago with the Best Practices project, I started putting educational objectives on my syllabi.  These are the objectives I had on my Fall 2007 Family Law syllabus which incorporated a joint Medical Legal training project on Domestic Violence using standardized clients.    As a result of taking […]