Copyright (c) 2010 Barry Law Review
Barry Law Review
ARTICLE: IS OUR STUDENTS LEARNING? USING ASSESSMENTS TO MEASURE AND IMPROVE LAW SCHOOL LEARNING AND PERFORMANCE
Barry Law Review
15 Barry L. Rev. 73
Rogelio A. Lasso 1
The primary purpose of law schools is to make sure students are learning the skills they need to think, perform, and conduct themselves as competent lawyers. 2 The mission of teachers 3 is to facilitate learning. Learning is a loop in which the teacher facilitates learning, students perform what they have learned, the teacher assesses students' performance, the teacher provides students feedback on the students' performance, and students use the feedback to improve their performance in the next task. 4
The critical step in this learning loop is teacher feedback. Prompt feedback allows students to take control over their own learning by obtaining necessary remediation for identified deficiencies in their understanding, and to adjust their approaches to future learning tasks. Knowing what the students know, and do not know, focuses students' learning. For the learning loop to work optimally, students need several chances during the semester to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to improve their learning. 5
Teachers should engage in a variety of activities that are necessary to facilitate learning. These include studying and mastering the subject matter, designing course content, structuring and implementing lesson plans, facilitating learning inside and outside of the classroom, listening to and learning from students, and using reliable assessment tools. 6 A valid, reliable, and fair assessment system is one that assesses student learning and improves learning skills. 7
Assessment methods and requirements have ...
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