Law schools have been having a tough time.
The past few years have included several cases of law students attempting to sue their schools for misrepresenting employment statistics. Only 58% of students who took the bar exam in 2015 passed, and while employment rates for law school graduates are increasing, some critics are skeptical about the quality of jobs the American Bar Association is counting in its numbers.
It’s Time for Practice-Ready Law Education
It’s clear that legal education needs to change; however, many law schools tend to be hesitant about straying from traditional teaching methods.
What law schools need now is a better way to address the needs of individual students and make sure every single one is getting the education he or she needs. This will require a shift in the current approach, but it’s doable. Law schools may even be able to accomplish it by using a technology product they already have at their disposal.
A Practical Plan to Personalize Law Education
More than 80% of law schools in the United States already have ExamSoft, but few are currently using it to help produce the real-time assessment data that makes personalized student remediation possible.
Step 1: Develop a new approach to assessments.
One exam per semester doesn’t do much to help recognize student needs throughout the course of a class. The two main changes that should drive embedded assessment in legal courses are providing more regular exams and assignments, and tagging them all based on the subject areas and competencies students most need to learn, which allows for clear warning signs throughout the semester regarding which students are struggling with specific lessons and concepts.
It’s really that simple and puts everything into place for our next step.
Step 2: See assessment data in real-time.
After every assessment that’s created and graded in ExamSoft, an automated report provides clear insights into how each individual student is performing—and not how students are doing in general, but the specific subjects and concepts they’re excelling at or struggling in. These reports shine a spotlight on which students need help the most and the specific help they need.
Step 3: Work with students to develop an individualized course of study.
Once at-risk students have been identified, educators can turn that assessment data into an individualized remediation plan. A student who understands contracts perfectly but has a hard time with constitutional law may need more assignments focused on the latter. If a student is great at coming up with strong arguments but has a harder time finding the old cases to support those arguments, then help can be provided regarding research skills.
Every struggling student has different needs, and failing to recognize that can mean failing students overall. Embedded assessment can help legal educators provide students with the resources and assignments they need to be prepared for the bar exam as well as the jobs they seek beyond.
More information on how ExamSoft can be used for embedded formative assessment can be found here.