How Tennessee Law Schools Can Better Prepare Students for the Bar Exam

March 28, 2014 Kristen Hicks

The Challenges Faced by Tennessee Law Schools

In 2011, 69% of students in Tennessee passed the bar exam. For the 31% that didn’t, the years they devoted to law school suddenly felt much less valuable. Even worse, the student loans most of them had still needed to be paid back even if they couldn’t get jobs as lawyers.

While you can’t control the challenging job market for lawyers, you can do your part to make sure the students who complete your law program graduate prepared to pass the bar exam and competently practice law.

What You Can Do about It

Students pursing law degrees have already demonstrated ambition and drive. These are people who care about their success. Yet the courses they take offer very little feedback. Students willing to improve aren’t given the information they need to do so.

If Tennessee law schools make the relatively minor change of instituting more regular testing throughout the semester, students will acquire the following:

1) More experience with tests that resemble the bar exam.

2) Important information about the progress they’re making in courses.

The testing itself isn’t necessarily the most important part; it’s the data you get out of using embedded assessment that can really help students.

How to Get the Most Out of Embedded Assessment

If you use a testing program like ExamSoft, professors can create their exams and then tag each question with any objective that would be useful in collecting data. This could mean the type of law a question covers, the kind of format a question uses, or the sort of question a student might expect to encounter on the bar exam.

After each test, there’s now data available that can benefit the student, the professor, and the law school, including the following:

  • Students receive reports that clearly identify their strengths and weaknesses and where they need to be focusing their study efforts for greater efficiency and success.
  • Professors can see what areas students are struggling in and make changes to the class plan to ensure they’re teaching the information that students need most.
  • The law school’s administration can use the data to gain a big-picture view of what is and isn’t working well for students so that all institution-wide changes will be more likely to succeed.

Tennessee law schools that take advantage of the benefits embedded assessment and ExamSoft can provide can help students perform better on the bar exam.


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