Saturday, December 18, 2010

Outcome/Assessment for Paralegal Programs

Law schools continue to try to decipher the American Bar Association’s call for outcome/assessments of legal education programs. Just what does the ABA have in mind? Paralegal programs that have or seek ABA approval encounter the  same ambiguous requirement. Here is a provision from the ABA Guidelines for the Approval of Paralegal Education Programs:

E. The program must have an organized plan for evaluation, review, and

improvement of the program. There must be regular assessment of the extent

to which a program meets its stated goals and objectives.

F. Assessment and evaluation may be accomplished through assessment tools

that best measure the program’s goals and objectives. The adequacy of the

assessment will be evaluated by:

1. The quality of the assessment instruments and methodology;

2. The frequency with which assessment is conducted;

3. The degree of participation, such as the response rate on surveys, so as to

ensure the validity and reliability of assessment findings;

4. The extent to which input is sought from graduates, employers, students,

advisory committee, faculty, school administrators and a cross-section of

members of the legal community;

5. The written summary and analysis of the assessment findings;

6. The extent to which the results are shared with the advisory committee,

faculty, administrators, and others; and

7. The extent to which assessment findings are used to make changes in the


 Here is an excerpt from  a report form that ABA-approved paralegal programs must submit:

  1. Attach as Exhibit I:

      a. a copy of the program’s written assessment plan;

      b. a list of the assessment activities conducted during the past three years; and

      c. a summary and analysis of the results obtained by each assessment activity.



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