Saturday, June 17, 2017

High Stakes Testing and Law Schools

I recently read an article about 20 graduating nursing students at Duquesne University who failed to receive diplomas (here). The school selected a minimum score on The Health Education Systems Incorporated exam or HESI, a national test. The students argue that they should not be assessed on a single high-stakes test. Though I have no personal knowledge, flunking 20 out of 156 students at the end of their studies does cause me to raise my eyebrows.

The controversy got me to think about the high stakes tests in legal education. The LSAT is a high stakes test that plays a major role in determining whether a student gains admission or where a student gains admission. US News rankings rely heavily on LSAT scores and thus perpetuate their status as a high stakes test. Law school courses that base grades on a single end-of-term exam also employ high stakes tests. The bar exam is a high stakes test.

Are high stakes tests the best way to assess the ability of law students?


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A potential solution from the bar exam perspective is to make the assessment more formative rather than summative though it is controversial to condition law school performance on a bar exam format where part of the bar is administered while in law school.

Posted by: Greg Bordelon | Jun 18, 2017 7:58:43 AM

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