Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Northwest regional conference, report #1

This past weekend's Northwest Regional Legal Writing Conference was a great success, in no small part due to the many excellent presentations (as well, of course, to the hard work by the sponsoring schools, University of Oregon and Lewis & Clark).

P1030590 Saturday morning's first hour was devoted to the topic "Grading & Critiquing."  Lori Bannai and Mimi Samuel of Seattle University shared a number of hints for positive critiquing, including the following:

* think of each student as your only student

* frame comments in terms of how a supervisor or judge might react to the writing choices

* assume that the student put effort into the writing (in the discussion afterwards, one participant pointed out that a 1-L might not understand what level of effort is expected or necessary to succeed in law school)

* especially when offering critical comments, avoid the word "you"

Helen Anderson of the University of Washington spoke next.  One of her early points was that professors shouldn't mistake guidance for handholding.  She also mentioned that one might consider raising the median grade on assignments during the semester (especially if it's a number-based grade in a letter-grade system), b'c students will feel better about their early grades even if the letter doesn't change at the end.

And so ended the first hour . . .


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