Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight
1. Elizabeth Ruiz Frost (Oregon), Failure Begets Failure: An Examination of the Psychology of Failure and How Law Schools Ought to Respond, 48 STETSON L. REV. 33, 33 (2018) (describing how law schools contend with interim failure (failing a course), as opposed to terminal failure (dismissal)).
From the introduction:
[T]his Article explores how students and professors experience and respond to student failure to better understand why failure begets failure. Part II describes the various approaches to legal education and includes a discussion of some of the internal and external motivations that create pressure for law schools. Those pressures drive schools’ curricular choices regarding failure. Next, Part III illustrates how some American law schools currently work with students who experience interim failure. And finally, Part IV explains some of the root causes of student failure and how that failure affects a student’s opportunities for success going forward. Because of the psychological and cognitive causes and effects of failure, simply requiring a student to retake a failed course can be a meaningless fix for the student. Instead, law schools should be more creative and flexible in addressing student failure, ideally by crafting a remedial course that attends to both the pastoral and academic needs of a failing student. Of course, that requires a significant commitment of resources. At a minimum, law schools that allow a failing student to continue with a course of study ought to require the student to engage in supplemental academic support that coincides with retaking the failed course.
2. While looking up the article above, I came across another piece by the same author: Elizabeth Ruiz Frost, Feedback Distortion: The Shortcomings of Model Answers as Formative Feedback, 65 J. LEGAL EDUC. 938 (2016).
From the introduction:
[T]his article addresses the separate question of whether the use of models can be an effective method for conveying feedback for law school exams and papers. Part II of this article will explain the various purposes of giving feedback. After all, professors have both pedagogical and practical justifications for offering a model answer as feedback. Part III will explore the costs of using models as feedback. More specifically, it explains how students tend to understand model answers and finds that metacognitive and mindset barriers prevent some types of students from learning from model answers. In short, weaker students tend to misinterpret model answers and are less capable of accurately assessing their own work against the model. And finally, Part IV will offer suggestions for using models more effectively to provide feedback. Model answers can be an expedient and illustrative way of demonstrating a theory, principle, or skills, but to be effective they must be paired with additional information like detailed grading rubrics or required professorstudent or peer conferences.
Posted by Louis Schulze (FIU Law).