Friday, March 15, 2013

More about student preparation for university and graduate work

     A post on the Chronicle of Higher Education blog continues the discussion about students’ preparation for university education. Michele Goodwin cites Kenneth Bernstein’s warning (discussed earlier on this blog) that students are poorly prepared because K-12 teachers perceive a need to “teach to the test” instead of cultivating higher-order thinking. Goodwin laments that those poorly-prepared students have now arrived at the university level. She also charges that “law schools are complicit” as they allow—or promote—grade inflation.

     I see poor preparation reflected in some of my students’ appellate briefs. The Table of Contents for a brief is essentially an outline, but many students don’t know how to draft a coherent outline, even after I cover the topic in class and provide outside resources. When I started teaching legal writing 23 years ago, students understood outlining and I didn’t need to devote much class time to the topic.

Hat tip: John D. Edwards


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