CALI Lessons have a reputation as being “just a study aid” for law students. While that is indeed a function that they serve, they can also be a powerful assessment tool for faculty.
What is assessment? Very simply, it’s seeing how a particular student or your class is doing. It can take two forms – formative or summative. Formative assessment monitors student learning throughout the progression of a course. They can take the shape of quizes, rough draft of seminar papers or other low or no point value exercises. Summative assessment evaluates student learning. A mid-term, a final exam or final paper are all examples of summative assessment.
Traditional legal education has been very good at summative assessment, in that we do it. (Whether or not the current essay model actually acurrately assesses learning is a whole other conversation.) Formative assessment, on the other hand, has been lacking. Well, that’s going to change.
ABA Standard 314 (and it’s interpretations) state:
Standard 314. ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNINGA law school shall utilize both formative and summative assessment methods in its curriculum to measure and improve student learning and provide meaningful feedback to students.Interpretation 314-1Formative assessment methods are measurements at different points during a particular course or at different points over the span of a student’s education that provide meaningful feedback to improve student learning. Summative assessment methods are measurements at the culmination of a particular course or at the culmination of any part of a student’s legal education that measure the degree of student learning.Interpretation 314-2A law school need not apply multiple assessment methods in any particular course. Assessment methods are likely to be different from school to school. Law schools are not required by Standard 314 to use any particular assessment method.
Yes, formative assessments are coming your way! Luckily for CALI member schools, they have an assessment tool available right now – CALI Lessons and the CALI Author Software that powers them. Students that use CALI Lessons are able to self-assess either via the explanations that come with every answer in a CALI Lesson or the detailed lesson scoring information that is provided to them after every lesson run. Faculty who use LessonLink or AutoPublish can access that same data about their students. So don’t worry about piles of paper to grade or review…CALI Lessons have the faculty covered in a tidy online report.