News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Archive for July 25th, 2019

Survey of Legal Research Learning Outcomes and Assessment Plans

Survey Results Pie ChartC|M|Law Outreach & Instructional Services Librarian Laura Ray recently presented a poster at the 2019 American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting on “Legal Research Learning Outcomes and Assessment Plans: A Survey of Current Developments and Methods for Law Librarian Engagement.”  Laura worked with Stacy Etheredge, University of Idaho Law Library Associate Director, in a review of the websites of 84 law schools in 29 states and the District of Columbia.  [Ohio law schools were not included.]  The poster presented a composite summary of readily available law school learning outcomes* and assessment plans** related to legal research.  Only 11 law schools (13.1%) had well developed legal research learning outcomes, and 45 law schools (53.6%) had a simple statement of such learning outcomes.  The poster also presented sample mappings of legal research learning outcomes to law school curricula, performance criteria and measurement instruments for such learning outcomes, and suggested methods for law librarians to engage in the development of such learning outcomes and assessment plans.  In the coming year, Laura and Stacy plan to continue their survey by reviewing the websites of the remaining 112 law schools, as well as contacting law schools not providing information on their websites.

*Standard 302(b) of the American Bar Association (ABA) Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools specifies one of the four minimum learning outcomes to be competency in “legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context.”  **Standard 315 specifies conducting “ongoing evaluation of the law school’s program of legal education, learning outcomes, and assessment methods … to determine the degree of student attainment of competency in the learning outcomes and to make appropriate changes to improve the curriculum.”  Standards 302 and 315 were revised and became legally effective at the end of the ABA Annual Meeting on August 12, 2014, but the ABA did not require the application of these Standards until the 2016-2017 academic year. [See Transition to and Implementation of the New Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools August 13, 2014.]