March 18, 2007

Idea for a law school exam.

From The Wise Bard.


reality check said...

I thought the exam was teh question given out at the beginning of the year, but it appears to have been baited and switched for a critique.

Regardless, a 67 will get an A.

dave™© said...

I've got an idea for an exam question:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales: resign or wait to be impeached?

Care to weigh in, O Blithering One?

Maxine Weiss said...

How about neither?

If Janet Reno is considered a hero, after how many? children died under her watch ????

I think Gonzales can ride out his term.

Peace, Maxine

Eli Blake said...

I much prefer to grade math.

True, some of that algebra is very tedious to follow on some student's papers (knowing there is an error somewhere between the beginning and four lines later, but not necessarily clear where it is) but in the end, it's clearly either right or wrong, and I never have to sit there and try to figure out whether someone is having a profoundly deep thought or is just trying to throw a bunch of b.s. up there and get through it.

I'd think that law would be easier to grade than say, English because at least there are some concrete things you could grab onto and say that either the student knows what (s)he is talking about or not, but certainly I think that any subject that involves essays is intrinsically difficult to grade.

dave™© said...

I think Gonzales can ride out his term.

Wow - almost as reality challenged as Professor Blithering Misogynist Idiot. Figures.

Synova said...

I'm impressed.

I don't know what you've done Ann, but you do seem to attract the deep thinkers.

Jim M. said...

I'd be interested in seeing the results of such testing. Would students be more or less likely to defend a position if they had advocated it in the beginning? And how would this compare to established legal types.

hdhouse said...

gosh, a pre-test/content/post-test matrix. Law schools haven't used it? Scary.

I would have thought law school profs would have lined up to do that as a way to trumpet their own teaching abilities. Pre/Post testing is a clear way to demonstrate teaching in "look how effectively I taught"....

With a little strategic interpretation a teacher can appear to be a genius.

and to mr. Gonzales.....i prefer to keep him on. he is funny and dumb as a stick and he serves to pull Bush down to new would be awful for us on the left if he got someone competent in there and late night television would suffer a lack of material.

LutherM said...

Let me see if I have this right; pose a question and get an answer at the start of a course - then the same question at the end, grading the answer. The idea, I suppose, would be to discern if the student learned anything. But how would the student be graded if the answer at the beginning of the course was absolutely correct ?
(In some situations this could happen. For instance, by the time I got to Law School I had already been to Graduate School and had taken Constitutional Law. Changing schools should not change Marbury v. Madison.) Would the bright, informed student seeking an "A" have to elaborate on the initial answer to "prove" the value of the course, and all of the insights supposedly gained ? Of course that would work, but what about the ethics of such an action; would that be "honest"? For the truly moral/ethical person, consider the position of Immanuel Kant: Kant divorces morality from policy, and he makes the point by contrasting two maxims: “Honesty is the best policy,” and “Honesty is better than any policy.” The first maxim is a strategic recommendation. It says, when you want to accomplish something, you’ll have a better chance if you are honest. The second – and in Kant’s mind, superior – maxim takes no notice of strategy. It says, being true to your principles independently of the result they may or may not produce is the only moral way to go.
In the real world, the student seeking the "A" couches the correct answer in verbiage designed to show what was learned through the class, thus validating the insecure professor's sense of worth.

Ann Althouse said...

Picture the technique used in a course like Law and Medical Ethics (the area where Prof. Weisbard teaches). The original question might be about something like whether a person has a right to demand that a doctor help him commit suicide. The student would have to set down his preconceptions about what the right answer is. Reflecting on that position after doing a lot of reading on the subject would be quite valuable. It wouldn't be like a pre-test/post-test in something like math or a foreign language, where the point is to record the amount of progress. It would be a chance to think critically.