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October 1, 2008

Does U.S. News lock us into using the LSAT for Admissions?

Brian Leiter recently (and properly) critiqued a new admissions program at Michigan Law as an attempt to game the U.S. News rankings.  In short, the new program will admit students who are Michigan undergrads provided they DON'T take the LSAT.  The purpose of this requirement, it seems, is that it allows Michigan Law to take students on the margin without hurting their LSAT-based U.S. News rank.

It is hard to figure out how the requirement not to take the LSAT is anything other than a dodge around taking a hit in the rankings.  This incident, though, also raises an intriguing question.  Some colleges are now de-emphasizing or phasing out the SAT as an admission criteria.  Would law schools be dissuaded from doing the same (relative to the LSAT) because it would smack them in the rankings?

-- Mark Osler

 

October 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 30, 2008

A survey-based examinitation of "law school success"

I just noticed on SSRN this interesting-looking new paper by Leah Christensen, titled "Predicting Law School Success: A Study of Goal Orientations, Academic Achievement, and the Declining Self-Efficacy of Our Law Students."  Here is the abstract:

The study presented in this article asked 157 law students to respond to a survey about their learning goals and motivations for learning in law school. The student responses were correlated to different academic variables, including class rank, LSAT scores, and undergraduate GPA. The study also explored whether any relationships existed between goal orientations (mastery or performance) and law school success (class rank).

The results were illuminating: Despite the performance-based curriculum of law school, the most successful students were mastery-oriented learners.  In contrast, there was no statistical correlation between performance-oriented learning and law school success.  Furthermore, the LSAT score was the weakest predictor of law school success.  The results also illustrated something else about successful law students: There was a cost to their success. Despite high achievement and mastery-oriented learning styles, the more successful law students were also more likely to doubt their individual abilities to understand and apply the law.  In this study, highly ranked law students rated themselves low on academic self-efficacy measures.  Low self-efficacy is a trait more typically associated with performance-orientation.  What accounts for this result?  The answer may lie within legal education's goal structure: a structure completely oriented towards performance.

Posted by DAB

September 30, 2008 in Recommended readings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Future of the Law School Coursebook wrapup

Coverage of the event in the local press and by John Palfrey. Also: Chronicle of Higher Education.

My own takeaways:

Audio recording of the first session

Audio recording of the seciond session

Audio recording of the third session

Audio recording of the fourth session


- Gene Koo

September 30, 2008 in Conferences, Electronic Education, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack