Prof. Daniel Schwarcz of the University of Minnesota Law School and Dion Farganis, a student there, published a piece in the Los Angeles Daily Journal this past week questioning the effectiveness of the “traditional” approach to law school, where grading is based on end of semester exams, where students “typically receive a single piece of feedback consisting of a letter grade.” Daniel Schwarcz and Dion Farganis, Is the Traditional Approach to Law School the Most Effective?, Los Angeles Daily Journal, 5-17-16. As noted, students in traditional legal education “do not receive any systematic, individualized feedback regarding their understanding and mastery of the material in any of their “core” classes. Id. The Minnesota team documented that individualized feedback to students (provided at University of Minnesota Law School in just one of the first year classes) can improve student performance in all classes. Students who received feedback consistently outperformed those who did not. Their recent article is available here.
This is not news to St. Francis School of Law, where all students in every class receive individualized feedback on assignments in every class every week. As a result, St. Francis School of Law first year students outperformed all other schools on the most recent First Year Law Students’ Exam Dean Carole J. Buckner stated, “We believe that feedback is important in every class, for every student, every week, at every level of our Juris Doctor program. Student performance improves dramatically with detailed feedback and close attention to feedback by students.”
The ABA recently started requiring that law schools “provide meaningful feedback” to students. Some ABA Professors are already doing this, as discussed in the Legal Theory Blog by Prof. Lawrence Slolum of Georgetown.
In Minnesota, Prof. Schwarcz and Mr. Farganis conclude that “students who receive individualized feedback in a single class outperform students who do not in all other classes.” However, they are concerned with the “burden” because in a law school class with 80 students it would take 40 hours to provide additional feedback on work product. Daniel Schwarcz and Dion Farganis, Is the Traditional Approach to Law School the Most Effective?, Los Angeles Daily Journal, p. 8, 5-17-16.
St. Francis School of Law has already addressed this issue by limiting class size to 15 students. St. Francis assures that every class provides feedback to every student, weekly, often on multiple assignments, from a professor (sometimes two professors share the teaching in a single class of 15 students) by limiting class size. Students submit their assignments online and professors provide feedback online. St. Francis school of Law professors have substantial experience in the profession they are teaching so that the feedback is meaningful.
For more information on St. Francis School of Law contact our admissions team.