The Fruits of Hope: Student Evaluations
40 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2010 Last revised: 14 Dec 2012
Date Written: 2010
The validity and reliability of student evaluations of college and law school teachers have received significant attention among scholars for a long time. This scholarship has included, in recent years, articles about law school teaching evaluations. Among legal writing teachers, a relatively new group of faculty, there has been a widely-held belief that when students evaluate legal writing teachers, the result is poorer or lower scores on evaluations than those received by the teachers of doctrinal or casebook courses.
The purpose of our presentation at “The First ‘Colonial Frontier’ Legal Writing Conference” was not to delve deeply into the larger and sometimes controversial issues of student evaluations, but to demonstrate that legal writing teachers and courses are not doomed to receive poor evaluations from their students. Our position is that the conventional wisdom held by so many in our field is wrong. We believe that legal writing teachers and courses can receive exemplary evaluations from students. We also believe that thoughtful choices about curricular designs and wise decisions about pedagogical techniques can almost ensure high evaluation ratings from students. Furthermore, these curricular elements and teaching methods result in better student performance and greater teacher enjoyment.
Keywords: Law School, Evaluations, Student Evaluations, Legal Writing
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