The Science of Learning Law: Academic Support Measures at Florida International University College of Law
88 The Bar Examiner 2, Summer 2019
5 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 20, 2019
In 2014, Florida International University College of Law (FIU Law) began to implement new academic support measures to continue and extend the school's commitment to our students' law school, bar exam, and law practice success. In 2015, when the Academic Excellence Program (AEP) was fully implemented and my colleague Professor Raul Ruiz took the helm of the school's bar support courses, our students placed first among Florida law schools on the Florida bar examination. Their 89% pass rate was 20.1 % higher than the statewide average, where previously our students usually had placed about 5% above that mark. Since then, FIU Law's students have placed first in six of the last eight exams, finishing a close second in the other two.
We have since received inquiries about the methods the College of Law implemented to achieve these results. "Did you double the number of credits devoted to bar preparation courses?" No, we actually stepped back certain measures. "Did you start tutoring students as they approached the bar exam?" No, because tutoring undermines students' metacognitive skills. "Did you find the silver bullet of predicting bar failure?" No, because such a singular determinant likely does not exist. "Did your faculty start 'teaching to the test'?" No, because teaching to the test is exactly the opposite of what is necessary.
This article critiques some of the mainstream methods of bar exam study and explains the counter-intuitive measures we adopted to support our students' success.
Keywords: academic support measures, bar exam, learning law
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