A unifying theme of the 2014 Thurgood Marshall Strategic Plan was effective assessment. Assessment is central to helping the Law School measure growth towards its most important institutional goals - enhancing student learning, and preparing students for success on the bar examination and in the profession.
The Assessment Office works with the faculty to develop the framework and models for assessing institutional student learning outcomes, collects data on student attainment of those learning outcomes, and reports data on student learning as part of the Law School Assessment Plan. With the TMSL Center for Legal Pedagogy, the Assessment Office conducts faculty workshops and seminars on best practices in teaching and classroom assessment.
The Assessment Office also conducts statistical analyses of admissions and bar examination data to increase understanding of the success profiles of TMSL students. The research generated by these studies helps to identify individuals or groups of students in need of additional support from faculty and through the Office of Academic Support and Bar Readiness. Research also helps to identify appropriate educational support for all students across the curriculum.
Institutional Learning Outcomes
Each year, the Law School conducts assessment studies and evaluates the data to determine whether students are demonstrating competence in, or mastery of, certain skills and abilities that are important for success in law school and in the practice of law. The process begins by identifying the skills, knowledge, abilities, and traits that are important for student success. TMSL has developed institutional student learning outcomes based on a faculty survey of important 21st century lawyering competencies. From the results of the survey, TMSL faculty adopted a set of core competencies that all TMSL students should possess upon graduation (click here). These competencies form the basis for the following institutional student learning outcomes that are currently assessed through the Office of Assessment:
TMSL Students will be able to:
The 2014 TMSL Strategic Plan calls for mapping the Law School curriculum to determine how it supports the development of skills and competencies that are essential to students’ success as practicing lawyers. The process of mapping helps to identify places in the curriculum where the skills or competencies are first introduced, and where they are being systematically developed during three years of law school. The curriculum map also helps to identify places in the curriculum where fewer opportunities exist for developing these skills and competencies, thereby suggesting a need for adjustments to the curriculum. The mapping project will be completed during Spring, 2016.
Teaching and Assessment
The TMSL Center for Pedagogy and the Assessment Department jointly sponsor faculty workshops and teaching forums featuring our own faculty and nationally recognized experts on teaching and assessment. Past teaching forum topics have included the following:
Kristopher Chrishon, PhD MPH MA
Executive Director Academic Assessment
Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Room 217
3100 Cleburne Street, Houston, Texas 77004