Dannnye K. Holley, Dean and Professor of Law


Docia RudleyOverview
A unifying theme of the 2014 Thurgood Marshall Strategic Plan is 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:

  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically by synthesizing, formulating, and applying principles of law to resolve a legal issue
  • Demonstrate the ability to write critically by organizing and expressing ideas in writing with precision, clarity, logic and economy
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct legal research and writing
  • Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental legal principles in several core legal fields of practice
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct an effective client interview
  • Demonstrate the ability to make effective oral arguments before a court mediator or legal tribunal
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the rules, norms and cannons of professional conduct in the legal profession
  • Demonstrate understanding of the role and importance of attorney pro bono service

Curriculum Mapping
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:

  • The Assessment Spectrum:  Moving from Assessment of Student Work to Program and Institutional Assessment
  • Enhancing Student Learning Through Academic Support, Tutorials, and Faculty Enhancement Grants
  • Bridging the Gap between Law School and the Bar Examination:  Using Best Practices to Help Your Students Prepare for the Texas Bar Examination
  • Bridging the Gap between Law School and the Bar Examination:  Teaching Substance and Skills in the Core Curriculum to Help Your Students Prepare for the MPT
  • Teaching to Make a Difference:  How to Write Measureable Student Learning Outcomes
  • Teaching to Make a Difference: How to Write Formative Measurements that Link to Bar Performance
  • Teaching to Make a Difference:  Connecting Pedagogy and Assessment
  • Law School Assessment

For additional information on current teaching initiatives visit the Center for Pedagogy webpage at http://www.tsulaw.edu/centers/Pedagogy/index.html




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