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The primary research aim of the Center is to investigate fundamental questions about how legal knowledge is organized and how the cognitive processes that accompany legal knowledge develop with learning and experience.
Each school year, the Center measures incoming law-school students’ skills and abilities through a battery of diagnostic tests including:
- The Learning and Study Strategy Inventory (LASSI) – a measure of the student’s motivation, concentration, time management, information processing, main idea selection, self-monitoring, use of study aids, and test-taking strategies;
- The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal – a measure of the student’s inference-making skills, including assumption recognition, deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning, and argument evaluation;
- The Kolb Learning Style Inventory – a measure of the student’s primary and secondary learning preferences to determine the student’s learning profile(s) for sensing, thinking, reflecting, and acting; and
- The Legal Writing Diagnostic Exam – a measure of how effectively students communicate a formal essay to a specified audience for a stated purpose and how effectively students observe the standard conventions of formal writing, grammar, syntax, usage, and mechanics.
In addition to collecting and analyzing data, the Center reports on the collected data, making the data available to law school faculty members through a series of reports to enable the faculty to better mentor students, pursue teaching methodologies, and plan teaching innovations and interventions.
- LASSI Report
- Watson Glaser Report
- Kolb Report
- Writing Diagnostic Report
Utilizing the data collected, the Center advises and assists students in identifying areas in which students can benefit most from educational interventions.
And, in addition to providing reliable pre-test and post-test data for faculty research and scholarship about teaching innovations and interventions, the Center engages in on-going research to develop new test instruments and test batteries that the law school may use for determining instructional outcomes assessment.
As part of its continuing research, the Center is also engaged in conducting two major educational studies:
- The Bar Passage Study – an examination of the LSAT, UGPA, INDEX, Second and Third Year Required Course Performance, and Third-Year LSGPA as predictors of TMSL bar performance.
- The Diagnostic Correlation Study – an examination of the validity of the LSAT, UGGPA, INDEX, LSI, LASSI, Watson Glaser, and the Legal Writing Diagnostic Exam.
As part of the law school’s overall strategic plan, the results from these studies are designed to assist the faculty in developing an outcomes assessment to demonstrate the effectiveness of instruction. Additionally, the results are designed to assist the faculty in enhancing the law school’s curriculum as certificate programs and concentrations of electives in fields are developed, and joint degree programs are proposed.