Full text of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools can be found on the ABA’s website. The relevant standards are in Chapter 3: Program of Legal Education.
Standard 301. OBJECTIVES OF PROGRAM OF LEGAL EDUCATION
(a) A law school shall maintain a rigorous program of legal education that prepares its students, upon graduation, for admission to the bar and for effective, ethical, and responsible participation as members of the legal profession.
(b) A law school shall establish and publish learning outcomes designed to achieve these objectives.
Standard 302. LEARNING OUTCOMES
A law school shall establish learning outcomes that shall, at a minimum, include competency in the following:
(a) Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law;
(b) Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context;
(c) Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system; and
(d) Other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession.
For the purposes of Standard 302(d), other professional skills are determined by the law school and may include skills such as, interviewing, counseling, negotiation, fact development and analysis, trial practice, document drafting, conflict resolution, organization and management of legal work, collaboration, cultural competency, and self-evaluation.
A law school may also identify any additional learning outcomes pertinent to its program of legal education.
Standard 314. ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING
A law school shall utilize both formative and summative assessment methods in its curriculum to measure and improve student learning and provide meaningful feedback to students.
Formative assessment methods are measurements at different points during a particular course or at different points over the span of a student’s education that provide meaningful feedback to improve student learning. Summative assessment methods are measurements at the culmination of a particular course or at the culmination of any part of a student’s legal education that measure the degree of student learning.
A law school need not apply multiple assessment methods in any particular course. Assessment methods are likely to be different from school to school. Law schools are not required by Standard 314 to use any particular assessment method.
Standard 315. EVALUATION OF PROGRAM OF LEGAL EDUCATION, LEARNING OUTCOMES, AND ASSESSMENT METHODS
The dean and the faculty of a law school shall conduct ongoing evaluation of the law school’s program of legal education, learning outcomes, and assessment methods; and shall use the results of this evaluation to determine the degree of student attainment of competency in the learning outcomes and to make appropriate changes to improve the curriculum.
Examples of methods that may be used to measure the degree to which students have attained competency in the school’s student learning outcomes include review of the records the law school maintains to measure individual student achievement pursuant to Standard 314; evaluation of student learning portfolios; student evaluation of the sufficiency of their education; student performance in capstone courses or other courses that appropriately assess a variety of skills and knowledge; bar exam passage rates; placement rates; surveys of attorneys, judges, and alumni; and assessment of student performance by judges, attorneys, or law professors from other schools. The methods used to measure the degree of student achievement of learning outcomes are likely to differ from school to school and law schools are not required by this standard to use any particular methods.
- Managing Director’s Guidance Memo on the Assessment Standards
- Transition to and Implementation of the New Standards
- Comments received during the 2008-2014 standards review process
- Report of the Special Committee on Outcome Measures (July 27, 2008)