TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Advice On Writing And Grading Law School Exams

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Policy Questions on Law School Exams:

I've had mixed feelings about policy questions on exams. On the one hand, I fear they can turn into overly-subjective or rambling thoughts loosely related to the course. On the other hand, they can sometimes reflect a student's passion or zeal about the subject, including a deep grappling of elements of the course, that may not be apparent from the rest of the exam. I've come up with pretty good ways to grade these parts—include some clear calls in the question (pick two cases, etc.), require them to address certain elements, and award greater points for deeper analysis.

But each time I've done a policy question, I've noticed that the grading rarely lines up with remainder of the exam. If I have five essays, and one of them is a policy question, for instance, I'll notice fairly high correlations between each of the first four essays. But the correlations with any of the first four essays and the policy question will be almost nonexistent.

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), How to Evaluate Multiple Choice Questions on Your Exam:

I thought I'd share how I go about reading my analysis report for multiple choice exams. ... To do that, I'll offer a portion of a redacted analysis report, and how I use it. ...

[T]here's a wealth of information in these reports. They can help you troubleshoot problems on your exam. If you plan on re-using some questions again in the future, or have the opportunity to modify them, the results can help you improve them for future use.

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