is an excellent opportunity for legal education to move
beyond the anecdote in the critical area of student learning."
- Gerald Hess - Director, Institute
for Law School Teaching
Quality - Reframing the Discussion
What makes for a learner-centered law school? And how can we tell?
News magazines rank law schools on everything from student LSAT scores and faculty-student ratios to library holdings and employment rates. Alumni, parents, and friends freely share personal experiences and anecdotes, while accrediting agencies and other groups focus on organizational arrangements and resources.
This kind of information reveals some useful things about law school quality, but it doesn't tell us much about what is most important to student learning - whether an institution's programs and practices are having the desired effect on students' activities, experiences, and outcomes.
What is the Law School Survey of Student Engagement?
The Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) is designed to provide reliable, credible information about the quality of the law student experience. This spring, more than 27,000 students at 85 law schools participated in the second national administration of the survey. The survey asks students about their law school experience - how they spend their time, what they feel they've gained from their classes, their assessment of the quality of interactions with faculty and friends, and about important activities. Extensive research indicates that good educational practices in the classroom and interactions with others, such as faculty and peers, are directly related to high-quality student outcomes. The LSSSE focuses on these practices by assessing student engagement in key areas.
The Law School Survey of Student Engagement is:
- An alternative view of law school quality that focuses on learning.
- A versatile, researched-based tool that provides usable information for institutional improvement and responding to interests of accreditors, prospective students, and others.
- An assessment of how law schools are performing on teaching and learning activities.
LSSSE 2008 Survey Administration
Once participating law schools provide a student data file and customized invitation letters, all other aspects of survey administration are handled by LSSSE (contacting students, following-up with non-respondents, data collection, and analysis). LSSSE contacts students via email to invite them to complete a Web version of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement.
In early September the AALS mailed an invitation to participate brochure to all law school deans. The brochure provides details about the LSSSE 2008 survey. If you would like additional information about the LSSSE project, please contact Lindsay Watkins, LSSSE Project Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting Your Results
Participating law schools will receive a detailed report that includes:
- Data file. Individual student responses are reported anonymously. Upon request from the law school, individually identifiable responses from their students may be obtained for research purposes.
- Law school profile. Customized reports of institutional averages and percentages, grouped by class level, of how students responded to all survey items.
- Aggregated comparative responses. Statistical comparisons against the national norms of all participating schools.
- PowerPoint presentation. A customizable presentation template to be used in reporting LSSSE results.
Using Law Student Engagement Data
The Law School Survey of Student Engagement provides law schools with information that they can use almost immediately to improve various aspects of their performance and help students get the most out of their law school experience. Schools can use their survey results in many ways, including:
- Assessment and improvement
- Curricular reform activities
- Alumni outreach
- Grant proposals
- Recruitment and promotion
By participating in the LSSSE, law schools will agree
to the following:
If you have any questions about the LSSSE, please contact:
Lindsay Watkins, LSSSE Project Manager, by email at email@example.com
or by phone at 812-856-5823.
If you have any questions about the LSSSE, please contact: Lindsay Watkins, LSSSE Project Manager, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 812-856-5823.