Law Schools and Learning Outcomes: Developing a Coherent, Cohesive, and Comprehensive Law School Curriculum

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64 Cleveland State Law Review 661 (2016)


This Article details a process that law schools can use to comply with the ABA Standards requiring schools to develop their learning outcomes for the entire institution, academic programs, and courses. At the same time, this process can be used as a roadmap for curricular review and planning. As an example, this Article uses the steps that The John Marshall Law School took to review and change its professional skills curriculum. Part I outlines the accreditation requirements for developing and publishing learning outcomes. Part II provides an overview of the process of curricular planning and development, with a focus on developing learning outcomes. This Article also discusses how assessment and curricular mapping should play a role in curricular planning. Part III details the specific steps schools can take to develop learning outcomes for the law school, academic programs, and courses. Part IV discusses which knowledge, skills, and values should be included in these learning outcomes. The source of these outcomes comes from surveys administered by various law schools, state bar associations, the National Conference on Bar Examiners, and the ABA. Additionally, The John Marshall Law School administered an extensive survey in 2012 to determine the needs of our students and employers to help develop learning outcomes for the school’s professional skills program.