Thursday, December 13, 2007
Just Wondering About None of the Above
Over on Moneylaw I have posted my annual objection to multiple choice machine graded exams (MCMG) for law students. To me it is a sign of laziness. And, since it denies the students the opportunity to communicate that they know law is imprecise, fuzzy, and inconsistent, it is also demonstrates a disregard for students. (Of course, students may like them but that is a different question than whether they are consistent with the best possible evaluation.)
One of the consistent themes of this blog has been that elitists have a powerful sense of entitlement. In law teaching it translates into "what is in my self interest must be right." There are many ways this manifests itself, one of which is the all out effort to avoid merit-based decisions. The example of this I have stressed lately is elitist hiring policies. These policies are not supported by a molecule of evidence that an elitist education makes for better law teaching.
If the sense of what is good for me is good for you extends to hiring policies, could it also apply to testing. Is there a correlation between reliance on MCMG exams and elitist tendencies? It stands to reason. MCMG exams save time, do not permit student communications and do not test what law school is supposed to teach -- reasoning and analysis. The only way to get to the conclusion that they are acceptable is to view law school as all about the professors as opposed to the students.
So, as an empirical matter is reliance on MCMG tests correlated with class? If so, does this also mean that missing classes then up went it suits the professors as opposed to the students is also a class related matter. How about traveling on the the School's tab when the travel is actually more for fun than work. Let's add support of programs and centers that are unrelated to the welfare of law school stakeholders.
I cannot conduct that study but if I could my money would be on all these things being more prevalent among elitists than among the few non elitists found in legal education.