Monday, June 04, 2007

Teaching to the test....

As I begin the third week of bar review--and let me say how grateful I am that BarBRI is spoon-feeding me the material I need to know--I can't help but think how much bar review is like the reactions to "No Child Left Behind" or the rankings. The goal is to hit those points that can get measured. (The bar itself actually tests application of the law to facts, so it's NOT a by-rote thing.)

A lot of K-12 teachers resent No Child Left Behind, because their days of teaching mastery seem to be behind them. It's improvement on the test scores that gets their administrators rewarded, and thus that law (and the tests that measure progress) shapes the principals' decisions about time and resource allocation. The same is true of the rankings, of course. Schools chase the change of statistically insignificant places on an ordinal ranking system, which in turn forces certain priorities.

The good news for Stanford, of course, is that I doubt I'll affect the law school's rankings next year, no matter how I do on the Nevada Bar.

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