The Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions at the University of St. Thomas law school in Minneapolis, MN, has launched a new, searchable, web-based clearinghouse of information regarding law school learning outcomes.
The Learning Outcomes Database includes all learning outcomes that have been published and posted on law school websites throughout the United States and houses them in a single, user-friendly online location. The database is organized in three categories structured around the language of ABA Standard 302:
- Standard 302 (a) — (a) Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law.
- Standard 302 (b) and (d) — (b) Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context; and (d) Other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession.
- Standard 302 (c) and (d) — (c) Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system; and (d) Other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession.
To the extent that law schools have identified learning outcomes more robust than the minimum required by Standard 302, each category lists the full array of learning outcomes with an identification of the law schools that have adopted such learning outcomes along with a delineation of where, within each law school’s learning outcomes, one can find the specific language associated with a specific learning outcome.
The database of learning outcomes also is searchable by law school.
“The Learning Outcomes Database is designed to be a resource that helps all law schools that are in the process of developing learning outcomes by giving them ready access to examples for an array of competencies,” St. Thomas law school Professor Jerry Organ, co-director of the Holloran Center, said. “The resource also makes it easier for law schools with similar learning outcomes to identify each other, which may facilitate more collaboration in development of curricular innovations and assessment tools for some of the less traditional learning outcomes.”
The database will be updated quarterly each May, August, November and February. Holloran Center staff will “sweep” law school web pages to identify additions or changes to the information. The Center also will maintain an archive to allow users to see how law school learning outcomes evolve over time.