The Curriculum Committee was given the task of drafting a substantive description of courses that would satisfy the law school’s new upper-level writing requirement.
Currently, the law school requires students to take an upper-level writing course but does not describe the characteristics of a course that will satisfy this requirement.
We recommend that the faculty adopt the following standard that the Curriculum Committee will use to determine whether a course satisfies the law school’s upper-level writing requirement:
A course that satisfies the law school’s upper-level writing requirement must:
- base at least 65% of a student’s grade in that course on written work (not including exams), and
- provide students with an intensive writing experience. A course that provides students with an intensive writing experience will:
- provide students with specific instruction regarding the type or types of written work to be prepared by students in the course, and
- engage students in the process of writing, likely through some, if not all, of the following means:
- each student prepares more than one draft of at least one assignment
- the professor provides individualized feedback to each student on at least one draft of an assignment before each student hands in the final version of the assignment
- each student revises an assignment after receiving feedback from the professor
- the professor and students discuss students’ works-in-progress in class
- the professor meets with each student one-on-one to discuss that student’s writing
- the professor provides individualized feedback to each student on the final version of at least one assignment
- the professor provides feedback to each student or collectively to the class as a whole on each writing assignment.
This standard is intended to ensure that our upper-level writing requirement will be an intensive writing experience1, while maintaining flexibility regarding the specific types of written work that students will prepare and the specific types of writing instruction that will be provided in individual classes.
1 ABA Standard 302 requires that students have “at least one . . . rigorous writing experience after the first year[.]” According to ABA Interpretation 302-1: Factors to be considered in evaluating the rigor of writing instruction include: the number and nature of writing projects assigned to students: the opportunities a student has to meet with a writing instructor for purposes of individualized assessment of the student’s written products; the number of drafts that a student must produce of any writing project; and the form of assessment used by the writing instructor.