Law students at their desks in classroom

How to Create a NextGen-Style Assessment

By Susannah Pollvogt

In a previous blog, I addressed the importance of assessing students’ current readiness for NextGen-style question types, both as a measure of preparedness and as a way of generating traction in faculty discussions of the NextGen Bar Exam. But how to develop such an assessment tool?

As I have discussed elsewhere, the National Conference of Bar Examiners has characterized the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) as the heart of and inspiration for NextGen. Existing MPTs — of which there are many, testing multiple types of work product in various practice areas — can be adapted to this purpose. As always, your academic support and bar passage faculty are the key internal experts for this work. If, however, they lack bandwidth due to their current responsibilities, I am happy to assist law schools with this effort in my consulting capacity with LSAC's Legal Education Consulting group.

I recommend administering such an assessment to 3Ls/4Ls starting now, even though these next few cohorts of graduates will not be sitting for NextGen, because it will give you valuable insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your current curriculum with sufficient time to take action.

Accordingly, a learning outcome assessment can also be paired with a curriculum-mapping effort to provide information on how, when, and where particular skills are being taught. Clinics, externships, and skills classes present excellent opportunities to teach practical lawyering skills of the type tested on NextGen, but not every student has the opportunity to take these courses. Curriculum mapping is another area where the LSAC’s Legal Education Consulting group can assist your law school.

Visit LSAC’s Legal Education Consulting webpage to learn more about how our team can individually tailor services and solutions designed to address your school’s unique needs and help your school achieve its institutional goals.

Susannah Pollvogt

Principal Consultant for Academics and Curriculum, LEC
Susannah Pollvogt is the principal consultant for academics and curriculum for LSAC’s Legal Education Consulting (LEC) group.