What methods did law schools use to evaluate students back in the 19th century and how did these methods evolve into the one formal method – course-end examinations – used by American law schools today?
That’s the question addressed by An Informal History of How Law Schools Evaluate Students, With a Predictable Emphasis on Law School Final Exams, which was just posted on SSRN.
The article examines how law school exams have evolved over the years, from classroom exercises and oral exams, to true-and-false, multiple choice questions, and annual essays. It also looks at exam alternatives, such as moot court, classroom questions, writing exercises, and seminar papers.
The article also includes an extensive appendix of questions from 19th and early 20th century exams. Questions from Christopher Columbus Langdell’s 1883 Contracts exam, Karl Llewellyn’s 1928 Sales exam, and Roscoe Pound’s 1926 Criminal Law exam are just a few that are included.