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ExamSoft 4 - 17 Dec 2008 - Main.AndreiVoinigescu
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So I thought this was one of the more appropriate forums for bringing up one of the major issues I have had with CLS throughout my first year and a half here: SoftTest? . Personally, I think that this program is absolutely ridiculous. I understand that CLS does not want us to be cheating during exams, but that is what an honor code is for. Why is it that we are forced to use what is, to be perfectly honest, a horrible program that routinely seems to screw up students' computers (and which for some 3L students who might have wanted to buy a new Mac before law school, forced them to buy a PC) in order to keep us honest during our in class exams? Moreover, I feel that the use of SoftTest? actually punishes students who have taken good notes throughout the term. The reason for this is simple. If you have taken solid notes through an entire term in a 3 or 4 credit class and want to use them during an in-class exam you have to print out what is likely to be around 100 pages and then sift through them during an exam where you don't have much time. However, during an 8 hour take home in which you are allowed to use your notes you can simply search through them on your computer using the "Find" function. How does this make any sense? It seems ridiculous that SoftTest? makes the same exam artificially harder for people taking it in class than people taking it at home (this is especially true for 1L exams where different sections of torts, contracts, etc have different exams, some of which are take homes and some of which are in class). Indeed, it seems to me that the use of SoftTest? for in class exams might actually have a serious and substantive effect on student grades, and I cannot fathom that this is what the CLS administration wanted to happen.
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 I agree that the curve probably should take care of the differences in test conditions, etc. To be perfectly honest my biggest issue with ExamSoft is that it makes me feel like the Law School simply doesn't trust us, which is annoying. The idea that all of the students here who have all worked so hard to get here are not capable of taking a test without the restrictions imposed by SoftTest? seems a little absurd at a law school that is supposed to be one of the best in the country if not the world. However, I also recognize that my sentiments may not be entirely reasonable and that what I perceive to be an insult may not be taken that way by the majority of the student body. Really, I just think SoftTest? is a pretty good example of what is wrong in law school. Our exams aren't preparing us in any way for what we are going to be doing as lawyers. As for multiple choice exams they are truly the bane of my existence here at CLS. Part of the reason for this is that in my experience they seem to be a way for profs to get around having to write new questions each year or read and grade all essay exams (in every instance where I have had multiple choice exams the prof has refused to deliver to the class a full practice exam of multiple choice questions, claiming that it is simply too hard to write new ones which I think is an absurd argument). What frankly bothers me most though is the lack of substantive commentary and feedback we are given after exams. I think of course that this is linked to the aritrariness with which most law professors hand out grades, becuase in most cases, we never get to see their comments on the tests we take. The problem though is that I do not see this changing any time soon

-- AlexLawrence - 16 Dec 2008


While it is true that different people are naturally more comfortable with different styles of examination, it's also true that real world lawyers usually get the benefit of the search function, even when they must work under pressure.

Professors have the option of giving 3.5 or 4.5 hour takehome exams instead of 3 or 4 hour in class ones if they want to allow students to search through their notes. Encourage them to use it.

Take-home exams have the added benefit of allowing those who prefer running open-source operating systems to stay Windows-free.

-- AndreiVoinigescu - 17 Dec 2008

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Revision 4r4 - 17 Dec 2008 - 04:00:31 - AndreiVoinigescu
Revision 3r3 - 16 Dec 2008 - 23:25:29 - AlexLawrence
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