San Diego Law Review


Greg Sergienko

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



are extremely burdensome to grade. The purpose of this Article is to call attention to a variety of alternatives to this traditional format that are more accurate and less burdensome than traditional essay exams.2 Increasing accuracy makes it

possible to determine whether the instruction has been effective, allowing the instructor to address areas of weakness before the course ends and to improve future classes. Decreasing the burden of assessment of student learning allows for faster feedback, which is more effective.' Faster assessment also makes possible frequent assessment, and frequent assessment provides students with the information they need to improve, promoting student learning." Some of these

alternatives are formal-that is, used as a basis for assigning a grade- others are not. Others, although informal, can be important educational

tools themselves. This Article starts by discussing ways in which the quality of assessment can be evaluated. Because essay exams are the predominant mode of examination in law school, this Article then turns to a

discussion of their strengths and limitations. It then deals with non- instructor assessment and multiple-choice questions as alternatives to essay exams.