Session 3 – Assessment: Formative and Summative

Transcript for Session 3 with Annotations

Podcast Version for Download


Greg Brandes’ and Nicole Lefton’s Slides (PDF)

Responses to Questions directed to Brandes & Lefton

Responses from CALI to Questions from Q&A and Chat


Harvard Law School expects robust, high-quality online program for the fall 2020

ABA CHAPTER 3 -Program of Legal Education

Dean Greg Brandes Bio

The Benefits of Using Backward Design

SMART – specific and measurable, achievable (or attainable), relevant, and time-bound

CALI’s Law School Success Lessons

CALI Lesson; Metacognition by Nicole Lefton

ABA Managing Director’s Guidance Memo Standards 301, 302, 314 and 315 June 2015

Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co.

BOOK: Legal Reasoning Case Files – by Kris Franklin

RPNow – online exam proctoring

ProctorU – online exam proctoring

Examsoft – secure exam and online proctoring


A law school shall utilize both formative and summative assessment methods in its curriculum to measure and improve student learning and provide meaningful feedback to students.

Interpretation 314-1

Formative assessment methods are measurements at different points during a particular course or at different points over the span of a student’s education that provide meaningful feedback to improve student learning. Summative assessment methods are measurements at the culmination of a particular course or at the culmination of any part of a student’s legal education that measure the degree of student learning.

This session will focus on formative assessment, which can be particularly useful in online teaching. Absent the ability to visually check-in with your students during class to gauge their understanding, formative assessment in online education allows faculty to confirm that their students understand the material. Moreover, low-stakes quizzes, short writing assignments, and discussion forum posts keep students engaged and encourage students to monitor their learning.  

Our speakers are law professors, Greg Brandes and Nicole Lefton.


Greg Brandes

Greg Brandes is a Professor of Law, the former Dean of Concord Law School and San Francisco Law School and a widely known expert on law school teaching and learning, particularly related to assessment and distance education. Along with other founding administrators, he developed the teaching and learning for Concord Law School, including innovative online courses, online classrooms, and assessment models that are today widely recognized as best practices. He has taught Contracts, Criminal Law, Torts, Evidence, Criminal Procedure and first year skills in law school, and, Corporations, Agency and Partnership, Contracts, Sales and Remedies, Family Law, Creditor’s Rights, Civil Procedure, Ethics, and Essay Skills Workshops in bar review. In his consulting and training work, he has lectured extensively on law school teaching and learning, curriculum and assessment, regulation of law schools, and developing faculty cultures, as well as his other areas of expertise in negotiation, management, personal and institutional development, and organizational leadership.

He recently co-edited Working Group on Distance Learning in Legal Education: Collected and Recommended Practices, the 2015 edition of the Working Group on Distance Learning in Legal Education’s guide to distance learning in law schools. He served on Phase II of California’s Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform, which prepared implementing regulations to increase competence of new lawyers in California. He also served on the California Committee of Bar Examiners’ Rules Working Groups I and II, which proposed new regulations for state accredited and registered schools, including regulations that would expand distance education in those schools.

Greg received his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and a B.A. from Marycrest College. He is a member of the state bars of Colorado and Illinois, and is admitted to the bar of the United States Supreme Court.

You can download a free copy of Working Group on Distance Learning in Legal Education from here on CALI’s eLangdell Press


Nicole R. Lefton

Nicole Lefton is an Assistant Professor at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, where she is the Director of Academic Support and Bar Exam Preparation. Before joining Hofstra Law, Ms. Lefton was the Senior Director of Academics at Kaplan Bar Review. In addition, she taught Legal Writing and Lawyering Skills at Cardozo School of Law. Ms. Lefton graduated from Vassar College and received her J.D. from Cornell Law School. After graduating from Cornell, she joined the law firm of Rosenman & Colin as a real estate associate. She then joined Brownstone Publishers, a national legal newsletter publisher, where she began as an editor and eventually became editor-in-chief. Ms. Lefton is admitted to the New York State Bar.

Learning Outcomes:

At the conclusion of this session you should be able to:

  1. Using CALI’s subject outlines, locate at least one CALI lesson that you could use in your course for formative assessment. 
  2. You have now completed a CALI lesson using LessonLink (Study Groups or Myths of Online Teaching) and a quiz created in 10 minutes using QuizWright at CALI’s website. Describe how to use either CALI’s QuizWright® or LessonLink in your course.
  3. List two types of formative assessment you can include in your fall course. 





If you are interested in the mechanics behind multiple-choice questions, work through this CALI lesson, authored by Professor Lefton. Multiple-Choice Questions: Wrong Answer Pathology. 

Discussion forum:

  1. Describe a formative assessment that you have used successfully in your course, including the subject taught. What if any changes would you need to make to use the same formative assessment online? Respond here