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This article scrutinizes—and ultimately rejects—the recommendations of the Carnegie Report for outcome assessments in experiential legal education. The Carnegie Report argues that practical education should focus on teaching students to mimic the actions of expert lawyers by encouraging students to follow expert protocols, procedures, rules, and checklists that can enable them to deal effectively with lawyering situations. To the contrary, however, an extensive body of cognitive science and neuroscienceresearch on the development of expertise questions the theoretical underpinnings of the Carnegie Report and suggests that educators should focus not on what experts are doing but on what they are thinking as they deal with a lawyering problem. Therefore, this article proposes that outcome assessments in experiential legal education should focus primarily on students learning to reason in practice, and presents an experimental assessment technique designed to evaluate student reasoning in practice. Ultimately, the Carnegie critique developed in this article has significant implications for the drafting of the final ABA standards on outcome assessments which are likely to reach the final stage of the adoption process in late 2012 or early 2013.

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NYU SOL Clinical Law Review





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