Objective Law Examinations

In an article on “Objective Law Examinations” in the December, 1921, number of the ILIINOIS LAW REvIww,’ Professor Albert Kocourek gives a somewhat idealistic, and to the present writer an unconvincing, argument for that kind of law school examination where the student is to answer merely Yes, No, or-this last to a limited number of questions-O, (unanswered). The argument is largely statistical, being based on an experiment with fifty-three (53) law students, mainly, if not entirely, of the first year, in the course known at Northwestern as Chattels I, and with fifty-six (56) college students, unacquainted presumably with any but newspaper law and consisting “principally, if not entirely, of psychology students.” The fifty-three (53) law students were subjected to this YEs, No, or DON’T KNOW examination, which is the “objective” or “dogmatic” examination, and also to a case-method question examination calling for reasoned answers. The non-legal college students were, of course, tested by the YEs, No, or DON’T K’Now examination only. The so-called “dogmatic examination” was by oral questions and “special” effort was made to put questions that were free from the very common drawback of “division of authority” ;2 the case-method examination was by written questions. Professor Rocourek sets out the first question of the written or “ratiocinative” examination and the first five questions of the oral or “dogmatic” examination, as follows:’