FAMU Law Students “Pledge” To Use Cutting-Edge Solutions for Student Success

Nearly 250 students at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) College of Law have “pledged” to perform at their highest level as part of an innovative opportunity designed to enhance their academic performance and maximize their chances of success on the bar exam. The students each signed a “Pledge to PASS” on Tuesday, during a pep rally to officially launch the new Project PASS (Performance Assessment and Strategic Support) initiative.

In addition to signing individual pledge forms, students also sealed their commitments to excellence by signing giant pledge boards designated for the first-year, second-year and third-year classes. The pledge boards, which will be displayed in the law school atrium, will be used to track participation. Faculty members and the Student Bar Association (SBA) President have volunteered to serve as team captains who will rally students in their respective classifications to “Pledge to PASS.” The class with the highest percentage of pledgees by Tuesday, February 20, 2018 will be recognized and awarded prizes.

To date, 262 of 524 total College of Law students had signed pledges, with the third-year class leading by a slight margin over the second-year class. The first-year class captains are Professors Rhoda Cato, Maritza Reyes, and Jennifer Smith. The second-year class captains are Professors Patricia Broussard, Ann Marie Cavazos, and Markita Cooper. The third-year class captains are Dean and Professor LeRoy Pernell and SBA President Gregory George.

“We are firmly committed to providing our students with the best available options to optimize their performance during and after law school,” said Interim Dean Pernell. “Our students are dedicated and hard-working. The services available through Project PASS will help to further encourage our students to excel at every step of their law school journey.”

Project PASS takes a comprehensive approach to enhancing student learning, beginning with an assessment of students’ prior academic experiences, continuing through law school, and culminating during bar exam preparation. Project PASS utilizes proven methods to target first-year and upper-level students with uniquely designed teaching tools that will complement existing course work or will be integrated into the curriculum. The FAMU College of Law has partnered with BARBRI and its Center for Educational Development to deliver students an array of Project PASS services at no cost to the students.

Project PASS uses assessment and learning services developed internally by FAMU administrators, as well as tools offered by BARBRI, which has partnered with dozens of law schools to provide academic and testing support beyond bar review courses. As an added bonus, FAMU College of Law students who access the free BARBRI services and later choose to select BARBRI as their commercial bar review provider, will receive a discount on the course.

Entering students were the first to take advantage of Project PASS services when they took part in a two-week extended orientation titled, “Foundations for Law School Success: Boot Camp 2017.” During Foundations, students engaged in workshops designed to teach them critical skills necessary for law school success, while also completing a series of assessments of their skill sets. The results from Foundations and those assessments have been used to help new students craft effective study plans and the initial development of core law school skills.

The first Project PASS service for upper-level law students was administered January 19, 2018 when 150 students sat for a diagnostic exam that focused on their knowledge, comprehension, analysis and application of the law. The diagnostic exam was mandatory for full-time, second-year and part-time, third-year students, and was strongly encouraged for full-time, third-year students. Students received a detailed individual report from BARBRI that explained their performance and offered steps to remediate any areas requiring improvement. In addition, BARBRI hosted a problem solving workshop to review tips and strategies for success in law school and on the bar exam.

“No other law school in the state is providing its students with this extensive amount of resources,” Pernell said. “We not only want to gauge our students’ readiness for the bar exam, we also want to engage these students, our faculty, and staff in a long-term commitment to achieving excellence. Through Project PASS, we are aggressively seeking to improve their performance on the bar exam and to ensure that they are practice-ready when they graduate. ”

Among the other elements of Project PASS are online tools, lectures, practice questions, and outline books to reinforce key rules of law. BARBI will also host workshops to assist students preparing for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, including on-site courses, textbooks, reviews and lectures. Third-year students also will receive complimentary course materials for the Multistate Bar, Law and Skills and the Florida Bar, Law and Skills courses.