First-year Class Wins Pledge- to- Pass Competition

The first-year class of full-time day and part-time evening students at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) College of Law outpaced the upper-classes during a week-long campaign designed to rally participation in the new Project PASS (Performance Assessment and Strategic Support) initiative.

First-year students drew more than 74 percent of their classmates to sign pledge forms and a giant pledge board, confirming their commitments to utilize the leading-edge tools and techniques available to them through Project PASS. The second-year and third-year classes both finished the competition with 68 percent of their classes signing the pledges. More than 70 percent of the student body of 477 eligible students officially committed to participate in the innovative opportunity developed to help students enhance their academic performance and optimize their chances of passing the bar exam.

Faculty members were enlisted to serve as class captains to encourage students to Pledge to Pass. The first-year class captains were Professors Rhoda Cato, Maritza Reyes, and Jennifer Smith. The second-year class captains were Professors Patricia Broussard, Ann Marie Cavazos, and Markita Cooper. The third-year class captains were Interim Dean and Professor LeRoy Pernell and SBA President Gregory George.

“We are very pleased that the overwhelming majority of our students have enthusiastically welcomed the services offered through Project PASS at no additional cost to them,” said Dean Pernell. “Our faculty and staff have also strongly embraced this initiative because they understand the value of equipping our students with cutting-edge solutions for success.”

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.

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.

Project PASS was launched in Fall 2017 when entering students took part in a two-week extended orientation entitled, “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 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.

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. “Our goal is to gauge our students’ readiness for the bar exam and to respond to that data by taking the steps necessary 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.