This report presents the methodology, findings, and recommendations for improved implementation of an evaluation of Law-Related Education (LRE).
LRE is a program of instruction designed to provide students with conceptual as well as practical understanding of the law and legal processes and to equip them with knowledge of both their rights and responsibilities. Many LRE materials provide a foundation for improved citizenship skills, enhanced ability to work within the legal system to settle civil grievances and deal with criminal problems, reasoned understanding of the basis for rules, and favorable attitudes toward law enforcement and the justice system. The courses examined in this study have several features in common; all have used curricula developed by either the Constitutional Rights Foundation, Law in a Free Society, or the National Institute for Citizen Education in the Law; all have had the objective of student behavioral improvement; and all have been taught by persons trained in elements of instruction believed to produce favorable effects on knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. In addition to describing LRE, the introductory section of this report discusses how LRE is related to delinquency prevention, as well as observed trends in implementation and outcome. A section on evaluation methodology provides an overview of the data-collection procedures related to classroom impact evaluation, classroom observation, observation of training, and analysis of the program's institutionalization. Findings relate to teacher training and teaching experience, quality of implementation, the impact of LRE on students, and program institutionalization. The report concludes that the LRE classes studied from 1981 to 1983 were uneven both in quality and in the number and magnitude of favorable outcomes. Most of the classes studied produced valuable outcomes in varying degrees. Recommendations are in six categories: adequate preparation and use of outside resource persons, quality and quantity of instruction, judicious selection and presentation of illustrative material, strategies for affecting friendship choices through student interaction, opportunities for professional peer support for teachers, and involvement of building administrators. 26 references, 8 tables, and appended evaluation instruments
Date Published: January 1, 1984