Sunday, January 25, 2009

Manual for question authors and copyright agreement


1. For Concepts and Doctrines, it is ok to have a simple “What is ….? [choose one]” question. However, the choices offered must be definitions of related, similar, or confusing actual legal concepts. For example, a question on the renvoi doctrine will have as possible but incorrect answers the definitions of the transmission theory and the processual presumption. Alternatively, the multiple-response question (see 2 below) works for a concepts question which asks for examples or illustrations of a concept.

2. For Rules, aim for a multiple choice question where more than one answer is correct. This is called the multiple-choice multiple-response question. This format is very good for questions asking the student for an enumeration (such as the grounds for legal separation in the Family Code, or the justifying circumstances in criminal law). All the incorrect answers must seem correct to the average student who has not yet adequately prepared himself for the bar. All the answers (correct and incorrect) must have an explanation (“authorities”) why they are correct or incorrect. The explanation should be long enough to help the student remember the essence of the correct legal rules; it can be as short as a reference to a particular codal provision, such as Art. 777 of the Civil Code.

3. Some unusual case law decisions are good bases for Yes-No questions. An example is the Obrecido case on Art. 26 of the Family Code. Here, you should make an incorrect response that has an attached explanation that seems to make sense, usually one based on an actual dissenting opinion, or on the apparently clear language of a statute. You can give, in the explanation, the dissent as a reference, but state that the majority opinion held otherwise.

4. For each bar subject, we will aim for 100% coverage of concepts and doctrines, and a selection of the important rules. Thus, we have to focus on rules that are not obvious in that they do not readily follow from concept or doctrine. For example, if the basis of a rule is that no one should be unjustly enriched, or the equal-protection clause, it is not a good candidate for a question, since the answer would be too easy, particularly for a multiple-choice or yes-no question.

AGREEMENT ON COPYRIGHT: Each author of a question agrees expressly to assign his/her copyright to the Silliman Bar Review Project administrator (Orlando Roncesvalles) upon submission of his/her question for consideration.

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