or less preparing for class. Interestingly, the time students spend preparing
for class nearly matches the time faculty expect them to spend. Engineer-
ing faculty expect students to spend 20 hours per week preparing; social
science professors expect 18 hours of preparation, and business faculty ex-
pect students to spend 15 hours per week on class preparation. In spite of
the time they spent preparing for class, 22% of engineering-major seniors
reported that they often or very often attended class without completing
assignments; 14% –16% of other seniors reported they too attended class
without completing assignments. This data suggests that, when students
arrive on campus to start their law studies, they have never had to spend
as much time preparing for class as they will need to, and as undergradu-
ates they have likely developed a habit of failing to fully prepare for class
2. Students struggle with reading comprehension
Reading comprehension is fundamental to learning in law school, because
most material is presented in written text. Reading comprehension is the
process of constructing meaning from text. It involves a cascade of skills:
decoding a word; understanding the word’s meaning; understanding the
meaning of words in a sentence; and understanding the collective mean-
ing of group of sentences. Decoding and understanding individual words
requires that the reader pronounce and define the word and rehearse the
word in context. Sentence and paragraph level understanding arises when
the reader actively engages the text. Such engagement arises when a
reader thinks beyond the text and evaluates the author’s purpose, the con-
tent, or the effect on the reader; synthesizes the text with his prior experi-
ences; links meaning in the text to the reader’s purpose for reading the text;
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