Arthur Miller, Law Professors, Law Schools, Screw-Ups

NYU Law Comes to Reasonable Resolution After Latest Exam Screw-Up

The only people who hate final exams as much as students are the professors who must eventually grade them. Some professors look at finals with open disdain. It takes them away from scholarship and they don’t even get the thrill of hearing themselves talk in a packed lecture hall.

Maybe it’s because so many professors hate giving exams that there seem to be so many screw-ups. Mistakes will happen, but often it doesn’t seem like schools have a clear plan of fixing mistakes in a way that is fair to all students.

NYU Law School has had its fair share of exam mishaps. It’s a long and embarrassing list.

But maybe NYU Law is finally starting to learn from past mishaps. Oh, the faculty still make mistakes when it comes time to administer exams, but this time the solution is that the professor is going to do extra work.

Then again, maybe it’s working extra hard after you’ve made an error that separates this famous NYU professor from the rabble….

It’s weird to see a mistake coming from Arthur Miller of “no, not that Arthur Miller” fame. The man has given more probing exams than a proctologist. But nobody is perfect. A tipster explains:

The great Arthur Miller sent his NYU 1L Civ Pro class the exam instruction sheet. Except…he sent us the whole exam. Lulz.

“Lulz” indeed.

But, look at the quick and conscientious damage control Miller went through. The errant exam was sent at 12:38 p.m. yesterday. By 1:30 p.m., Miller had owned up to the mistake. By 5:00 p.m., Miller had figured out what he was going to do. Here’s the email that he sent to students:

I regret that in trying to send you the examination instruction sheet, the entire exam was included. Since that obviously compromised the exam, I am now in the process of preparing a new examination. As soon as that is done, I will once again send you the instruction sheet. The inadvertently distributed examination therefore provides you with an example of a test constructed for the course you have just completed.

We reached out to Professor Miller for comment, but he was probably too busy getting actual work done to respond.

Notice how this response differs from a lot of others that we’ve seen. The professor immediately acknowledged the mistake and did not try to make it seem like less than it was. After considering options, the professor quickly and decisively made a decision, and that decision required him — not the students — to do extra work.

That’s what should always happen. Accountability. And a solution that puts the onus on the administration to make up for the mistake, instead of the students, and deal with a professor’s screw-up.

Arthur Miller, even in error you’ve shown people how it’s done.

Earlier: At NYU Law, Using The Same Exam Three Times In A Row Is Apparently Not A Problem
Visiting Professor at NYU Makes a Mess of 1L Contracts Exam

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