Two birds, one stone:combining student assessment and socio-legal research

Potter, Gary and Williams, Catherine (2007) Two birds, one stone:combining student assessment and socio-legal research. Law Teacher, 41 (1). pp. 1-18. ISSN 0306-9400

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Abstract

Assessing students is an essential part of any university law course. Traditional forms of assessment, predominantly examinations and essay type coursework, can be an uninspiring experience for students, who often sit many modules at the same time in a course and who face similar forms of assessment in their modules, again often at the same time. The "strategic learner" may well engage more with the idea of passing the assessment—ticking the boxes for essay writing or exam technique—than the actual subject matter. The social context of the law, the views and experiences of the public, may rarely get a look-in in the learning and assessment process. At the same time marking coursework can be tedious with little or no benefit to the assessor other than again ticking the necessary boxes and getting the students, production line fashion, through the course and qualification. This article examines one way in which student projects can be harnessed both by the academic, for socio-legal research, and be used to enhance the student learning experience. Using recent examples from the authors' own teaching (assessing) experience it aims to demonstrate how setting projects for law students can be a valuable form of learning and assessment, and also a useful and valid tool for the academic researcher exploring socio-legal issues. The article is somewhat descriptive in approach, deliberately so. The aims are to introduce some ideas as to how assessment in law teaching can be made more interesting and more useful for both students and teachers, and also to explore new ways in which teaching, assessment and research can feed off each other allowing academics to maximise the utility of resources. Research funding is increasingly tight, yet the potential resource of student researchers is somewhat under used. We would welcome some debate as to how the method described can be refined.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Law Teacher
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3304
Subjects:
ID Code:
73692
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
18 Jun 2015 05:41
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
01 Jan 2020 09:12