Australian Learning and Teaching Council, Some Innovations in Assessment in Legal Education 2009

Assessment has been described as ‘the process of defining, selecting, designing, collecting, analysing, interpreting and using information to increase students’ learning and development.’

While students learn a specialist body of knowledge at university they also gain other graduate attributes and skills useful in the workforce and for society: critical thinking; communication; interpersonal skills; ethics; lifelong learning; global perspective; futures orientation; adaptability to change; understanding of social justice and Indigenous issues. 

So, tertiary assessment can and must encompass more than the traditional exams and essays. In law, it must be about more than evaluating knowledge of content and capacity to analyse and respond to legal issues. As we expect other things to be learned, some assessment must be linked to those expected outcomes. It should reinforce future learning skills: students should develop the capacity to make complex judgments about their own performance ‘puzzling over what counts as good work and how they will be able to discern whether they are producing it’.

This material has been created as part of the work of the Discipline Based Initiative (DBI) in Law, entitled Learning and Teaching in the Discipline of Law: Achieving and Sustaining Excellence in a Changed and Changing Environment.

The initiative is funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) and is being pursued under the auspices of the Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD). Support for the production of this material has been provided by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

The views expressed in this document do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian Learning and Teaching Council.