The fourth meeting of the Nottingham Law School Legal Education Group was held on Monday 8th June 2009. The LEG, led by Becky Huxley-Binns and Jane Ching, engages in research in legal education and as a result aims to raise the profile, internally and externally, of the teaching quality within Nottingham Law School. This meeting, led by Joy Davies, discussed a number of challenges relating to assessment.
For example (Brown, 1997):
- What kinds of things do we want our students to learn?
- What opportunities are provided?
- What assessment tasks are set?
- What methods of assessment are used?
- Are they worthwhile?
- How much time is spent by students on assessment tasks?
- How much time is spent on setting, marking and managing assessment?
Undergraduates are now recruiting private tutors to help them through their degrees. There are more international students (and international tutors). As discussed at meeting 3, we often have the situation of a marker with X years’ experience in the field marking the work of students with X months (or even less) experience. Undergraduates, however, are now more able to calculate what they need to get in their final exams so as to achieve the coveted 2:1. The recession will only enhance this strategy.
When we summatively assess we (normally) asses as of one time and place. We don’t consider letting students retake infinitely (as with the driving test) or only when they are ready. Do we want people to learn to think or to learn to pass exams? Assessment may quite feasibly inhibit learning.