Get Real: Using authentic assessment techniques to improve law degree academic performance

Book chapter


Wild, Charles and Berger, D. 2015. Get Real: Using authentic assessment techniques to improve law degree academic performance. in: Cermakova, Klara and Rotschedl, Jiri (ed.) Proceedings of the 2nd Teaching & Education Conference, Florence Prague, Czech Republic International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences (IISES). pp. 129-140
AuthorsWild, Charles and Berger, D.
EditorsCermakova, Klara and Rotschedl, Jiri
Abstract

Authentic assessments are closely aligned with activities that take place in real work settings, as
distinct from the often artificial constructs of university courses. The undergraduate law degree
differs from many other degrees, in that it requires arguments to be constructed, at even the most
academic level.
While the traditional ‘paper-based’ assessment strategy provides a pragmatic solution to the
problem of a general lack of time and resources to grade students en masse, the authors believe
that the use of authentic assessment techniques, in accredited and university-run extra and
co-curricular activities (ECCAs), are perfectly placed to augment legal education.
As long as the ECCAs are delivered with academic law degree learning outcomes taken under
consideration, and are rigorously delivered by staff who are trained and experienced to elicit
optimum student performance, students will benefit from authentic assessment in other indirectly
connected areas of their academic lives.
By delivering authentic assessments methods in ECCAs, a combination of formative and summative
techniques used throughout the assessment processes improves student performance, which
thereby has positive cross-impact onto law degree academic performance.
This two-way communicative assessment strategy allows students to benefit from continuous
mid-assessment feedback, which serves to best demonstrate the adversarial nature of the legal
system and the demands placed on lawyers to provide clear, simple, usable legal advice – a skill
best learned in the ECCA authentic assessment environment, rather than in the artificial ‘one-shot’
approach to traditional coursework and paper-based exam assessments, which provides primarily a
summative assessment and/or a weak/unusable formative element in future assessments. Further
benefits, such as increased confidence in critical reasoning skills, also improves the students’
academic performance.
The authors examine data which shows the entry tariff of the entire student cohort, and then the
entry tariff of the student control group who participated in ECCAs in the 2014-15 academic year.
These datasets demonstrate that the control group were a true reflection of the capabilities of the
general student population. By then comparing academic performance of the control group before
and after exposure to ECCAs, the authors assert that there is a correlation between exposure to
authentic assessment techniques, and improved general academic performance.

KeywordsAuthentic assessment; co-curricular activities; enhanced student performance; summative assessment; formative assessment
Book titleProceedings of the 2nd Teaching & Education Conference, Florence
Page range129-140
Year2015
PublisherInternational Institute of Social and Economic Sciences (IISES)
Publication dates
Print27 Sep 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Jan 2017
Place of publicationPrague, Czech Republic
EventProceedings of the 2nd Teaching & Education Conference
ISBN978-80-87927-16-8
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.20472/TEC.2015.002.014
Web address (URL)http://www.iises.net/proceedings/2nd-teaching-education-conference-florence/table-of-content/detail?article=-get-real-using-authentic-assessment-techniques-to-improve-law-degree-academic-performance-
Additional information

© 2015 International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences (IISES)

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