Conference final thoughts

by Paul Maharg on 30/01/2015

The sessions were pretty short — 15 mins, no questions.  Julian mentioned he was bursting to ask questions, make comments, and that was my experience too.  But interestingly, the constant roll of presentations allowed us to see the comparisons and contrasts, the common points between the presentations.  There were some stand out approaches to assessment, and these were invariably the work of experience in working with students, a learning about what students need in specific contexts — a Deweyan approach to learning that dwells upon the transactional (in the epistemological sense) relationship between students and knowledge and skills, and the many other factors that are involved in the multi-factorial environment of legal educational assessment.

There was also a dearth of real assessment and evaluation of the methods.  Very little statistical analysis, very little sense of the literature, too much description of projects, much enthusiasm to be sure, plenty of hard thinking and planning.  But on the whole, insufficient analysis of the results, and insufficient long-term follow up of student feedback, results, etc.

But I can’t end on that note.  This was a really enjoyable and very focused and intense one-day conference, raising lots of issues that got to the heart of assessment issues in legal education.  Many thanks to Alison Bone for organising and pulling together the conference – great work – and to the presenters for presenting their ideas.  Before the end, Nigel Duncan mentioned the possibility of development of papers and how we could do it, based on a paper that we produced a while back.  More to follow later on that.


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