The challenge of assessing student capabilities in legal internships

McNamara, Judith (2008) The challenge of assessing student capabilities in legal internships. In WACE Asia Pacific Conference, 30 Sept - 3rd Oct 2008, Sydney, Australia.

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A fundamental aspect of work integrated learning is the ability of students to perform in the work place. Alignment theory therefore suggests that the assessment of work integrated learning should include an assessment of students’ actual workplace capabilities. Apart from pedagogical issues, feedback from students indicates that they expect performance in the work place to count significantly towards the assessment of work integrated learning. The assessment of students’ capabilities in legal internships is, however, problematic. It will be impractical for the academic supervisor to directly assess capability if there is a large number of students in external placements. If evidence of capability is provided by the student, the student’s ability to articulate his or her own capabilities will interfere with the validity of the assessment. If evidence of capability is provided by the supervisor then the assessment is heavily dependant on the individual supervisor and may be unreliable. This paper will examine the literature relating to the assessment of capabilities in work integrated learning and will consider how pedagogical theory applies to assessment of internships in the legal profession. The paper will be informed by the author's experience in coordinating an undergraduate internship subject in the QUT Law School. It will recommend that a mix of evidence provided by the student, the workplace supervisor and the academic supervisor should be used to assess student capabilities. The paper will propose a model for the assessment of workplace capabilities in legal internships that relies on evidence from a mix of sources.

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ID Code: 15057
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: HERN , work integrated learning, work placement, assessment of student capability, Legal education
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Law and Society (180119)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Past > Institutes > Information Security Institute
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Judith McNamara
Deposited On: 09 Oct 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2014 01:26

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