Clinical legal education: The assessment of student collaboration and group work

  • M. A. du Plessis University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


Clinical legal education (CLE) should be a mandatory or core course in the LLB curriculum and the focus of a university law clinic must be CLE, namely student training. A recurring assessment challenge is large student numbers. The best solution was found in grouping students together in student firms for collaborative work; this also has strong educational benefits. When assessing students working in collaboration, a fair assessment strategy must be employed, as all group members receive the same mark. Clinicians must develop and implement clear grading criteria, in the form of rubrics, which will enable them to grade numerous assignments consistently and fairly. Peer and self‑assessment are considered to allow for individual marks in addition to the group mark. Models of firm and group‑work assessment and marking criteria are suggested. The use of both collaboration and rubrics can simplify the grading process, which allows clinicians to conduct multiple assessments and feedback consistently and fairly. Samples of a number of rubrics and surveys are provided.


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