|Author||Du Plessis et al|
Clinical legal education (CLE) is a springboard for entry into legal practice, preparing students for the professional challenges they will face after completing their studies and embarking on their legal careers.
In her eight years of conducting research on CLE in South African universities, the author has found that the most urgent needs are in the area of student assessment. Designing a curriculum with assessable content is therefore essential for clinicians who, in certifying students’ capabilities, are the gatekeepers to practice.
This book identifies curriculum requirements across a number of jurisdictions and proposes a menu of assessment methods which may enhance the choices of assessment methodologies available to South African university law clinics. It also covers the setting of parameters for assessment, grading, grade descriptors and moderation systems, and discusses different forms of tests, assignments, essay and oral examinations, as well as self- and peer-evaluation, peer editing, case portfolios, and trial advocacy skills. The book addresses challenges such as clinicians’ heavy workloads and differing levels of experience in supervision and assessment. It discusses challenges students face and presents solutions enabling clinicians to help them depending on their individual experience and needs.
Also discussed are the potential conflicts between the needs of students and those of the local community being served by the law clinic.
Although the aim of this book is to find appropriate assessment methods for CLE, the effectiveness of an assessment programme can only be determined when measured against a curriculum. The proposed curriculum is therefore measured against the identified assessment criteria.