Using Exemplars to Improve Student Performance in a Contracts Law Research Essay

By David Newlyn, John Juriansz and Liesel Spencer.

Published by The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education

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Contemporary legal education has increasingly moved towards the requirement of an express articulation of assessment criteria and standards in an effort to ensure objective legitimacy in the measurement of student performance. However, the provision of criteria and standards alone are insufficiently robust to ensure that students are adequately equipped with the requisite knowledge to satisfy the course requirements. This paper concerns the second phase of a larger research project which aims to develop students’ grasp of criteria and standards, by the introduction of exemplars in a systematic fashion into the learning resources provided for students in core Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree units. The first phase of the project introduced the use of exemplars into a core LLB unit, Contracts, and sought to determine student attitudes and responses to their implementation. The second phase of the project examined the impact of the provision of exemplars, as a measure of difference in student performance, from 2007 to 2011. The results of the second phase do not conclusively indicate a positive or negative impact on student performance, as a result of the provision of exemplars. The authors, in response to this data, reflect on the implications for possible future use of exemplars to improve student performance.

Keywords: Exemplars, Measuring Changes, Student Results

The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp.83-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 410.841KB).

Dr. David Newlyn

Lecturer, School of Law, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown, NSW, Australia

Dr. David Newlyn PhD, BEd(Hons) Wgong, LLB Syd is a Lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Western Sydney. He has a long history of engagement within the field of education. He teaches and researches in the areas of Business Law, Contract Law, Constitutional Law, Introduction to the Law and Legal Education.

John Juriansz

Lecturer, School of Law, University of Western Sydney, Parramatta, NSW, Australia

Liesel Spencer

Associate Lecturer, School of Law, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown, NSW, Australia