15 January 2009

Continuous Assessment and Contracts

NLU requires that its faculty "continually assess" their students. A faculty member can use one or more of several modes of assessment: "snap" tests, announced tests, case studies, class presentations, assignments, and documentation assessment. I believe the minimum numbers of such assessments if four. On Thursday, Professor Amar Singh gave a snap test to his Commercial Transaction students. Eight examination pages were distributed, books and notes were put away, the students wrote their names on the exam, and then the two questions were orally stated. Professor Singh allowed 35 minutes for students to write their answers. He then initialed below those answers and the students are to go to the library, answer the questions again after further research, and then write a critique of their first answers. The sum of all three writings will then be then graded.

Continuous assessment seems particularly useful to the undergraduate experience. An answer-from-memory, answer-from-research, and critique approach is particularly helpful in making the test a learning as well as an assessment exercise.

Given my slack participation in Commercial Transactions, I had the opportunity to teach both sections of Contracts. We moved from the power of acceptance through acceptance. As usual, I suspect the teacher learned more than the students as an analysis of my solution to one of my hypotheticals revealed a distinction between American and Indian law that had previously escaped my attention. Tomorrow we run through contractual capacity and then on to consent, which is treated as a separate topic in India. I handle consent as part of offer and acceptance, not as an independent issue, although my students read a lot about my take on it in my Contracts materials.

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