The Australian Law Students' Association (ALSA) is seeking to have "bad" assessment practices, such as 100 per cent final exams and 24 hour take-home exams, removed from the curricula of Australian law schools.
ALSA has produced an Assessment Practices Policy Document which encourages law schools to avoid certain forms of assessment practices, which ALSA's research indicates are "bad".
The concerns with regard to particular assessment methods identified by ALSA surround the abnormally high incidence of excessive stress, anxiety and depression amongst law students and the low quality outcomes produced by certain methods.
A "bad" assessment practice, according to ALSA, is one that produces stress that is not justified by its educational value to the student, which can be harmful for the student's mental health and contributes little to their legal education.
The 24 hour take-home exams are considered a bad assessment practice because they discourage students from sleeping. ALSA has suggested the exams be shortened to 12 hours or less, or lengthened to 36 hours or more to avoid these adverse consequences.
ALSA's policy document received unanimous support from the Law Students' Societies in attendance at the ALSA Council meeting held during the recent 2010 ALSA Conference in Adelaide, which included most of the law students' societies from universities around the country.
A copy of the Assessment Practices Policy Document can be found on the ALSA website: www.alsa.asn.au