Formative Assessment

This page has been put together to assist those students taking part in the formative assessment exercise. However, it will also be of interest to all students interested in improving their exam performance.

What is formative assessment?

A key feature of formative assessment is that it does not count towards your final grade. It is purely an opportunity to practise using the knowledge and skills that you have acquired through your studies and to receive feedback on how well you are meeting the criteria that are used to determine overall standard of performance. By undertaking formative assessment you will understand in more detail what you are doing well, what you are not doing so well and how to go about doing better next time. You will also be able to understand what is expected from you by the examiners and how your current performance compares to the expected standard. To get the most out of formative assessment exercise it is important that you act on the feedback that you receive so that you can improve your performance next time.

Opportunities for formative assessment

This year, for a small fee, we offered students studying Elements of the Law of Contract and Land Law the option to undertake a problem question set by our examiners and submit it for marking. It was not compulsory to take part. Click here for more information.

We will be offering the same opportunity in the 2014/15 academic year.

Completing the exercise

The purpose of the formative assessment exercise is to provide an opportunity for some helpful feedback that will help you to perform better in future examinations. As such, we do not specify the conditions under which the assessment should be taken. As the best test of your current strengths and weaknesses you may wish to attempt the question under exam conditions, but this is not compulsory and the circumstances under which you complete the exercise will not be taken into consideration during marking.

In preparation for undertaking the assessment you will find it useful to read chapter 11 ‘Answering problem questions’ in Studying Law by Simon Askey and Ian McLeod. Key points to remember include:

  1. Identify the issues – what are the key legal points that arise from the facts that you have been given?
  2. Select relevant legal authority (legislation and/or case law) to support your argument.
  3. Apply the law to the facts as given in the question and make sure you fully explain why the authorities you have selected are relevant to the facts given and to the argument you are seeking to make.

Avoiding plagiarism

As part of improving your writing skills and ensuring that your answer cannot be suspected of plagiarism, we would encourage you to submit your work to Turnitin before you send it to us for marking. This will enable you to make sure that you are not breaching the rules on plagiarism and give you an opportunity to correct any problems before your answer reaches us.

Where plagiarism is detected by our markers it will be pointed out to you in feedback and taken into account in allocating indicative grades. However, it is in your own interests to avoid plagiarism from the outset so that you can be sure of getting feedback on work that is truly your own attempt at answering the question. Feedback on work which has been plagiarised will be of no value to you since it is not given for work that is genuinely your own. Guidance on avoiding plagiarism can be found on page 19 in the student handbook). You may also find it helpful to look at the examples given here.

For the purposes of those taking part in the formative assessment exercise, please note that you are not required to provide footnotes or a bibliography although be sure to give proper references for cases and legislation where cited.

Examples of formative assessment answers and feedback from 2013/14

Essay Answer Examiner Feedback
Example of Fail Contract / Land Contract / Land
Example of 3rd Contract / Land Contract / Land
Example of 2:2 Contract / Land Contract / Land
Example of 2:1 Contract / Land Contract / Land
Example of 1st class Contract / Land Contract / Land

Please see below the questions set for each course and the marking guidelines used.

Elements of the Law of Contract

Contract Formative Assessment Question

Contract Marking Guidelines

Land Law

Land Formative Assessment Question

Land Marking Guidelines