BELFAST: Built Environment Law, Flowing Assessment

Tim McLernon

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    The formal assessment process acts as an extrinsic motivator of learning in the Built Environment Law curriculum. The old adage “what gets measured gets done” applies. It is widely recognised by teachers in Higher Education (HE) in the U.K. that learning is more enjoyable and meaningful when motivation to learn is intrinsic and accords with Csikszentmihalyi’s [1] ‘flow’ theory; yet the HE system requires formal assessment. Students focus on this assessment for the parameters of their learning. The purpose of the paper is to instigate a dialogue on assessment design for Built Environment Law through an examination of assessment practices, and to report on what works, in terms of promoting student learning whilst satisfying the demands of the HE system. The paper reviews key literature to construct a conceptual framework on why we assess, what we assess, and how to assess. It reports on a longitudinal study of the developing assessment design of an undergraduate Built Environment Law curriculum that focuses on construction contract law and administration, and a postgraduate Built Environment Law curriculum that focuses on legal studies for the construction Project Manager. The paper includes an examination of those factors external to the learning process that impinge on, and shape, assessment design. The prescriptions in the paper are informed by generic findings of data collected from interviews with academics on their constructions of assessment practices, and from focus group interviews with students on their attitudes to assessment. The conclusions highlight those things that create educational difficulties and argue that curriculum design for Built Environment Law, that incorporates only informal assessment with inherent flexibility and freedom, can promote intrinsic motivation to study and promote deeper student learning in this discipline.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of CIB W89 : International Conference in Building Education and Research - Book of Executive Summaries
    EditorsR Haigh, D Amaratunga
    PublisherUniversity of Salford
    ISBN (Print)978-1-905732-36-4 978-1-905732-39-5
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2008


    • assessment
    • flow
    • motivation
    • learning
    • impingements.


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