Ed Talk: Authentic Assessment and the Law of Torts

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Botched Surgeries, Car Accidents and Authentic Assessment

“As lawyers, they’re going to be writing letters all the time…the authentic assessment reflects what will happen in the real world”


Tina Popa has been championing Authentic Assessment in her Law of Torts course for many iterations. Recognising that it does have it’s own challenges but ultimately the students find it highly rewarding!

Tina Popa having worked as a lawyer was able to identify the skills required as a practicing lawyer, the skills and behaviours that students should have and be able to perform once they graduate. One of the assessments for Tina’s course involves the reviewing of a potential legal scenario, like a car accident or a botched surgery (filmed with actors and based on an authentic legal scenario) and asking students to work in teams to research and respond in a ‘letter of advice.’

Beyond herself, Tina brings in senior legal practitioners to provide feedback on how the responses the students are providing. This contemporary advice on assessment is proving invaluable, being able to provide practical advice on the likes of interview techniques and dealing with difficult clients.

Students could find several scenarios intimidating or hard to approach like interviewing a client in distress, working in teams and being able to give practical real world advice, but sharpening these skills in the classroom means that the learning curve when they’re out in industry isn’t as dramatic. This has been reflected in candid feedback from students who’ve gone onto complete the Juris Doctor.