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Dr Sarah Lamble - Law

Dr Sarah Lamble received a Birkbeck Excellent in Teaching Award (BETA) in 2013 (jointly with Linda Banner). Her work includes three alternative assessment models across a range of modules in the Law School

1) Skills Workbook - for Understanding Crime (Level 4, 30 credit module)

The Understanding Crime module previously required two, 2000-word essays. Working with Linda Banner, the Associate Lecturer teaching the module, Sarah replaced one of the essays with a skills workbook which better supported student learning. The skills correspond to activities which students have undertaken in class. For more detail about this development, please see the project description.

Skills Workbook (Birkbeck login required)

Marking Guidance (Birkbeck login required)

2) Peer Assessment Workshops - For Theories of Crime and Criminal Justice (Level 5, 15 credits) & Imprisonment & Justice (Level 5, 15 credits)

The peer assessment workshop focusses on training students to give constructive, useful feedback. Sarah first asks students to recall how they felt when they received good or bad feedback in order to identify characteristics of constructive feedback. Then, students complete a self-assessment exercise on an assignment draft using a template. They use the same template to give peer feedback.

During the workshop, Sarah gives students guidance on critical reading. She is also able to give one-to-one advice during the evening while students are completing the templates, so the work-shop acts as a kind of “drop-in” session too.

This workshop is optional but is very well-attended.  Sarah has noticed a difference in performance for those who have attended the workshop, perhaps, in part, because it incentivises students to complete a draft 2 – 3 weeks before the assignment deadline.

Sarah’s description of the workshop for colleagues; her advice to students; and the description of the assignment is available here (Birkbeck login required). The handout to students is also available for Birkbeck staff.

3) Alternative Essay Questions:

Offering students a range of assessment choices and formats is another strategy for inclusive assessment design. As part of this strategy, when assigning essay topics, Sarah tries to provide at least one non-essay based option, where students can apply the same skills set but to a different format. Some examples are listed below. Sarah also allows all students to design their own assessment, subject to approval.


A) Theories of Crime & Criminal Justice (Level 5, 15 credits):

Debate/ Dialogue: Imagine you are the host of a popular TV or radio talk show. Choose at least three theorists whose work we have read for this course (e.g. Foucault, Marx and Engels, Althusser, Said, Haraway, Decartes, Locke, Bordo, Fanon, de Beauvoir, Smith, Hobbes, Weber, Kropotkin, Brown) to invite to your show. Ask the theorists to debate one of the following topics: (a) Antiterrorism legislation in Britain; (b) the use of stop and search powers; (c) racial and class discrimination in the criminal justice system; (d) the English Riots that took place during the summer of 2011. Write a transcript of the conversation.  Note: This question does not require you to follow a traditional essay format. However, it must be properly referenced and/or footnoted and should use quotations thoughtfully.

B) Youth Justice (Level 7, 30 credits)

Policy Analysis: Imagine you are research analyst working for the UN, and your task is to update previous human rights evaluations of Britain’s treatment of young people in conflict with the law.  Write a report on the extent to which current youth justice practice in England and Wales adheres to the principles and standards outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

C) Restorative Justice (Level 6, 15 credits)

Policy Design: Choose a situation of harm or a case of wrongdoing, as reported in the media or elsewhere. You must choose a situation where you can acquire enough detailed information to enable you to complete the task as required. Design a restorative or transformative justice process for addressing this situation. This task will require you to consider the specific context of the situation, the desired outcomes, the people who should be involved, the various needs at stake and the resources available to address it. [Note: Because this topic is policy-focussed you are not required to use traditional essay form and may instead write up your analysis in the form of a policy report.]