Panel Notes


Prof. Toniatti: Transforming learning outcomes into the curriculum

Prof. Toniatti emphasizes:

- the importance of non legal subjects
- the possibilities of a diploma supplement (see handout)
- the diploma supplement is not a CV, but is something very close to it – the purpose is mobility on the labor market
- the diploma supplement should reflect everything students do during their studies – the law degree is not sufficient for the unified labor market – the degree does not tell the prospective employer what a person can do
- what other activities? Computer skills, foreign languages, internships (and the name of the project through which the internship was performed)
- mobility programs – ERASMUS and others
- joint degrees – degrees awarded by two different law schools in two different countries – these degrees will be emphasized – a joint degree is necessarily connected to access to regulated professions
- Trento has 2 joint degrees – With Paris 13 and with Hamburg PWF
- Non legal subjects – the list should be expanded – along with the traditional subjects – this is a growing practice – i.e. law and language, law and literature, law and economics, law and technology, law and computer science
- Principles and criteria – flexibility – identify the core subjects, but also accommodate the personal interests of students, personalization of the legal curriculum; consistency – students should take non legal activities as a project; proportionality – require consistency within proportionality – the core subjects should have a fundamental role; competition and cooperation with other role schools - synergies with neighboring law schools, rich diploma supplements will attract students, at the same time the law school cannot stand alone in this matter – it needs to cooperate with other law schools
- Non-regulated professions – their role in the future – we should be flexible enough to give learning outcomes in these professions
- The tasks of the law school is becoming more complicated and more difficult

Prof. Kranjc : Law school curricula design

See presentation

Prof. Posch: ECTS and learning outcomes

Prof. Posch talks about:

- abstaining from considering subjects only in contact hours
- ECTS – originally introduced in 1989 in ERASMUS – in Austria discussed for the first time in the mid-90 and introduced in the late 90
- the system is very neglected – it is not “living”
- the reasons for introducing ECTS – student mobility
- reduction of contact hours
- 1 year amounts to 60 credit points per year
- the system is very inflexible
- the problems of an extension to a 5-year curriculum – financial problems dealing with additional money paid for additional lectures (Kollegiengeld) for state-employed teachers
- the ECTS accompanied by a grading system – the ECTS grades are different - this ranks the students on a statistical basis – therefore the statistical data is needed (the percentage in the whole)
- ECTS label
- seminars for candidates for a diploma thesis or a doctoral thesis
- no automatic application to lectures – necessity of the evaluation of each single lecture, course or teacher with regards to the student workload
- the problems of insisting on contact hours – this was a consequence of additional money being paid for additional hours

Mr. Petrak describes the Croatian existing ECTS system and the reformed curriculum

See paper


Prof. Toniatti: Student assessment

Prof. Toniatti talks about:

- different assessment styles at different universities in Italy
- law schools are distinguished by this assessment style
- the goal: a balanced style of assessment
- importance of assessment outside of the law school – the credibility of the law school in the community – in the labor market – it should be accepted
- in general universities in the south are much more generous, the north has higher criteria – but, the north is confident the community knows that the high grades received in Trento are higher then those from for example in Palermo
- the importance of a no-dumping policy – this should not be a way to attract students
- the law degree per se means very little, the credibility of the law school is important
- experiences in Trento – no regulation on the assessment of students
- for non-legal activities – a pass/fail system – internships, languages, computer literacy
- exams – a non-written agreement with students that failures are not registered – they are not computed in the final average – no record of how many times a student has tried to pass an exam – there is no limit – it may be an endless process
- if there is a regular pattern of failure – the dean should advise the student to rethink his decision on studying law
- the highest grades (cum laude) are given (for example in Germany the highest grade is never given – this is not fair) – this is a problem because an Italian student can never receive the highest grade – this is why even lower German grades are translated into the Italian cum laude
- oral and written exams – a growing willingness to have only written exams or both oral and written – the combination is best because the student might not be as good in both types of examinations
- the connection between teaching, written material and exams – teaching is personal, it does not cover all of the teaching material – the written material covers i.e. family law, and the students are expected to know this at an exam, even though this area was not covered
- psychological support – a serious issue – nervousness, tension, poor performance caused by anxiety – the Trento university has psych. support – a very delicate issue – possible offending the student
- the final exam – a written dissertation – rules on grades do exist – in particular for professors – i.e. the tutor always believes his student is the best and proposes the highest grade – for the cum laude a committee of seven must give this grade

Prof. Uzelac : Assessment Methods – identifying possibilities and good practices to achieve competence learning outcomes

See presentation

Prof. Posch notes:

- the provisions in favor of students in Austria – the written exams have to be fixed at the beginning, at the middle and the end of the term – this does not make sense for the big subjects; three repetitions are guaranteed + 4 repetitions (last in front of commission) – he can continue studies at another law school
- a big problem with regard to diploma thesis – English diploma and doctoral thesis – plagiarism has become a truly big problem – several cases found – internet is a problem here as well
- anonymity – written exams – first correction done by assistants, second correction by professor – the student doesn’t use his name, but his registration number – a semi-anonymous system

Prof. Kranjc notes:

- the problem of checking the process of assessment – oral exams are public so they can be controlled through this manner, the same is at written exams – this is the only way to make them controllable – otherwise you cannot trace corruption
- written and oral exams – real life demands both – oral and written expression is needed
- criteria – it is impossible to make them objective – we are assessing intellectual capability – this is a matter of professional responsibility

Prof. Turnover notes:

- the issue of price – students mind id someone is sitting behind them, maybe they are afraid, maybe they don’t want to know the achieved grade – the issue of privacy – in the US privacy is the primary reason, but not objectivity

Prof. Kranjc notes that the exams are stimulating for students – this is a criteria for hiring – it is a competitive world.

Prof. Posch notes

- that the grades are made public, but not with the names, but with the registration number.
- the ranking system – the written diploma thesis is graded differently by each professor – no objective criteria


Prof. Kranjc notes:

- no admission test in Slovenia
- ideas of reintroduction - a two-part test – general culture and an adapted LSAT
- a survey – the correlation was high between study performance and the performance on the admissions test

Prof. Šimonović notes:

- approaches to admissions – to attract, to select, to send a message
- without attracting candidates, there can be no selection
- insufficient number of candidates at Zagreb law school
- PR regarding legal profession and law school – media presence, visiting secondary schools in Zagreb and advertising the law school
- the selection – various ways of this – now there is an unhealthy combination between high school grades and high school knowledge – the problem is in great differences between high schools
- a more sophisticated system – 4 components – high school grades, knowledge (prepared for the admissions test especially for the law school), general culture, intelligence test – legal reasoning
- with each of these criteria we are sending a message to the students, to the public and to potential candidates
- high school grades – giving an emphasis on consistency
- prepared knowledge – diligence and motivation
- general culture – lawyers as intellectuals , and active participants of the society
- intelligence – intellectual qualities of the candidates
- basic tasks – select best candidates, project an image of the best candidates
- limitations – student-teacher ratio, available space
- students not attending classes
- in reality students study for some time form a week to three months
- just for the sake of pushing the reform everyone is set to be equal – this is crazy and must be changed
- subjects will be taught in only one semester
- this is not such a bad system – the problem is in the system of examinations and teaching
- formative assessment – short written exams every month – the student passes the written exam in that way - 80% pass – students are investing in themselves
- students are motivated because the exam is coming soon
- the garbage can model – learn and forget
- unfortunately the student loses control over the entire subject – this is a problem of this system of short written exams

Prof. Toniatti wonders if the PR is brainwashing.

All agree it is brainwashing.

Prof. Uzelac notes that there is always an initial enthusiasm of all students which is usually lost in some time, and is not sure if this is the same effect or a real change. He notes that teaching all subjects through 1 semester is slightly exaggerated. He thinks there should be mandatory stimulation in some situations.

Prof. Šimonović says that :

- there are few students wanting to prepare if the exam is a remote category
- there should be much more formative assessment during the whole course
- students are not stimulated enough to study throughout the whole year
- some students prepare by learning by heart and not by thinking about the matter
- creative approaches – social advantages – reflection of the use of acquired knowledge

Prof. Uzelac notes that we haven’t touched the issue of part- time students – we cannot count them as students.

Mr. Accetto notes:

- students adapt to the culture they come into
- the students know what is expected

Prof. Turković notes the success of the orientation week.

Prof. Šimonović notes that due to lack of facilities it is only possible to keep students active on short-term goals. This is a similar approach as in high school.

Prof. Uzelac notes that this transition is very big and that it is very tough. Lectures should maybe be accompanied with practical exercises or similar activities.

Prof. Petrak notes that we have a too small a staff. Full halls are a change of image, and this might be a way to get more staff.

Prof. Toniatti notes:

- data coming from students in Trento – the best is the experience of friends and relatives, the ranking system in Italy (for law schools), activities of the law schools on the 3rd place – this might be a waste of money
- the law school should show it cares about the students – library, cafeteria, dorms etc.
- all universities in Italy have different fees – lower fees attract students – this should be taken into consideration

Prof. Kranjc notes:

- it would be wrong to change itself into a high school . a lawyer should have an overview of the entire system
- formative assessment should not be the only one
- attendance – this is one with assessment and outcomes

Prof. Turković thanks everyone.