Diversity in assessment

Case studies

Case studies are commonly used in examination or continuous assessment situations, and are particularly popular in business and management disciplines. Students are introduced to a real or fictional case study, either as individuals or in groups, identify a particular problem, or set of problems, and apply their knowledge of the subject to the case in order to arrive at solutions, giving reasons for such proposals. 

Such cases are not always straightforward to develop, and over-use of case study assessment can limit broad coverage of a syllabus. Group case study projects can be difficult to assess fairly, with students often objecting to the make-up of groups, and claiming inequities in the allocation of marks.

Case studies are, however, a powerful means of engaging students' higher cognitive skills, and when conducted in groups can be highly motivating for students with strong preferences for oral communication and teamworking.