Assessment by Case Studies and Scenarios


Case studies depict real-life situations in which problems need to be solved. Scenario-based teaching may be similar to case studies, or may be oriented toward developing communication or teamwork skills. Both case studies and scenarios are commonly used methods of problem-based learning. Typically, using these methods, teachers aim to develop student reasoning, problem-solving and decision-making skills (Tunny, Papinczak & Young, 2010; Bloomfield & Magney, 2009).

Teachers in higher education are increasingly likely to use case studies and scenarios, particularly in business, law, medicine and the other health disciplines. Science and engineering teachers have made increasing use of them, as they give students opportunities to engage with current issues in a field, making their learning clearly relevant to real-world situations.

Case study is a powerful learning tool used by a small group of people for solving real-world organisational problems. The group meets to discuss ways to resolve these issues. Case study:

  • thrives on a real and complex crisis requiring group members to draw from and share their experiences to help solve the problem (Garratt, 1997)
  • involves developing problem-solving, teamwork and decision-making skills.
  • allows participants to learn by doing, applying what they have learned to a real organisational issue
  • can achieve multiple results simultaneously within a relatively short period (Serrat, 2008).


Case studies

Assessing by Case Studies: UNSW examples

These videos show examples of how UNSW faculty have implemented case studies in their own courses.

A Design for Case Studies with Undergraduate Students - Chris Walker

Authentic Assessment by Case Studies - Chris Walker

Additional information