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Your assignment:. make the best cookie possible. So what would you make?. Now you will be graded…. Can you succeed in this task? What is “success” in this task? What information are you missing? Did you know that failure to get it right may cost you thousands of $?. Cookie 1.

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Your assignment:

make the best cookie possible.

So what would you make?

Now you will be graded….

Can you succeed in this task?

What is “success” in this task?

What information are you missing?

Did you know that failure to get it right may cost you thousands of $?

Cookie 1

So how would you rate this cookie?

Don’t we need more information?

Allergic to chocolate? F

Going to serve it at a formal dinner? F

For three year olds in clean clothes? F

You have a lot of milk to use up? A

Your kids (or you) deserve a reward? A

You need a chocolate fix? A

The reality is that ANY of these grades could be appropriate given the lack of detail in the assignment and the failure to provide a standard.

What is perfect in some situations can be completely wrong in another.

So how are you supposed to know what to make?

So how are our students supposed to know what to produce in our classes?

Cookie 2

This is what I was looking for….

Rubrics can help clarify assignments and expectations

Student's perspective


I have to write a paper

I don’t know what it should look like, but it needs to be good

I asked the teacher and he/she said look at the syllabus

The syllabus just provides logistical details—word counts, format, etc.

Everyone knows what a good paper looks like, so why do students badger me for details?

Why don’t students follow directions?

They should know how to do this by now

Students don’t seem to understand how to communicate in their fields

What is a rubric?

A rubric outlines a set of criteria by

which student knowledge, skills, or

dispositions/values are assessed.

But isn’t that just a fancy name for a checklist?

It’s not… Rubrics define levels of achievement


What they should be

What they shouldn’t be

Connected directly to your purpose in the assignment (and, hence, the class SLOs)

An aid to guide your students toward success

Flexible and evolving

Developed along with the assignment

Arbitrary or random

Provided to students after the fact only or not at all

Rigid, forcing a specific grade, or static

Produced after the fact to fulfill assessment purposes

So how do I produce an effective rubric?

Determine what skills, information, or dispositions you would like to measure with an assignment. We don’t assign projects/papers just to keep them busy—we expect students to show what they can do or have learned through these projects.

Rethink your normal patterns: do the assignments that we use really teach the skills that matter? Do we grade them on these skills or other (often) unstated skills?

Determine what level of success they need to demonstrate in these skills to achieve the various scores.

  • What skill do we want to see? Creativity? Ability to produce an old standard? Ability to update an old standard? Not burning them? Ability to follow a recipe perfectly?

  • Could we better assess these skills by having them make cupcakes?

  • How burned is too burned? What is the “right” amount of crunch? Can we break these traits down into a range of numerical scores?

Back to the cookies….

Sample Cookie Rubric

So… let’s put this into practice

Creating An

oral presentation Assignment

Starting point: What are we trying to accomplish or assess with the assignment?

  • Organize ideas and communicate orally in a way appropriate to audience, context, and purpose.

  • Use technology effectively to organize, manage, integrate, create, and communicate information, and ideas.

    These show up in our

  • Department PLOs/class SLOs:

    • 1. Students will be able to communicate Organic Chemistry concepts in a professional context.

    • 2. Students will be able to explain the connections between Shakespeare’s time and his writing to a diverse audience.

With your groups, create an assignment that will allow you to measure student learning or skills.

Elements of the assignment:






So what are we going to look for?

Example: integration of appropriate visual elements (pictures/videos), spelling on slides, polish?





These become the criteria for the rubric.

Now we need to define what success and failure are for these categories

Start with the extremes: define a 4 and a 1, and then fill in the middle.

Make sure that there are clear gradations between the various scores.

One last step: test the rubric

Does it leave out key factors that affect the grade? We need to avoid changing the rules at halftime

Can a student understand how to improve after being assessed?

Does it provide data that directly relates to the individual plos and slos, or does it lump information together? (i.e., are you lumping effective communication and content knowledge into one criterion?)

Change it as necessary—the goal of assessment is improvement, so it’s a good thing when you realize that the rubric could be better.

Time to practice

1. Take one of your key assignments that you will be assessing this semester and create a rubric.

2. Exchange your rubric with another program and provide input/learn from their ideas.


Use your AAC Coach throughout the process

We are here to support you throughout the assessment cycle

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