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Effective grading (and teaching) through the use of rubrics & use of rubrics for assessment

Effective grading (and teaching) through the use of rubrics & use of rubrics for assessment

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Effective grading (and teaching) through the use of rubrics & use of rubrics for assessment

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  1. Effective grading (and teaching) through the use of rubrics & use of rubrics for assessment Sarah Murnen Kenyon College

  2. Personal Background • Although a psychologist, no particular background in this topic • As Kenyon’s “Assessment Coordinator” from 2002-2006 I learned that: • Some faculty resent the assessment process and see it as extra burden • Departments with faculty who feel burdened by assessment don’t get much out of it • Departments that find a way to integrate assessment with what they already do benefit from the process – they discuss what students are learning and change their teaching methods, assignments, and sometimes their entire curricula to help students learn

  3. Benefits of Ohio-5 Project • To help improve student learning (and faculty teaching) by encouraging the use of rubrics • (Many other benefits to the use of rubrics) • To specifically encourage a focus on creativity and critical thinking, important aspects of a liberal education • To use rubrics for assessing critical thinking and creativity • To show faculty how all of the work they put into grading can be used for assessment purposes

  4. Background Information • Presentation by Dr. Douglas Eder on “Primary Trait Analysis” • Presentation by Barbara Walvoord on the use of rubrics for effective grading • Walvoord, B. E., P& Anderson, J. A. (1998). Effective Grading: A tool for learning and assessment. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA. • Stevens & Levi (2005). Introduction to rubrics: An assessment tool to save grading time, convey effective feedback, and promote student learning. Stylus Publishing: Sterling, Virginia.

  5. Our primary concern is student learning Good practice in undergraduate education (Walvoord, 1998, p. 15): • Encourages student-faculty contact • Encourages cooperation among students • Encourages active learning • Gives prompt feedback • Emphasizes the time that students devote to the task • Communicates high expectations • Respects diverse talents and ways of learning

  6. Walvoord asks (1998, p. 15): “How many of these principles of good practice in some way involve the grading system in your class, the tests and assignments on which that system is based, and your ways of communicating with students about their work and their grades?”

  7. Walvoord’s Argument for Establishing Clear Criteria and Standards for Grading • Saves time in grading process • Allows you to make the process consistent and fair • Helps you explain to students what you expect • Shows you what to teach • Identifies essential relationship between discipline information and processes • Help students evaluate their own and each other’s work • Saves you from having to explain your criteria to students after they have handed in their work, as a way of justifying the grades they are contesting • Helps student peers give each other constructive feedback on plans and drafts • Helps team teachers or teaching assistants grade student papers consistently • Helps teachers of sequenced courses communicate with each other about standards and criteria • Form the basis for departmental or institutional assessment

  8. How to Establish Clear Criteria: Primary Trait Analysis • Developed to score essays on the National Assessment of Educational Progress by Lloyd-Jones in1977 • Creates a scoring rubric that can be used to assess any student performance • Is assignment specific • Can be used for grading • For this project, we will develop rubrics using PTA to measure the critical thinking and creativity we are encouraging in our students

  9. Why take the time to do PTA for grading? • Makes grading more consistent and fair • Saves time in the grading process once the rubric is developed • Can diagnose students’ strengths and weaknesses very specifically in order to teach more effectively • Can track changes in student performance

  10. Process of PTA (Eder) • Identify the “primary traits” – essential or central components of the discipline to be learned by the student • Build a scale for scoring the student’s performance on the trait • Evaluate the student’s performance against those criteria

  11. Key Stages in Constructing a Rubric (Stevens & Levi) • Reflecting - • What do we want from our students? • Why did we create the assignment? • What happened the last time we used the assignment? • What are our expectations for the assignment? • Listing – Focus on particular details of the assignment and what specific learning objectives we hope to see completed (Sometimes helps to imagine the best and the worst performance on the assignment) • Grouping and Labeling the goals together - Organize the results of our reflections in Stages 1 and 2, grouping similar expectations together in what will probably become the dimensions of the rubric • Application – Transfer groupings to a rubric grid

  12. Example: Research Article Critique • Reflecting - • Want students to learn to be critical evaluators of psychological research • The research article critique should start them thinking critically, will follow up with class discussion on each critique, and use multiple critiques throughout the semester to help develop their skills • I expect students will move from description to analysis • Listing – • I have seen students move through Bloom’s taxonomy in a semester using this assignment: Most can show “knowledge” and “comprehension” at the beginning of the course, move to “application,” “analysis,” “synthesis,” and “evaluation” (hopefully). I want to try to capture this process. • Grouping and Labeling the goals together – • see the questions that follow • Application – Transfer groupings to a rubric grid • See the rubric that follows

  13. Research Article Critique Assignment • For each article analysis you are to answer the following questions: • What is the primary question posed by the study? • Is there a hypothesis stated? If so, what is it? • What is the theoretical explanation for the proposed hypothesis? • Briefly describe the way the independent and dependent variable(s) were manipulated or measured • How do the results of the study affect the originally posed hypothesis (or purpose of study)? • Two strengths of the study? • Two weaknesses of the study? • What is a logical extension of the study? Briefly describe a study you could conduct to extend the research

  14. Sample Rubric – Designed for AssessmentACC = Accomplished, AVG = average, DEV = developing, BEG = beginning

  15. Rubric Used for Grading – weight each component

  16. Describing the level of performance on the rubric • Anywhere from 2 to 5+ levels of performance on each trait • Terms used to describe level of performance might be positive and active to encourage motivation in students (suggestions from Stevens & Levi): • Mastery, partial mastery, progressing, emerging • high level, middle level, beginning level • Sophisticated, competent, partly competent, not yet competent • Exemplary, proficient, marginal, unacceptable • Advanced, intermediate high, intermediate, novice • Distinguished, proficient, intermediate, novice • Accomplished, average, developing, beginning

  17. Using Rubrics for Assessment We all need to attend to the issue of assessment, and Walvoord argues that we can make use of what we already do in the grading process

  18. American Association for Higher Education’s “Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning” • Answer questions that people care about • Lead directly to improvement in teaching and learning • Be embedded in the context of learning • Take place repeatedly over time

  19. The rubrics we use for grading can be used for assessment “If we as faculty do not make our learning goals, tests, criteria, and standards explicit and understandable to legislatures, boards, accrediting agencies, and other audiences in ways that meet their needs and concerns, we face the very real possibility that some of the control we currently exercise in the classrooms will be taken away from us. We must deal with assessment, but we need not construct a parallel assessment structure that ignores the assessment we already conduct.” (Walvoord, 1998, p. 5).

  20. How to turn this into assessment Paper 1 Paper 2 Paper 3 Total Prof A Creative1 4 1 2 7 Creative2 4 1 2 7 Critical1 3 1 3 7 Critical2 2 1 3 6 Prof B Creative1 3 2 2 7 Creative2 4 1 3 8 Critical1 3 1 3 7 Critical2 2 1 3 6 Prof C Creative1 4 1 2 7 Creative2 3 2 3 8 Critical1 2 2 3 7 Critical2 2 1 3 6 Prof D Creative1 4 2 3 9 Creative2 4 2 3 9 Critical1 3 2 3 8 Critical2 3 2 4 9 Total 50 23 45

  21. How have faculty been influenced by this process? • “I was able to clarify my expectations for the course by articulating the purpose behind each graded exercise. This helped dramatically in easing anxieties about performance and final grades. Students seemed to appreciate understanding the logic behind the assignments and seeing that each focused on building and assessing a particular skill, rather than merely providing me with another grade.” • “Best of all, I’m looking forward to sharing the process of developing PTA-based rubrics with my students. Specifically, students will work in groups to identify their own PTA-based critical thinking rubrics before they embark on writing a particular essay. I can hardly think of a better way to develop the students’ meta-cognition., i.e., how they think about their own thinking!” • “Yes, we’ve been disappointed with some aspects of student performance (for example synthetic ability) and using the rubric has helped us communicate better with students, and we’re thinking about ways to improve courses to help teach the skills needed to succeed on this senior exercise objective.” • “I have learned a great deal, and I think that my teaching has been positively influenced by this important work. I can also say that my research and scholarship have been impacted by these foci, as well.”

  22. Go to Website for Rubric Samples: