Rubrics PPT

Using Rubrics to Evaluate
Student Writing
Center for Teaching and Learning
February 21, 2012
Why Rubrics?
• No itemized grading option in Blackboard 8
• Encourage grading uniformity across large
• Reduce real or perceived grading “bias”
• Concretize subjective evaluations
• Peg student achievement to predetermined
• Faster than relying entirely on long-form
Why Rubrics? (Cont)
• Clarify instructor expectations
• Preserve detailed, itemized grading records in
electronic format.
• Avoid student questions about “what counts”.
• Allow students to measure progress during
semester, clearly indicate areas for
• Institutions can require universal adoption and
collect aggregate data
• Reduces qualitative evaluations to quantitative
• Discourages personalized evaluations
• May discourage inclusion of non-technical
criteria (word choice, textual flow, “lyricism”)
• May create impression that quality writing is
strictly a technical matter
• May encourage “formulaic” writing, discourage
Drawbacks (Cont)
• Depersonalizes feedback when not used in
tandem with long-form evaluations
• 3rd party webware may present security concerns
• Advanced software products charge exorbitant
fees for institution-wide use
• Not efficient for “low stakes” assignment where
little or no feedback is provided.
Best Practices
• Distribute rubric form in advance, alongside
assignment instructions
• Explain rubric at time of distribution, detailing
each criterion
• Supplement rubric with long-form evaluations
OR Supplement each criterion with long-form
Suggested Uses
Writing Intensive courses
Large and unwieldy class sizes
Major writing assignments
Final Papers / Final Projects
Student Presentations
Lab Reports (?)
Peer Evaluations (?)
How to Design a Rubric
• Criteria can be designed from scratch or
borrowed from a freely available template.
• Criteria are assigned points values and
descriptive language (Ex: always [fulfills
criteria], often, sometimes, rarely, never….)
• Criteria can be weighted to indicate relative
• Some rubric systems allow for “negative” criteria
Technical Issues
• Some products are Blackboard compatible, but
CUNY’s existing license does not allow
Blackboard to share information directly with 3rd
party webware/software
• Most products allow student rosters to be
• To download students rosters from Blackboard,
go to control panel  grade center  manage 
download  select “comma” delimiter
Technical Issues (Cont)
• Most products allow assignment grades to be
exported, then imported back into Blackboard,
but compatibility issues are likely to arise
• Suggested workaround: Export grades from
software  export complete Blackboard grade
center  copy and paste relevant grading
column into offline grade center  import
revised grade center to Blackboard
• Less technically capable instructors may prefer
to input grades longhand in Grade Center
Case Study
Introduction to Labor Studies
Final Paper Instructions
Due December 23
Your task is to analyze a key debate, conflict, or struggle in the contemporary US labor movement, taking into account multiple
competing perspectives. The bulk of your research should be drawn from primary source materials (eg. newspaper articles,
websites, flyers, pamphlets, press releases). You may also choose to consult secondary sources relevant to your topic (eg.
scholarly articles, books), however this is not required. In addition, your research must include an element of fieldwork. This
can take a number of forms -- we’re defining fieldwork very broadly here. A partial list of acceptable fieldwork activities would
include attending a meeting, participating in a demonstration, conducting an interview, walking a picket line, or visiting a
worksite. When conducting your research you should pay particular attention to the following questions. These are only
guidelines; you are not expected to answer every one.
Who are the major players on each side?
What organization(s) do they represent?
How powerful is each side?
What position has each side taken?
How has each side attempted to counter its opponent’s position?
Are the rival organizations sticking together or splintering?
Are the rival organizations heading towards compromise or confrontation?
Which side appears to be winning?
Why has the winning side been more effective?
What are the prospects for the future?
Case Study (Cont)
Your paper should be analytical, not merely descriptive. In other
words, don’t just summarize recent events -- explain why they
happened. Although you may probably find it useful to refer to recent
events, your focus should be on the issues and ideas surrounding
these events.
Before beginning work on this project, you must submit a proposal
briefly describing your topic along with a preliminary list of
sources. This should be submitted via
email ([email protected]) no later than November
16. I’ll respond to your proposal either by giving you a go-ahead, by
asking you to re-tweak your proposal. In very rare cases, proposals are
rejected entirely, but if you follow this guideline sheet closely you can
avoid that unfortunate outcome. Paper proposals will not be graded
but they are required.
Sample Criteria
• Strength of Argument (15pts)
▫ Is the argument clear and well-defined?
• Quality of Research (10pts)
▫ Did the student gather information from a variety
of quality sources? Are the sources are relevant
and balanced?
• Organization (10pts)
▫ Is the essay logic and methodical?
Sample Criteria (Cont)
• Fieldwork (5pts)
▫ Is the fieldwork well-documented? Does it make a
significant contribution to the author’s argument?
• Depth of Analysis (5pts)
▫ Is the essay intellectually sophisticated? Is there
strong evidence of analytical thinking?
• References (5pts)
▫ Does the student consistently supports his/her
argument by drawing upon specific and
appropriate examples from the text?
Sample Criteria (Cont)
• Improper Quotations Penalty (up to -10)
▫ Quotations are not properly cited or supported by
relevant commentary.
• Grammar and Spelling Penalty (up to -10)
▫ The student does not adhere to basic conventions
of sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and
• Lateness Penalty (up to -20)
Waypoint Outcomes
Elaborate, user-friendly interface
Full Blackboard integration available
Integrated in-text commenting tool
Data aggregation and reporting capability
Premium product
Free, limited-feature edition available
Waypoint Outcomes
Waypoint Outcomes
Waypoint Outcomes
Waypoint Overview
• Basic product, not as slick and technically
sophisticated as Waypoint
• Includes database of sample rubrics
• Pre-fab rubric templates for various subjects
• No Blackboard integration, but possible to
import student roster
• Free
• One component of rCampus course management
system (Blackboard alternative)
• “Freemium” business model
• Works best alongside rCampus gradebook and
other rCampus tools
• Could also be used as a standalone product
• Possible to import student roster from
• iPad friendly
Google Docs (DIY Rubric)
• Google Spreadsheet allows users to simulate the
basic features of other rubric systems
• Can be shared with multiple instructors
• Requires saving multiple copies of each rubric as
individual documents
• Potentially time-consuming
Google Docs (DIY Rubric)
Proprietary Software Options
• Generally offers few advantages over free /
freemium webware
• Offers security to instructors who prefer to keep
student records away from 3rd parties
• Pricing ranges up to $100 for individual usage
• Examples: Rubrix, iSocrates
Future of Rubrics
• Next edition of Blackboard may include a builtin rubric component
• Freemium webware is becoming more
sophisticated, increasingly appealing option
• CUNY may choose to purchase a license for
premium webware if there is enough instructor
• Some departments may wish to create
standardized rubrics for particular assignments