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Criteria and standards are not something you develop once and use forever; you'll want to tweak them over time, based on student feedback, questions from markers and from your own experience as you see how others interpret them. As you mark against your criteria and standards, keep notes for yourself so you can remember what needs to be tweaked for next time.
We're all so busy that it's easy to forget the problems; keep note of:
Make sure you also capture feedback from other markers working on your subject as their insights will also help you improve your criteria and standards.
Remember, there is no such thing as the perfect criteria or standards; you will continue to tweak these over time as your confidence and understanding of this new skill grows. Yes, this tweaking goes on all the time – it is part of a continuous improvement cycle even when the skill is not new. Just keep in mind, one of the key benefits of criterion referenced standards based assessment is the self-assessment and improvement that students can undertake when presented with well-written criteria and standards. Try to think of the criteria and standards as a communication tool: they communicate to students (and markers) what you are looking for when you mark their work, and once it has been marked it gives students a clear indication of where they can improve.
Even if you won't be teaching this subject again until next year, reflecting on what worked and what didn't will help you develop new criteria and standards for the subjects you have next session. Your reflections will also be valuable to whoever inherits the subject next time it is offered. If you need assistance, involve others working in the subject, discipline or course, or call on an Educational Designer.
Watch this video to see how Jonathan Howard developed and improved the assessment task and rubric for BIO327. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQvNtc08t_E&t=292s
With the approach advocated here, we are trying to avoid unhelpful, general descriptions that provide little guidance to students (or markers), and ensure there are informative descriptions to distinguish among performance at each level.
For example, consider these descriptors for one criterion within a marking rubric:
|Understanding of the topic||Evidence of an exceptionally high understanding||Evidence of a thorough understanding||Evidence of a good understanding||Evidence of basic understanding||Poor understanding|
Can you see the problems with this rubric?
We can address these issues by providing clear and specific text in the criterion that links back to the learning outcome using action, content and context to format the descriptor. We can also extend the description in the standards to clearly indicate what is required for each grade. This removes the potential for confusion and misinterpretation by both students and markers.
Using one of the learning outcomes for a subject we have reworked the above criterion and standards to more clearly articulate what is being assessed and the standard required to achieve each grade level.
Learning outcome that links to this criterion - Be able to understand the different frameworks through which sociologists and human geographers interpret issues of inequality in society.
Tutorial postings demonstrate knowledge and understanding of major theories of inequality and the forms of inequality in society. |
|The (3) tutorial postings show the students familiarity with tutorial topics and the student can evaluate the relevant theories associated with inequality in society when discussing the topic question.||The (3) tutorial postings show the students familiarity with tutorial topics and the student can compare the relevant theories associated with inequality in society when discussing the topic question.||The (3) tutorial postings show the students familiarity with tutorial topics and the student can interpret the relevant theories associated with inequality in society when discussing the topic question.||The (3) tutorial postings show the students familiarity with tutorial topics and the student can describe the relevant theories associated with inequality in society when discussing the topic question.||No Tutorial Forum postings are made and /or do not show student engagement with online tutorial discussion.|
Information and workshops to help guide you are available here. You can also find some examples to guide you on the Example Rubrics page. If you would like to review your final marking rubric the following Self-evaluation form provides a number of questions that will help. For more information contact the QLT Assessment Leaders.