When developing a course, faculty should strive to incorporate sequenced and varied assessment to ensure student have multiple opportunities to track their progress and receive feedback. Both formative and summative assessments should be included in a course’s design.
Formative assessment evaluates student learning over a period of time and provides students the opportunity to improve their skills and achievement based on feedback provided by the instructor. Some examples of formative assessment include weekly discussions, journals, research proposal, or short quizzes.
Summative assessment typically is more comprehensive and evaluates student progress throughout a unit of study or entire course. Some examples of summative assessment include end-of-class projects, essays or reports, or comprehensive final exams.
In order to assist students develop skills and make academic progress, faculty should provide timely and constructive feedback on assessments. Rubrics serve as an effective method not only for providing feedback, but also informing students of your expectations before they submit their work.
Rubrics include assessment criteria, points possible, and requirements for achievement levels. A variety of learning activities use rubrics such as discussion boards, essays, and presentations. As an instructor, rubrics also decrease subjective grading practices. Some additional benefits of rubrics include:
- Explicit expectations are communicated to students
- Indicates the required content and skills to be evaluated
- Provides timely and constructive feedback to students
- Reduces faculty grading time
- Measures student progress toward learning objectives and goals.
As faculty design and create rubrics, they should consider how they plan to guide students in completing the given assessment. Additionally, faculty should reflect on the learning objectives that align with the assessment and think about the types of evidence students should produce to demonstrate their learning and progress.
Begin the rubric by listing specific characteristics students should have in their work; all criteria should be listed in the first column of the rubric. Next, detail what the highest level of achievement looks like for the given assignment. Then, complete the remaining columns and rows with the criteria and lower levels of achievement. As faculty develop their rubrics, they can refer to the Checklist for Quality Rubrics and the AACU’s VALUE Rubrics.
The following resources provide additional guidance on assessments, feedback, and rubrics.
- “Using Effective Assessment Protocols to Maximize Learner Experience (Fulfilling QM Standards 3.4 and 3.5)” a Quality Matters Conference Presentation by Dan Jones
- “Assuring Quality Through Development of Evidence Based Assessment Practices: Case study on the Value of Applying Assessment Data through Quality Matters Standards” a Quality Matters Conference Presentation by Ray Lum
Feedback & Rubrics
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