16-Point Syllabus Evaluation Rubric

Decorative: The words "Syllabus checklist" with clipart of a clipboard with a checklist on it


1. "Measuring the Promise: A Valid and Reliable Syllabus Rubric - Guide to Assessing the Focus of Syllabi" (pdf) "focuses on four [actually, five] criteria typical of learning-centered syllabi":

  • Learning goals and objectives (or learner objectives)
  • Assessment activities
  • Schedule
  • Overall learning environment
  • Learning activities

It also "break[s] down each criterion into multiple components, and provide[s] a range of options for what evidence of proficiency in those components might look like."

2. Scoring

"Each of the 16 components—designated as essential, important, or less-important—is scored on the strength of supporting evidence."

  • "Strong evidence indicates that many (but not necessarily all) of the characteristics of the component are present in the syllabus and match the descriptions closely."
  • "Moderate evidence indicates that a few of the characteristics of the component are present in the syllabus and/or only partly match the descriptions."
  • "Low evidence indicates that very few of the characteristics of the component are present in the syllabus and/or don’t match the descriptions."

3. Criteria and Components (each explained more fully in the pdf)

a. Learning Goals and Objectives

  • "Learning goals encompass full range of Fink’s dimensions of significant learning"
  • "Course-level learning objectives are clearly articulated and use specific action verbs"
  • "Learning objectives are appropriately pitched"

b. Assessment Activities

  • "Objectives and assessments are aligned"
  • "Major summative assessment activities are clearly defined"
  • "Plans for frequent formative assessment with immediate feedback"
  • "Assessments are adequately paced and scaffolded"
  • "Grading information is included but separate from assessment; it is aligned with objectives"

c. Schedule

  • "Course schedule is fully articulated and logically sequenced

d. Classroom Environment

  • "Tone is positive, respectful, inviting"
  • "Fosters positive motivation, describes value of course, promotes content as a vehicle for learning"
  • "Communicates high expectations, projects confidence of success"
  • "Syllabus is well organized, easy to navigate, requires interaction"

e. Learning Activities

  • "Classroom activities, assessments, and objectives are aligned"
  • "Learning activities are derived from evidence-based practices"
  • "Learning activities likely to actively engage students"

Palmer, M. S., Bach, D. J., & Streifer, A. C. (2014). Measuring the promise: A learning-focused syllabus rubric. To improve the academy: A journal of educational development, 33 (1), 14-36.

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