Rubrics as Defense

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A. "Using Rubrics as a Defense Against Grade Appeals" (article) explains that "[d]eveloping markers or levels of achievement within the assignment (i.e., beginning, developing, intermediate, and exemplary) provides your students with a road map to excellence." 

  • "Putting forth the effort needed to reach each achievement marker is in the hands of the student, and if there is ever a grade challenge, the faculty member has the road map to show where the student ended his or her journey to excellence."
  • "Students understand the criteria to achieve, feedback is clearly provided, and rubrics give faculty the needed documentation of objective assessment that is ever so important for grade appeals and potentially in court.

1. Common Causes of Grades Appeals

  • "[T]he potentially subjective assessments of written essays or clinical skills"
  • "[G]rading ambiguity in which the student and faculty member disagree on the interpretation of required content"
  • "[I]nequity, whereby the student feels others may have gotten more credit for very similar work or content "

2. Benefits of Rubrics

A rubric

  • "provide[s] the criteria for assessing students’ work"
  • "clarif[ies] the instructor’s expectations"
  • "allows for much quicker, fairer, and more transparent grading"
  • "not only provide[s] criteria for reaching those learning outcomes that faculty members desire for their students but also can be used to essentially assess any criteria or behavior."

B. Sample Rubrics 

Sample rubrics for a variety of common activities are available through the Teaching Commons:

  • "7 Assignment-Specific Rubrics" (Market Proposal, presentation report, research proposal in chemistry, teamwork, critical reading and analysis, research paper in history, argument paper in 1st year composition)

C. See Also

D. Online Rubric Resources

  • Artwork Assessment Form, Art rubric for assessment of the discussion & writing on art history, aesthetics, and art Criticism - an assessment form
  • Institutional Assessment and Compliance, Links to seven general education rubrics for assessing electronic, humanities/cultural, math, oral communication, science, social/behavioral sciences, and writing outcomes
  • Rubrics for Assessment, Rubrics for discussions, teamwork, group work, research processes/reports, PowerPoints, podcasts, oral presentations, web pages, ePortfolios, graphic organizers, videos, multimedia, games, simulations, social media (wiki, blog, Twitter), critical thinking, reflection, summary, webquests, writing, math, science, etc.
  • Rubrics Resources, Rubrics for a wide variety of university level assignments and activities
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