Rubric Building Blocks: Designing Adaptable Rubrics Based On Learning Objectives
Challenge - Designing effective rubrics
Most rubrics are designed around the criteria of specific assignments. As such, the rubrics are aligned exclusively to each individual assignment. This approach to rubric development creates two major issues: 1) rubrics are only valid for a single assignment, and 2) assignment rubrics often over-emphasize specific assignment guidelines (i.e., page length, citation style, components, etc.) rather than the underlying learning objectives. Further, developing a high-quality rubric requires considerable faculty time and energy; when the rubric is only valid for a single assignment, it may not offer a sufficient return on the instructional time investment. The result of these factors is often a rubric that fails to benefit either the faculty or students. The use of rubric building blocks allows for developing a library of rubric criteria that can be adapted as necessary to create high-quality assignment rubrics.
At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to create adaptable rubric building blocks that allow for the development of individual assignment rubrics based on specific learning objectives.
It comes as no surprise that students focus their time and attention on course activities that directly influence their grades. As such, the development of high-quality rubrics that clearly specify the type of learning desired are increasingly important. Effective rubrics allow students to focus their attention on the targeted learning objectives and provide insights for students on the level of performance deemed necessary to achieve the desired grade. While there is little debate on the educational value and impact of rubrics, creating rubrics that effectively achieve this goal is more problematic. Because most rubrics are designed to assess a single assignment, they tend to over-emphasize specific assignment guidelines (i.e., page length, citation style, components, etc.) rather than the underlying learning objectives. This results in students performing well according to the rubric criteria but failing to meet the intended learning objectives. To address this issue (along with concerns about the time investment required to develop high-quality rubrics), faculty can create rubric building blocks.
Using rubric building blocks, faculty can design rubric dimensions clearly aligned with general learning objectives. From the rubric building blocks, faculty can then pick and choose which learning objectives are most relevant to a given assignment. This allows faculty the creation of “adaptable rubrics” focusing the rubric dimensions/criteria exclusively on key learning objectives (such as critical thinking, information literacy, etc). In this session, we will explore the use of the VALUE rubrics as a starting point for the development of a library of rubric building blocks to be used in the creation of individual assignment rubrics. In addition, we will discuss how the integration of adaptable rubrics allows for the incorporation of increased student agency through assignment menus and assignment customization.
- Construct rubric building blocks aligned with specific learning competencies
- Differentiate performance levels for targeted learning objectives
- Utilize the VALUE Rubrics to jumpstart the development of a rubric building block library
- Create adaptable assignment rubrics using rubric building blocks
- Utilize adaptable rubrics to increase student agency through assignment menus and customization
- Online Learning
- Curriculum Development
- Faculty Development
- Any educator interested in learning more about making effective rubrics
B. Jean Mandernach, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching at Grand Canyon University. Her research focuses on enhancing student learning in the online classroom through innovative instructional and assessment strategies. In addition, she has interests in the development of effective faculty evaluation models, perception of online degrees, and faculty workload considerations. Jean received her B.S. in comprehensive psychology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, an M.S. in experimental psychology from Western Illinois University, and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
Bio current as of February 2022.
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