Rubrics, July 24

Hello again! Instead of our scheduled discussion on MOOCs, I think everyone would benefit more from an assignment on rubrics. Since many of you will teach in these online environments or assign multimodal or blended work, you need an idea of how you will grade such projects. You’ll notice the rubric I am using for our online writing activities: this was designed by one of my classes! I sat back (and facilitated when necessary) a discussion of the important elements of this kind of work, and the entire class had to agree.

But is that a good strategy for you? Perhaps you want to design your own rubric ahead of time, maybe letting your class only tweak certain elements? What does our textbook have to say about grading students?

There is also a movement among educators to stop grading altogether, so you may decide that students can grade themselves or that the rough draft/completion of the project influences the grade more than the quality of such work.

So, for this Thursday’s assignment, I want you to design your own rubric. You can pick and choose from the links below or create something entirely new! Respond to this post with your rubric so that the entire class has access to our ideas in one place. 

Here are some links to get you started:

My rubric from the Writing for New Media class

Cheryl Ball’s Assessing Multimedia (look at the lists on p. 67-68 and p. 75)

Kairos peer-review criteria (scroll down to see the four categories)

IML’s Honors Thesis Project Parameters

10 thoughts on “Rubrics, July 24

  1. Krista Bradshaw

    My rubric is below. Please note that I couldn’t attach it, so the format changed when I posted it as a comment. I am also posting it on my blog in its original format. 🙂

     Content is accurate
     Centered around a controlling idea
     Research is thorough and reliable
     Content provides adequate evidence/support to support a valid claim
     Content provides direct reference to course texts
     References are cited appropriately
     Original and thoughtful
    Synthesis and Evaluation
     Effectively combines information from available sources
     Draws valid inferences/conclusions from sources
     Accurately represents sources
     Makes appropriate connections between current topic and other course topics
     Uses substantive textual evidence from sources
     Unified and well-developed
     Prose is fluid
     Word choice is academic and professional
     Prose is well-organized
     Purpose and argument are clear
     Syntax is varied and appropriate for course expectations
    Multimedia Incorporation
     Appropriately related to content
     Not impeded by technical difficulties/quality issues
     Thoughtful and professional
     Shows mastery of available technologies
     Thought-provoking and/or useful
    Audience Awareness
     Considers audience
     Tone is appropriate
     Avoids logical fallacies, generalizations, and stereotypes
     Maintains audience interest
     Encourages audience participation on some level (further research, questions, discussion, etc.)

    1. Rebecca Bridges


      I like how you include audience in your rubric. That helps students prepare for peer-review or think about preparing their multimedia writing for someone besides the teacher or professor. It is extremely important for students, even as young as middle school, to consider an audience of readers besides the teacher. Audience criteria will help set the stage for grading peer review or secondary posts if they are on a blog or discussion board.

      ~ Becca

  2. Kelly Medley

    Warnock talks about grading holistically for smaller writing assignments (blogs, message board posts, etc.) I prefer this method when it comes to lower stakes writing and assignments. My rubric is below. I fashioned it to coincide with a hypothetical “group work” assignment (such as reporting on a specific subject and the findings in a specific location). I welcome feedback!

    **I originally got this rubric from, but I tweaked it to fit more with the online course.

    Like Krista, my rubric looks wonky here in the comment section. If you can’t make it out, let me know and I will post to my blog.

    Point System:

    1 point

    2 points

    3 points

    4 points

    1 pt. One or more members do not contribute to online discussion

    2 pts. Some members contributed to online discussion.

    3 pts. All members contributed equally to online discussion, but not all.

    4 pts. All members contribute equally, and some even contributed more than was required.

    1 pt. Teacher intervention needed often to help group cooperate and stay on task.

    2 pt. Members work well together some of the time. Some teacher intervention needed to keep students on task with assignment.

    3 pt. Members work well together most of the time and there is no guidance from instructor.

    4 pt. All members work well together all of the time; assist others when needed.

    On task
    1 pt. Team needs frequent teacher reminders to get on task.

    2 pt. Team is on task some of the time. Needs teacher reminders.

    3 pt. Team is on task most of the time. Does not need any teacher reminders.

    4 pt. Team is on task all of the time and has everything posted accordingly. Does not need any teacher reminders.

    1 pt. Members need frequent teacher intervention to respond to each other and work appropriately.

    2 pts. Members need some teacher intervention to be able to respond to each other and produce assignment expectations.

    3 pts. All members listen to each other and respond to each other in equal amounts. Work is completed and posted in timely manner.

    4 pts. Each member listens well to other members. Each member speaks in friendly and encouraging tones and is autonomous. Work is completed and posted in timely manner.

  3. Rebecca Bridges

    I like putting together a rubric for an online writing project because this action helps me consider what guidelines require inclusion. When submitting work online, I want students to enhance their creativity. On my rubric, I include creativity because I believe that multimedia writing – or three-dimensional writing in which students include video, audio, links, or graphics – needs to be well-incorporated.

    While I will create a rubric ahead of class, I will also consider students’ ideas about what they think needs inclusion on the rubric. I will require students to reason why something needs adding to the rubric. This gives students another chance to exercise their writing skills.

    According to Scott Warnock, grading in an online writing class needs to include several low-stakes writing assignments because students are more likely to plagiarize (137, 159). While the rubric I’ve created – worth 90 points – is for a high-stakes assignment, it is inspired by a teacher who uses a similar rubric for his Yearbook and newspaper classes. Prior to this rubric, he uses several low-stakes assignments for students to receive constant feedback on assignments. I also believe that several low-stakes assignments saves teachers’ time from commenting on several high-stakes papers. In addition to a holistic rubric, teachers focus on the overall writing while also providing students feedback throughout the semester.

    Content/ Style

    __/ 10 Is the purpose or argument clearly understood?
    __/10 Does the story read clearly from one section to another?
    __/ 5 Does the title tell the topic, main point, or story of the project?
    __/ 5 Are ideas and content presented in new or creative ways?
    __/ 5 Does the story contain a clear introduction, body, and conclusion?
    __/ 5 Are there no or limited number of grammatical errors?

    Multimedia/ Elements
    __/ 10 Are audio and visual parts heard and seen clearly?
    __/5 Do captions related to audio, graphics, and visual elements relate to the project?
    __/ 5 Do videos, graphics, and audio clearly related to the text?
    __/ 5 Do videos, graphics, and audio successfully add to the quality of the project?
    __/5 Is the overall effect of the project (or paper) presented as professional?

    Research/ Analysis
    __/ 10 Does the author synthesize borrowed information?
    __/5 Are sources credible?
    __/5 Do the sources successfully add to the quality of the project?
    __/5 Does the author successfully incorporate sources with content?

    __/5 Is the combination of writing/ analysis, multimedia, and sources presented in a fresh way?
    __/5 Does the writing incorporate a different or unique style?

    Total: ____/ 90 points


    Warnock, Scott W. “Grading: Should it Change When You Teach Online?” Teaching Writing Online. Urbana:
    National Council of Teachers of English, 2009. 134-142. Print.

    Warnock, Scott W. “Intellectual Property: Plagiarism, Copyright, and Trust.” Teaching Writing Online.
    Urbana: National Council of Teachers of English, 2009. 152-162. Print.

    1. Krista Bradshaw

      I like the idea of it being “unique” or “fresh.” So often, I see students reply to a question in the same old boring way. It is quite refreshing to see them think about a new way to present familiar information.

  4. Catherine White

    I decided to do something a little different and make a rubric for online group discussions. I feel like online courses will usually have some element of group discussion and this could help to keep students on track and will help with post quality.
    Discussion Board Assignment Rubric
    Criteria Exemplary
    4 Good
    3 Acceptable
    2 Unacceptable
    1-0 Score
    • Promptness and Initiative
    4 points- Consistently posts on or before the stated due date; Responds to most postings in less than 24 hours.
    3 points- Consistently posts assignment on the stated due date; Responds to most postings within a 24 hour period.
    2 points- Sometimes late with an assignment post; Responds to most postings several days after initial discussion.
    1-0 Points- Does not successfully post the assignment by the due date; Does not respond to most postings.
    • Delivery of Post Consistently
    4 points- Uses grammatically correct posts with rare misspellings.
    3 points- Few grammatical or spelling errors are noted in posts
    2 points- Errors in spelling and grammar
    1 points- Utilizes poor spelling and grammar in most posts; posts appear “hasty”
    • Quality of Post
    4 points- Consistently posts topics related to discussion topic; demonstrates understanding of material and outside source material; expresses opinions and ideas in a clear and concise manner with obvious connection to topic.
    3 points- Frequently posts topics that are related to discussion content; demonstrates understanding of course material; opinions and ideas are stately clearly.
    2 points- Responds to the question posted and makes reference to readings; occasionally posts off topic.
    1-0 points- Responds to the question posted but does not mention the materials from the readings or Posts topics which do not relate to the discussion content.
    • Contribution to Learning Community
    4 points- Response relevant to posting and supports position; frequently attempts to motivate the group discussion; presents creative approaches to topic
    3 points- Response relevant to posting and supports position; frequently attempts to direct discussion and to present relevant viewpoints for consideration by group.
    2 points- Response relevant to posting; occasionally makes meaningful reflection on group’s efforts; marginal effort to become involved with group
    1-0 points- Response not relevant to original posting; does not make effort to participate in learning community as it develops; seems indifferent
    TOTAL= 15-16 points

    1. simone

      I think your rubric is a great way to grade discussions. Commenting on posts is the main way for online students to have discussions with one another, and it is a great way to make sure that students are connecting. Warnock mentions that he gives students small grades for commenting and participating in discussions.

    2. Krista Bradshaw

      I appreciate that you included adding to the discussion or creating opportunities for increased discussion.

  5. simone

    In just about every class that I have taken that required writing assignments, originality seems to always be a part of the criteria. Originality is important because students need to learn to be innovative and mold ideas into their own. They have to put their own twist on something. In order to fulfill the requirements for this component, students have to make their audience see their idea from a perspective that is rarely used.
    Another important component for a rubric is coherence/clarity. The message needs to be clear to everyone. I was once told that when putting a project or paper together, it should be detailed enough that anyone can read it and figure out the subject and message.
    Creativity is extremely important as well. This component is important as far as design, content, and it helps with the originality factor. Being creative requires doing something different. Creativity can really flourish in multimedia projects because students can add all kinds of elements. Students can include pictures, video footage, music, screen captures (not sure what the correct term for that is), voice recordings. So many elements can be added to multimedia projects to present the message.
    An attractive project is great, but it is not the most important thing. Content is a major part of any project. The point is to provide relevant and informative information concerning the project’s topic.

    Research and credibility are key for any academic assignment. Credit has to be given where it is due, and sources should be cited according to the assignment guidelines. As far as depth of research, I think that will show in the finished product.
    All components of my rubric would not have the same amount of points. I am not sure how many I would give for each.

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