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Designing Writing Assessments and Rubrics with Dr. Deborah Crusan
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Designing Writing Assessments and Rubrics with Dr. Deborah Crusan

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From the CALPER/LARC Testing and Assessment Webinar Series …

From the CALPER/LARC Testing and Assessment Webinar Series
Download the handouts and ppt: http://larc.sdsu.edu/events/webinars/webinar-crusan/
View the recording: http://vimeo.com/79501398

Webinar Description
In their quest for accountability in assessment, teachers might forget those to whom we should first be accountable: our students. Providing students with clear, accessible, and understandable assessment materials promotes accountability. Unfortunately, assessment of student writing is one of the tasks teachers worry about and, at times, nearly dread.

During this presentation, participants will learn procedures for developing tools for writing assessment that are transparent and understandable to students and that act as both teaching and assessment tools. We will first consider assignment criteria – what is it that we want our students to do? We will then consider the rubric, a grading instrument, which offers objectivity, consistency, clarity in assessing writing and concentrate on holistic, analytic, and to a lesser degree, primary trait assessment. We will also consider when and for what kinds of writing assignments each of these rubrics are most appropriate. Additionally, we will examine the components of rubrics (the criteria, the weight, the description) and the steps in creating a good rubric and how assignment criteria informs rubric creation.

Designing Writing Assessments and Rubrics will consider the issue of accountability in classroom assessment of writing. The absence of fair and transparent assessment often leads to student confusion, slows progress, assumptions of professorial arbitrariness, and quite possibly lack of trust in teacher-student relationships.

Webinar Date: November 14, 2013

Published in: Education, Technology

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  • 1. Designing Writing Assessments & Rubrics 11th LARC/CALPER Webinar on Assessment November 14, 2013 Deborah Crusan, Wright State University, Dayton, OH
  • 2. Please use the chat feature to tell me: • Where are you from? • Are you currently teaching writing? • What’s your favorite writing assessment activity? • Have you used rubrics to assess student writing?
  • 3. POLL: Which statement BEST describes how you feel about assessing writing? a. I find it interesting and challenging b. I accept it as a necessary part of being a writing instructor c. I feel frustrated and/or resentful at least sometimes d. I would rather do almost anything else.
  • 4. When you give a writing assignment, do you provide students with a rubric and a list of criteria for which they will be held accountable on the assignment? a. Yes, I provide criteria/rubrics for every assignment. b. Yes, but not for every assignment c. I seldom provide rubrics/criteria d. I never provide rubrics/criteria.
  • 5. If you do NOT provide criteria/rubrics, what is your reason? a. It takes too much time to create criteria/rubrics b. I don’t believe rubrics are effective c. Rubrics are limiting d. All of the above.
  • 6. Fairness White (1999) reminds us, “We need assessment if we are to improve, but we need to have confidence that the assessment is professional, fair, and honest, that is, in sports terms, that the height of the net stays the same”(p. 203).
  • 7. Reflect on your practice “When we profoundly reflect on our practices, we often realize why we do what we do and how to change if change is warranted. We can and should improve our practices” (Crusan, 2010a, p.2).
  • 8. My writing assessment philosophy I believe that, as a teacher, I need to be accountable to my students for the grades I give them, for the feedback I provide during the stages of writing, and for the information I supply to them about assignments and the assessment of those assignments (Crusan, 2010a, p. 31).
  • 9. CCCC Position Statement (2006): Good writing assessment • Is informed by pedagogical and curricular goals • Does not bow to outside pressures • Engages students in contextualized, meaningful writing • Harmonizes with effective teaching practice • Uses human readers and a variety of readers -- teacher, peer, self • Uses multiple methods.
  • 10. Assessment purposes: Why do we assess the writing our students do? • There are many reasons to assess – placement, aptitude, diagnosis, progress, and proficiency • Our focus today will be in-class writing assessment.
  • 11. Questions? 5-10 minutes • Using the chat feature, ask a question • I’ll try to address as many as I can.
  • 12. How do we assess the writing our students do? Depends on our philosophy of writing • If we believe that writing is a recursive process, we should assess that process through which our students go as well as the final product • This means multiple drafts and time for revision.
  • 13. How do we design assignments? • We need to develop clear writing assignments, so we must ask ourselves questions – In a writing assignment, what is it that we want our students to do? – How can we ensure that our students know what we want them to do? • These questions need to be answered before we can create writing assignments • Developing a criteria list is a good place to start.
  • 14. Criterion: a principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided. Agood criterion should be: – Clearly stated – Brief – Observable – A statement of behavior – Written in language students understand.
  • 15. A few examples of criteria • The topic is introduced with an effective attention- grabber • The writer has used transitions to lead the reader from point to point • All needed citations are included in the text • The essay is free of distracting errors in grammar and mechanics • Of course, students must be given concrete examples of these criteria.
  • 16. Grading guides AKA rubrics • Rubrics can do for a curriculum what objectives do—they can help explain terms and clarify expectations (Crusan, 2010a, p 43) • Rubrics can be powerful tools when they are created specifically for each assignment • They are even more powerful when created with students.
  • 17. Advantages of using rubrics • Rubrics allow for more objective and consistent evaluation • Rubrics necessitate the clarification of teacher criteria • Rubrics clearly show students ways in which their work will be evaluated and what is expected of them • Rubrics raise student awareness regarding peer assessment criteria.
  • 18. More advantages • Rubrics provide feedback to teachers regarding instruction effectiveness • Rubrics provide benchmarks upon which to measure and document progress • Rubrics provide all students the opportunity to succeed at some level.
  • 19. Disadvantages of using rubrics • Broad (2003) claims that rubrics can be limiting • Teachers might feel trapped • Development can be time-consuming • Finding correct language is often difficult • Rubrics might need to be revised often to be usable.
  • 20. Basic rubric creation guidelines • Develop the goals of your course and daily class meetings • Select assessment tasks that provide data aligned with your goals • Develop performance standards for each of the goals • Differentiate performances (categories) based on well-described criteria • Rate (assign weight or value to) the categories • Determine the outcome - formative or summative.
  • 21. Caveat about rubrics • When you create an assignment, create the rubric • Even though we’ll be examining a few classic rubrics, it is best to learn to create your own and create rubrics that truly fit your assignments.
  • 22. In your writing class . . . • Teach students the rubric – the language on it and what those words mean • Give them examples of attention grabbers, transistions, citation • If students are writing at one level, show them a paper at a hgiher level and ask them to figure out what they need to do to reach that level • With a good rubric, students will know why they earned their grade.
  • 23. Questions 5-10 minutes • Using the chat feature, ask a question • I’ll try to address as many as I can.
  • 24. Types of Rubrics • Holistic • Analytic • Primary Trait –See your handout for examples.
  • 25. Holistic Rubric • Generally a 5-6 point scale • Best used for placement and large scale testing • Is impressionistic • Seeks to rate the whole rather than its parts.
  • 26. Analytic Rubric • More detailed than holistic • Looks at parts of essay • Considers content as well as grammar and mechanics • Best for in-class use.
  • 27. Primary Trait Rubric • Analyzes certain language use • More focused • Helpful in the classroom.
  • 28. Activity • You read and rated an essay before our webinar • What was your score? a. 5-6 b. 3-4 c. 2 d. 1 • It’s important to use the language of the rubric to support your score • What is it about the essay that best matches with your score? • It’s important to be able to articulate your reasoning.
  • 29. Thanks for your attention • Contact me at: – deborah.crusan@wright.edu