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Closing the loop: using holistic rubrics for effective assessment and feedback


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How can rubrics help students to improve their performance without increasing staff workload? This paper discusses the introduction of holistic assessment and feedback rubrics in our Business School. It begins by explaining what a holistic rubric is by situating the discussion within the pedagogical literature. It then sets out the benefits to staff and students of using this approach, both in academic terms and for student well-being.

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Closing the loop: using holistic rubrics for effective assessment and feedback

  1. 1. Closing the loop: using holistic rubrics for effective assessment and feedback Sarah Honeychurch Teaching Fellow Adam Smith Business School University of Glasgow @NomadWarMachine 1
  2. 2. Introduction • What is a rubric? • Why use a rubric? • Adam Smith Business School: a case study 2
  3. 3. Why use a rubric? • Assurance of Learning • NSS • Student Experience: Post Pandemic Pedagogy • Staff time: marking and feedback “A good rubric allows me to provide individualized, constructive critique in a manageable time frame.” (Andrade 2005) 3
  4. 4. What is a rubric? • Evaluative criteria • Definitions of quality at different levels • Grading strategy (Dawson 2017) A rubric is an assessment tool that lists the criteria for a piece of work or what counts (for example, purpose, organization, details, voice, and mechanics often are what count in a written essay) and articulates gradations of quality for each criterion, from excellent to poor. (Andrade 2005) 4
  5. 5. What is a rubric? • Different types of marking rubrics – Analytic marking rubrics – A marking grid determining a specific score, grade or percentage – Holistic marking rubrics – A grid with criteria. These inform, but do not determine, grading – Make the students aware of the marking criteria in advance 5
  6. 6. AoL Rubric 6
  7. 7. Management Pilot • Semester 1 and 2, 2017/18 • All Honours courses: rubric for each piece of assessment inserted into course handbook • 1 hour staff sessions to introduce the use of rubrics • Supplementing, not substituting or changing other marking practices or policies 7
  8. 8. Management: Holistic rubric 8
  9. 9. • 2 rounds of EvaSys questionnaires Survey results 9
  10. 10. Student comments • “I have found marking rubrics to be extremely helpful for other classes though and I am sure that they are part of the reason I secured excellent grades for these classes. I think the school would benefit from using these as I felt the rubrics covered most of what I needed to know and therefore minimised the need for me to contact the lecturer for help.” • “Every single course in MGT should have required rubrics. My grades have clearly improved with the introductions of rubrics because I better understand the assignment, expectations, and can guide my work and editing with the aid of the rubric.” • “I really appreciate that Management has started to use marking rubrics (I actually think other subjects would benefit from this as well!) I believe it is an important part in conveying the expectations of assignments for students and also help identifying areas for improvement for the future.” • “Extend them to cover every class. I felt they helped significantly to my understanding of each assignment.” • “Spread the use over the entire university.” • “Assuring that rubrics are not generic and they include details for a specific assignment is very important, otherwise they are not helpful at all.” 10
  11. 11. Taking the pilot forward • Some students felt the rubrics were too generic • Some students thought the rubrics lacked detail: – What does “to expectations” mean? – What does an X grade look like? • Need to embed rubrics in School policies and practices • Need to reflect institution’s Code of Assessment – 3 levels of AoL v 8 levels in CoA 11
  12. 12. UofG Code of Assessment “Schedule A” 12
  13. 13. Rubric redesign 13
  14. 14. title • Course ILOs • Assessment ILO(s) • Assessment Criteria • Develop descriptors for “good” (use Blooms) • Develop +/- descriptors • Ask a colleague to sense check it • Available for students at beginning of course • Used for marking and feedback 14
  15. 15. Moving forward • Coursework briefing template – Must provide assessment criteria – Opt in to develop rubric • Rubrics toolkit: – Template – Worked example – Rationale (staff and student feedback) – Short “how to” (including Blooms) – Practical workshops – 1-1 support • SoTL project 15
  16. 16. References Heidi Goodrich Andrade (2005) Teaching With Rubrics: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, College Teaching, 53:1, 27-31, DOI: 10.3200/CTCH.53.1.27-31 Phillip Dawson (2017) Assessment rubrics: towards clearer and more replicable design, research and practice, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 4 2:3, 347-360, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2015.1111294 Peter Grainger, Michael Christie, Glyn Thomas, Shelley Dole, Deborah Heck, Margaret Marshman & Michael Carey (2017) Improving the quality of assessment by using a community of practice to explore the optimal construction of assessment rubrics, Reflective Practice, 18:3, 410-422, DOI: 10.1080/14623943.2017.1295931 Anastasiya A. Lipnevich, Leigh N. McCallen, Katharine Pace Miles and Jeffrey K. Smith (2014) Mind the gap! Students' use of exemplars and detailed rubrics as formative assessment. Instructional Science 42:4 539-559 16
  17. 17. References Y. Malini Reddy & Heidi Andrade (2010) A review of rubric use in higher education, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35:4, 435-448, DOI: 10.1080/02602930902862859 D. Royce Sadler, (1987) Specifying and promulgating achievement standards. Oxford Review of Education, 13, 191–209. D. Royce Sadler, D. R. (2009) Indeterminacy in the use of preset criteria for assessment and grading in higher education. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 34, 159–179. 17
  18. 18. Closing the loop: using holistic rubrics for effective assessment and feedback Sarah Honeychurch Teaching Fellow Adam Smith Business School University of Glasgow @NomadWarMachine 18