Does continuous assessment using rubrics help to uncover unexpected gaps in student understanding?
McCarthy, Kevin G.
National Academy for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL)
Module EE4011, “Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Design”, an optional final-year module in the B.E. (Electrical) programme at UCC, incorporates a computer-based assignment which accounts for 20% of the final marks. In 2007/8, a detailed marking scheme in the form of a rubric was given to the students with the assignment to allow them to clearly see where effort should be expended in the assignment itself and in the written report on which the marks would be based. The final grades for the continuous assessments were determined by systematically evaluating how closely each student had met the standards of performance as specified in the rubric. By concentrating on the rubric for the purposes of evaluation, the assessor was not as distracted by small errors or misconceptions in the student reports as could possibly occur when grading the reports without the help of the detailed rubric. In fact, by concentrating on the rubric for grading purposes, the assessor felt a certain leeway to reevaluate the reports from a student learning perspective in order to gain insights into minor misconceptions which occasionally appeared. These minor misconceptions could subsequently be clarified in a follow-up tutorial. Thus, the rubric-based approach, while primarily targeted in this instance at determining a grade, created clarity at grading time and allowed a separation between the task of grading and the search for misconceptions which could hinder student learning, with the latter being an unexpected but welcome bonus.
Poster presentation at the NAIRTL National Academy 2nd Annual Conference, 13-14 November, 2008, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland
Rubric , Marking scheme , Assignment , Engineering , Electrical
McCarthy, K. (2008) 'Does continuous assessment using rubrics help to uncover unexpected gaps in student understanding?', National Academy for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) 2nd Annual Conference, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland, 13-14 November.
© 2008, Kevin McCarthy.