Teach the Earth > Teaching Methods > Assessment > How to Use Assessment Strategies > Developing Instructional Rubrics

Developing Instructional Rubrics

Instructional Rubrics That Address Presentations/Reports

Assessing student work by means of oral and written reports are golden opportunities to teach students skills that they will use throughout their working lives. Both oral and written reports share common themes and therefore can be addressed together. Introductory thesis paragraphs, a body of evidence with support for assertions and summaries of findings are common elements in both oral and written reports. In beginning to develop a rubric for written reports or oral presentations ask yourself these questions:
  • What prior experience do my students have in preparing oral/written reports?
  • What do I feel are the essential elements I will expect them to include (e.g. citations, supporting evidence)?
Considering the experience of students in guiding their work will determine how much support they will need to be able to achieve your expectations. Providing samples/models of what you consider excellent work will provide them with a mental framework to build their own reports. Elements of the framework include:
  • What are the essential elements of a high quality report?
  • How many levels of achievement are to be described?
  • Are the criteria for each level clearly described?
The following hotlinks will bring you to specific examples of using an instructional rubric to assess a geoscience project-based learning activity and a Laboratory activity See the resources below for other assessment tools.

Resources

  • Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers (Second Edition). Angelo and Cross, 1993 This book by Thomas Angelo and K. Patricia Cross provides a practical guide to help faculty develop a better understanding of the learning process in their own classrooms and assess the impact of their teaching upon it. The authors offer detailed how-to advice on classroom assessment - from what it is and how it works to how to plan, implement, and analyze assessment projects. Their approach is illustrated through numerous case studies. The book features fifty Classroom Assessment Techniques, each presented in a format that provides an estimate of the ease of use, a concise description, step-by-step procedures for adapting and administering the technique, practical advice on how to analyze the data and other useful information. (citation and description)
  • Classroom Assessment Techniques: Attitude Surveys. This page describes attitude surveys, one of a series of Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) provided by the Field-tested Learning Assessment Guide (FLAG) website. The CATs of FLAG were constructed as a resource for science, technology, engineering and mathematics instructors to emphasize deeper levels of learning and to give instructors valuable feedback during a course. The attitude surveys consist of a series of statements in which students are asked to express their agreement or disagreement using a scale, thus providing information on the studentsí perceptions of their classroom experience. The site provides an overview of this assessment instrument, including information about how to use an attitude survey. This site is also linked to a set of discipline-specific "tools" that can be downloaded for immediate use, as well as supplementary links and sources are included to further explore this assessment technique. ( This site may be offline. )
  • Classroom Assessment Techniques: Conceptual Diagnostic Tests. This page describes conceptual diagnostic tests, one of a series of Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) provided by the Field-tested Learning Assessment Guide (FLAG) website. The CATs of FLAG were constructed as a resource for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instructors to emphasize deeper levels of learning and to give instructors valuable feedback during a course. Conceptual diagnostic tests are used to assess how well students understand key concepts in a STEM field prior to, during, and after instruction. They assess student understanding using a multiple-choice or short-answer format that has been designed to address misconceptions. This site provides an overview of this assessment instrument including information about why conceptual diagnostic tests are beneficial to use and how to use them. The site is also linked to a set of discipline-specific "tools" that can be downloaded for immediate use, as well as supplementary links and sources to further explore this assessment tool. ( This site may be offline. )
  • Classroom Assessment Techniques: Interviews. This page describes the technique of using interviews to assess student understanding. The assessment tool is one of a series of Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) provided by the Field-tested Learning Assessment Guide (FLAG) website. The CATs of FLAG were constructed as a resource for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instructors to emphasize deeper levels of learning and to give instructors valuable feedback during a course. Interviews enable instructors to judge the extent of understanding students have developed with respect to a series of well-focused, conceptually-related scientific ideas. This site provides an overview of this assessment instrument including information about how to use classroom interviews to their maximum benefit. The site is also linked to a set of discipline-specific "tools" that can be downloaded for immediate use, as well as supplementary links and sources to further explore this assessment tool. ( This site may be offline. )
  • A Data Rich Exercise for Discovering Plate Boundary Processes. [Sawyer et al., 2005] This article in the Journal of Geoscience Education describes a classroom exercise based on four world maps containing earthquake, volcano, topographical and seafloor age data. Students participate in this exercise by using a "jigsaw" approach, in which they break into four groups and become specialists on one of the map types. After being organized into new groups with one specialist from each map represented, the groups present their data from the class. This exercise (assessment tool) has shown that students come away with knowledge of the key features of each type of plate boundary and a sense of why it looks the way it does. (Full Text Online)
  • An Investigation of Student Engagement in a Global Warming Debate. [Schweizer and Kelly, 2005] This article in the Journal of Geoscience Education investigates how using debate as a pedagogical tool for assessing earth system science concepts can promote active student learning, present a realistic and dynamic view of science, and provide a mechanism for integrating the scientific, political and social dimensions of global environmental change. This is achieved by using the causes of global warming as an example of earth system science for the debate. (citation and description)
  • Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers (Second Edition). Angelo and Cross, 1993 This book by Thomas Angelo and K. Patricia Cross provides a practical guide to help faculty develop a better understanding of the learning process in their own classrooms and assess the impact of their teaching upon it. The authors offer detailed how-to advice on classroom assessment - from what it is and how it works to how to plan, implement, and analyze assessment projects. Their approach is illustrated through numerous case studies. The book features fifty Classroom Assessment Techniques, each presented in a format that provides an estimate of the ease of use, a concise description, step-by-step procedures for adapting and administering the technique, practical advice on how to analyze the data and other useful information. (citation and description)
  • Classroom Assessment Techniques: Minute Paper. This page describes the minute paper, one of a series of Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) provided by the Field-tested Learning Assessment Guide (FLAG) website. The CATs of FLAG were constructed as a resource for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instructors to emphasize deeper levels of learning and to give instructors valuable feedback during a course. The minute paper is a concise note, taking one minute and written by students, that focuses on a short question presented by the instructor to the class. It provides real-time feedback from a class to find out if students recognized the main points of a class session and also helps the instructor make changes for the next class. This site provides an overview of this assessment instrument including information about how to use minute papers in the classroom. The site is also linked to a set of discipline-specific "tools" that can be downloaded for immediate use, as well as supplementary links and sources to further explore this assessment tool. ( This site may be offline. )
  • Classroom Assessment Techniques: Weekly Reports. This site describes the use of weekly reports as an assessment tool for student learning. It is one of a series of Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) provided by the Field-tested Learning Assessment Guide (FLAG) website. The CATs of FLAG were constructed as a resource for science, technology, engineering and mathematics instructors to emphasize deeper levels of learning and to give instructors valuable feedback during a course. Weekly reports provide rapid feedback about what students think they are learning and what conceptual difficulties they are experiencing. This site provides an overview of this assessment technique including information about how to use it. The site is also linked to a set of discipline-specific "tools" that can be downloaded for immediate use, as well as supplementary links and sources to further explore this assessment tool. ( This site may be offline. )
  • A Cohort-Driven Assessment Task for Scientific Report Writing. [Chuck and Young, 2004] This article from the Journal of Science Education and Technology describes a formative assessment task that was developed to improve the scientific report writing skills of university students. The assessment task involved feedback from instructor to students before final submission of their reports, as well as the instructor's use of a cohort-specific marking scheme based on the deficiencies that were evident within the class group. Using a mixture of peer and self-review against specific criteria, the students were required to resubmit an amended report. This technique proved to be efficient for both parties and also resulted in improvement of skills of the entire student population. (citation and description)
  • Weekly Reports: Student Reflections on Learning. An Assessment Tool Based on Student and Teacher Feedback. [Etkina and Harper, 2002] This article from the Journal of College Science Teaching details the use of weekly reports; a structured journal form of formative assessment that allows instructors to receive information from students and alter their instruction based on student needs. (citation and description)
  • Weekly Reports: A Two-Way Feedback Tool. [Etkina, 2000] This article from Science Education describes how to use weekly reports written by students as a two-way feedback tool in teaching science. The weekly reports help students to reflect on their knowledge, learn how to ask questions, and predict what questions their teacher is likely to ask. The reports help teachers to identify the difficulties their students experience while learning new material, to adjust their teaching to the studentsí needs, and to match the levels of difficulty of learning and testing. The authors of this study conclude that there is a common mismatch between learning and assessment and offers a solution through weekly journals. (citation and description)
  • Assessing Science Understanding: A Human Constructivist View. [Novak, Mintzes and Wandersee, 2000] This book by Joel J. Novak, James H. Mintzes, and Joseph D. Wandersee describes different kinds of assessments for measuring student understanding of science concepts. The book explores many assessment types and how they can be used in the classroom to improve instruction and learning. Topics include assessment concept maps, structured interviews, observations, portfolios and written products. The book also provides useful examples, data, and extensive references to the literature. (citation and description)
  • Applying Argumentation Analysis to Assess the Quality of University Oceanography Students' Scientific Writing. [Takao, Prothero and Kelly, 2002] This article from the Journal of Geoscience Education describes a study which examined 24 student papers from an introductory oceanography class and analyzed the quality of their written arguments. The article discusses ways of using argumentation to help students understand how to tie data to theoretical assertions and to provide ways for students and teachers to assess the uses of evidence in scientific writing. Included is an argumentation analysis model that describes argument structure according to epistemic levels. (Full Text Online)