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Assessing Field-based Activities

Field-based activities are rich venues for building student's conceptual knowledge and learning the skills that geoscientists use in gathering ground-truth data. Real world experiences in the field show students that outcrops are much more complex than figures in a textbook. As such they provide the opportunity for faculty and graduate teaching assistants to engage students in the process of developing geological interpretations from a given set of data. In the activity Geologic Mapping I the faculty has identified three learning objectives. These are:

Developing Rubrics for Field-based Activities

Field-based activities require students to perform complex tasks that include collecting and interpreting data. Assessing a student's performance is also a complex task for the faculty charged with fairly assessing a student's achievement of the activity's learning objectives. Rubrics are a tool to make the task easier and fairer for both the student and faculty because they can measure such complex tasks as writing and the interpretation of data directly. Handed out prior to the activity, rubrics will focus what is important for students to do and produce. Start by asking yourself, "what would constitute an A grade in each of my learning objectives. Then how a B, C, D would differ from the ideal A performance. Here is an example developed for students working to develop a geologic map and cross-section of folded and faulted sedimentary rock units. As you can see in the example, each of the learning objectives of the activity has a corresponding set of grading criteria ranging from a high of 4 to a low of 1. The scores for each learning objective may be summed and divided by the number of learning objectives (in this case 3) to obtain a final grade for the activity. Click on the following hotlink to download the rubric, or see the resources below for other assessment ideas.

PDF Version (Acrobat (PDF) 59kB Apr5 05)


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