Assess Students' Evaluation Skills

The MEL diagram is an instructional scaffold that engages students in the act of weighing the connections between lines of evidence and alternative models that explain a phenomenon. The MEL team developed a rubric with four categories to assess students' understanding of and reasoning behind the connections they make. Using MEL activities in the classroom may help students shift from more erroneous evaluations about evidence to model links to more critical and scientific evaluations.

Below are links to resources for using the rubric and learning more about assessing students' evaluation skills.


This article outlines ways to assess students' understanding and scientific reasoning after engaging in the MEL activities. It emphasizes that students should NOT be assessed on the specific types of arrows they draw on the MEL diagram, but rather on the subsequent explanation task. Assessing students on which arrow they draw may actually disengage students from practicing critical evaluation.

Assessing Students' Evaluation on MEL Diagrams TES (Acrobat (PDF) 577kB Jun4 18)

The Explanation Task Rubric

The Explanation Task is part of each MEL Activity. In this task, students provide written explanations for the arrows they draw on the MEL diagram. The following rubric may be used to score students' written explanations. The rubric features four distinct categories of evaluation: 1) erroneous, 2) descriptive, 3) relational, and 4) critical. For each category, the rubric identifies specific criteria addressing a student's accuracy, certainty, and use of elaborative language when explaining the connections made during the MEL activity.

Student Handouts

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