A rubric used to assess a program’s learning outcomes can be created by either an individual faculty member or by a committee. To ensure that it captures the most important dimensions of an outcome and the full range of performance for each dimension - and that it is transparent and meaningful to students - discuss the rubric with program faculty and students, then make any necessary revisions before finalizing it.
Six steps for creating a rubric:
1) Identify the learning outcome you are assessing.
- Example outcome: Will give professional quality oral presentations.
2) Identify the work you will evaluate with the rubric (e.g., paper, presentation, portfolio). The performance descriptions you create will be shaped by the type of work you will be evaluating. For program-level outcomes, the work can be identified by finding courses on your curriculum map where an outcome is addressed.
- Student work: Presentation of senior research project.
3) Identify the dimensions of the learning outcome. This can be done by listing important characteristics of the outcome you're examining, then grouping similar characteristics together until you have a manageable number of dimensions - typically 3-6 in number. Working together with other faculty and students during this process can help make the dimensions more robust and generalizable.
- Organization, idea development, draws appropriate conclusions, and audience awareness are the skills involved in giving a professional quality oral presentation that we are interested in.
4) Create concrete descriptors for each dimension of the learning outcome.
- For each dimension, start by describing the best work you could expect - this describes the top category.
- E.g., for ‘draws appropriate conclusions:’ Draws appropriate conclusions and thoroughly and accurately explains why the conclusion is drawn.
- Describe unacceptable work for this component. This describes the lowest category.
- E.g., either draws no conclusion or draws an inappropriate conclusion.
- Determine the number of categories you will use, and then develop descriptions of intermediate-level work. Rubrics commonly use 3 (e.g., weak, satisfactory, strong) to 5 (e.g., unacceptable, marginal, acceptable, good, outstanding) categories; however any number that is meaningful can be used.
- We will use 4 categories: Accomplished, Proficient, Developing, Novice.
- Good: Draws appropriate conclusion, but only briefly explains why the conclusion is drawn.
- Adequate: Draws appropriate conclusion, but either does not explain or is not entirely accurate in the explanation.
5) Discuss the rubric with program faculty and students to ensure it captures all dimensions and levels of performance for the outcome, and that it is meaningful to students and can provide guidance on what they can expect to learn in your program.
6) Pilot test the rubric by applying it to samples of student work; then revise the rubric as needed to eliminate ambiguities. Consider asking faculty who were not involved in the development of the rubric to pilot test it for you as they may be more able to identify ambiguities in the rubric.
|Dimension||Accomplished (4)||Proficient (3)||Developing (2)||Novice (1)|
|Can draw appropriate conclusions.||Draws appropriate conclusion and thoroughly and accurately explains why the conclusion is drawn.||Draws appropriate conclusion, but only briefly explains why the conclusion is drawn.||Draws appropriate conclusion, but either does not explain or is not entirely accurate in the explanation.||Either draws no conclusion or draws an inappropriate conclusion.|
You will most likely need to develop rubrics for your program’s learning outcomes from scratch; however it can be helpful to see how others have approached similar outcomes. Visit the examples page for some ideas that may help as you get started on your own rubrics.
|Next: Using rubrics for program assessment||Return to Rubrics home page|