CTLT Dialogues

The Blog of the Center for Teaching & Learning with Technology


Posted by ctlt on May 27, 2009

Thursday morning began with registration and light breakfast in Rice Lounge. Following that, we moved to our meeting room for a presentation on Assessment by Dr. Miriam Singer, of the Peter Sammartino School of Education.

Miriam shared a number of valuable resources on assessments, portfolios and rubrics with participants. Among the resources for rubrics were links to RubiStar and Kathy Schrock’s Web site, especially her collection of rubrics.

Miriam also discussed the process of “backward design,” as developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe for their influential book Understanding by Design. The UbD method calls for beginning the design process by considering what you want students to know, or be able to do, by the end of the lesson, or task, or unit, or course. That is, consider planning of increasingly larger (or decreasingly smaller) scope. Then you write an appropriate objective, decide how to measure or assess student learning for that objective (or objectives), specify components of the assessment, and decide on levels of proficiency. That’s the basis for creating a rubric for assessment.

Miriam noted that learning objectives, course assignments and assessments (with corresponding rubrics) should all be aligned with each other. She also told participants to give their rubrics to their students, so that students know what it is that you are looking for, when you assess their performance.

Miriam then discussed in detail the design considerations for several rubrics, across a number of disciplines. She presented a case study rubric, a group project rubric, an oral presentation rubric, a writing rubric, and other examples, discussing the fine points of the construction of these plans for assessing student performance on various tasks. She also mentioned the usefulness of quick, informal methods to assess student comprehension of class lessons, at the end of class meetings.

Participants worked in small groups, using RubiStar and slightly revised versions of lesson materials (from Session A) to create their own rubrics.


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