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Assess Student Learning: Rubrics and Item Analysis

What are rubrics?

A rubric is a type of scoring guide that assesses and articulates specific components and expectations for an assignment. Rubrics can be used for a variety of assignments: research papers, group projects, portfolios, performances and presentations.

Why use rubrics?

What makes for a good rubric?

  • Concrete, measurable criteria
  • Performance descriptors that are both comprehensive and mutually-exclusive (no overlaps)
  • Input from colleagues, assessment professionals, and students

How do I create a good rubric for an assignment?

  • Create a table and list the measurable grading criteria in the first column with optional weights.
  • List the range for performance quality in the first row (for example, "Beginning", "Emerging" and "Exemplary) with an accompanying points scale.
  • In each box, write descriptors that represent each level of performance.

What is item analysis?

Item analysis provides statistics on individual test questions which, when tied to learning outcomes, provide direct evidence for student learning.

Why use item analysis?

When exam questions are tied to course learning outcomes in a course map, item analysis helps instructors quickly assess where students are struggling or succeeding in their learning.

How do I conduct item analysis?

Once each item (question) is mapped to a learning outcome, an assessment of learning comes down to merely looking at the aggregate scores on each item or set of items.

Did you know?

  • Research shows that providing a rubric to students ahead of time improves their performance (Reddy and Andrade, 2010).
  • Students can play a key role in the development of a rubric by testing it out themselves with their own work, that of their peers or sample work.
  • At Hunter, you can create rubrics and grade electronically-submitted work, as well as conduct an item analysis on an electronic exam, right in Blackboard.

Want examples of good rubrics? Visit the Sample Tools page.

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