14 April 2010

Grades as Assessment Data

Grades remain a debatable item as higher ed assessments of institutional effectiveness. The trend is toward not using grades due to concerns of inconsistency, grade inflation, and lack of alignment with learning outcomes. When an institution or faculty group decides to include grades in assessment data, the usual form is an "embedded assessment" referring to an assignment or single student product that is clearly representative of a learning outcome.

At the University of Virginia a graphic guides in "Using a Rubric to Produce Both Grades and Assessment Data." Authorship is attributed to Jonathan Schnyer, Lois Meyers, and Anne-Marie Durocher of the Office of Institutional Assessment and Studies.
A blow-up of the original rubric demonstrates how an instructor's scoring generates areas of strength and weakness for the student group.

While faculty members often resist the term weakness in data reports, the display of relative performance is crucial to a full analysis. At some levels, such as upper division courses within a major, rubric results that pinpoint weaknesses are far more valuable than project grades, which may be high across an entire class of students.

© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Email contact: bold[AT]marybold.com. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

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