Education

Getting the Rubric Right

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Science  24 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6071, pp. 893
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6071.893-b

Despite the growing popularity of online learning, how to grade online discussions remains a challenge. Simply modifying existing grading rubrics can be problematic, because the format of online learning discussions differs from that of traditional classroom work. To evaluate the value of a clearly defined online learning grading rubric, or scoring tool, Solan and Linardopoulos developed a rubric that took into account the quantity and quality of posts, timeliness of participation, and communication proficiency, and then surveyed undergraduate and graduate student perceptions. Results indicated that although students are appreciative that a rubric is available, most did not consult it while contributing to online discussions. Teachers therefore may need to emphasize, review, and clearly link the rubric to grades assigned throughout the duration of the course. Students also reported that such a tool needs to be dynamic, because despite attempts to be comprehensive, unexpected scenarios will probably occur. Whether such a tool led to increased student learning is unknown, and, along with faculty perceptions of the rubric's value, should be a topic of future research.

J. Online Learn. Teach. 7, 452 (2011).

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