Introduction: On the Significance of Assessment
It goes without saying that the assessment procedure is extremely important for the further studying process.
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Providing a detailed account of the students’ abilities, skills and knowledge of the learned material, assessment allows to figure out if a certain student does well in his/her studies; moreover, it helps to check for the student’s weak points and strengths, making it clear what the student’s further focus should be and what (s)he has already mastered.
With the help of clear and accurate rubrics, assessment will not only provide a detailed report of the student’s achievements, but will also set the course for the further development.
Rubrics: The Instructor’s Assessment and the Understanding Process
The use of rubrics is crucial not only for the evaluation of the students’ progress, but also for their better understanding of the course material.
According to Wolfe and Stevens, “Rubrics improve teaching, provide feedback to students, contribute to sound assessment, and are an important source of information for program improvement” (Wolfe & Stevens, 2007, 3).
The importance of rubrics for students’ assessment and understanding of the material can be demonstrated with the help of the following scenario.
Supposedly, there is a test for a History class, in the result of which one of the students, say, John, gets an A+, while another one, Sam, gets a D–. According to the assessment guidelines, A+ means “an excellent work”, while D– means “a poorly written paper”.
Thus, neither John can find out what exactly he got his A+ for, nor Sam can figure out what he needs to improve to perform better next time.
However, in an alternative scenario, the assessment guidelines say that A+ means “working beyond the assigned field”, while D– corresponds to “more than 10 grammar mistakes, poor use of citations and a weak thesis statement”.
In the given scenario, the assessment criteria not only offer a fair evaluation, but also help students understand in what direction they have to work further on.
Solid Models: Three Characteristics of the Best Designs
It seems that the best characteristics of design to choose are the “time set aside for focused reflection,” “personalized approach” and “powerful feedback system” (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, 197).
For instance, in the situation when the students have to develop the ability to think critically, they will have to take time to evaluate the issue and prove their point.
In the given situation, personalized approach is crucial, for each student has to develop the skill to think critically, which requires working with each student individually.
Finally, only when having enough feedback, i.e., students’ reviews of a certain issue, the teacher can be sure that the students have learned the necessary skills.
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Conclusion: Learning Opportunity, Increased and Improved
Therefore, it is clear that with a well-structured learning process and the efficient assessment rubrics, one can achieve considerable results; once the students realize the demands of the teacher and the requirements of a specific course, they are highly likely to succeed in learning the course material.
It is also obvious that even an impeccable idea of assessment rubrics must be tested in practice so that its results could be evident. Once choosing and applying the right characteristics of design to promote the instructional models, a teacher will be able to convey the key ideas to the students.
Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall
Wolfe, K., & Stevens, E. (2007). The role of rubrics in advancing and assessing student learning. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 7(1), 3-14.