On the Forums: Making effective rubrics and an introduction to active learning

In this week’s update on the Forums, faculty share their favorite techniques for constructing rubrics for assessments, and we kickstart new discussions on active learning.

In this series, we highlight recent activity on the ACUE Community Forums. Be sure to register to access the conversations.

Communicating expectations on assessments with rubrics

Jamie P from Rutgers-Newark asks: “How do you effectively use rubrics to guide student performance and assessment?” She then provides suggestions for others, from tying rubrics to course outcomes through common keywords, and collaborating with students to create rubrics.

Another faculty member, NJ Professor, offered their own priorities for rubrics:

  • Make sure to review the rubric during class and that students have a copy of it at the time an assessment is announced.
  • Provide clear descriptions of what constitutes each level and a clear picture of how each is distinct from the others (e.g., why a component would be “developing” rather than “effective”).
  • Have students use the rubric during peer review sessions to assess each other’s work.
  • Write comments that directly address the categories on the rubric, especially those parts of student work that aren’t considered “effective.”

Join the activity on active learning

ACUE’s Executive Director for Teaching and Learning Kevin Kelly recently started a new Forum devoted to active learning techniques and research. Kevin was inspired to start the Forum upon visiting a 19th-century American Literature classroom at Kansas State University, where he observed a professor leading his students in the “barometer game.” During the activity, the professor would make statements about a text and ask students to move to different areas of the classroom to reflect their stance on the statement, forcing students to place themselves on a spectrum of their beliefs. The professor would then call on students to defend their position.

Have you ever tried the “barometer game” or a similar active learning technique in your classroom? Be sure to share your experiences in the ACUE Community Forums and check back regularly for new responses from other members of the Community.

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