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Student Development Of Grading And Assessment Criteria

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Assessment in Large and Small Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1027.1 - 7.1027.5



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Paper Authors

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Valerie Young

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Session #2613

Student Development of Grading and Assessment Criteria Valerie L. Young Department of Chemical Engineering, Ohio University


Faculty at Ohio University increasingly use rubrics to simultaneously grade student work and assess student learning. One tenet of this “Criterion-Based Grading” system is that the basis for grading is known to the students, allowing them to evaluate their own work before submitting it. Beyond making such self-evaluation possible, we wish to actively encourage it. We consider the ability to evaluate one’s own work to be an essential skill and habit of a practicing engineer. However, we have learned by experience that even when students are provided with the rubric, they seldom evaluate their own work effectively. In an effort to counter this, students in a sophomore-level “Energy Balances” course are asked to help develop a rubric that will be used to grade and assess a team project in the course. The mechanism for including student input in rubric development and assessing the ability of the students to use the resulting rubrics for self evaluation will be discussed.


The chemical engineering curriculum at Ohio University requires students to complete open- ended assignments in a team environment at the sophomore, junior, and senior levels. The deliverable in these assignments is typically a report, either oral or written. Grading and assessment of this work is complex, involving both the quality of the technical content and the quality of the presentation. This type of work also provides a high density of assessment information because of its complexity. Rubrics provide a framework for structuring and quantifying this assessment information. Rubrics, if made available to the students, should also give students a rationale for the grades they receive and an opportunity to evaluate and improve their own work prior to submission. (See, for example, Walvoord & Anderson, 1998 1.)

Grading in our senior Unit Operations Laboratory is now entirely rubric-based.2 We have been pleased with the rubrics as a foundation for assessment in this course. In some respects, the rubrics have also resulted in notable improvement in the reports. For example, reports are now more concise, focusing on the important traits of the reports as defined by the grading rubrics. On the other hand, students struggle to effectively use the descriptions in the rubrics to assess their own performance. For example, one of the traits graded for a prelab report is the pro posed statistical analysis of the results, and the description of an “A” performance begins with the phrase, “Uncertainties for all values stated.” The description of an “F” performance begins with “Uncertainties not given for most values.” Still, students submit reports in which the vocabulary of statistics features prominently, yet the method for quantifying the uncertainty on important

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Young, V. (2002, June), Student Development Of Grading And Assessment Criteria Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11145

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