Student assessment and grading criteria have the capability to measure and promote learning. Indeed, major studies have documented the use of rubrics, didactic tests and case studies as useful assessment tools (Kohn, 2006). Educational practitioners use classroom assessments and grading practices as means to attain optimal performance. Well-planned classroom assessment and grading practices can offer personalized and timely details required to direct learning and instructing. Classroom assessment takes various evaluation tools, each assuming distinct strategies but with a similar purpose of maximizing performance. For instance, a rubric is a broadly applied assessment tool comprising procedure, a measurement scale, and descriptions for every score. However, only well-designed rubrics convey the critical dimensions in a performance and direct teachers in an evaluation process. However, this paper will analyze three evaluation tools that guide educators in examining the students’ work. These tools include rubrics, didactic tests, and case studies. This paper will show that these tools can be very useful when well developed or ineffective when poorly designed.
A rubric is a consistent set of procedures for organizing the students’ work regarding quality, performance, and criteria. However, not all rubrics possess these descriptions. For instance, internet rubrics may not describe performance. Therefore, rubrics are as effective or ineffective depending on the criteria used and the design. Effective rubrics should possess proper criteria and well-organized descriptions of performance. The prime purpose of rubrics is to evaluate performances. Evaluating may entail observing the student while undertaking a certain task such as debating a certain topic. On the other hand, other evaluations entail examining the product or the result of the students’ work such as a written essay. Rubrics provide structure to observations that prevent misjudgment that often arises in classroom assessment situations. For classroom purposes, analytic rubrics are very effective. Analytic rubrics provide formative feedback to learners and are easier to connect to instructions than general and task-specific rubrics.
Well-developed rubrics are effective in clarifying for learners the qualities required in their work. Rubrics help build the students’ understanding of the learning expectations and the plan for success. In this light, rubrics facilitate educators’ understanding of students, and they help educators teach and assess students. In teaching, rubrics assist teachers to concentrate on criteria rather than tasks. A study by Kohn (2006) suggests that students can help in identifying and describing the qualities needed in their work. Effective rubrics have space for feedback comments, objectives, and intervention measures. Such rubrics serve not only as evaluation tools but also as means for self-assessment, and goal setting.
On the other hand, rubrics can also be ineffective as assessment tools. According to Oliva (2015), rubrics can constrain the students’ creativity since they feel confined by the rubrics requirements. For instance, when doing an assignment they have to complete the task strictly to the rubric specifications rather than been creative in exploring their learning. Similarly, if the criteria provided in the rubric are complex, students may find it difficult to complete the assignment hence little success is attained. Rubrics may be inefficient in grading artistic work since they possess many intangible elements in art. In such cases, one might be compelled to make assumptions concerning the students’ work.
Didactic assessment is an evaluation process or kind of control whereby the student is presented with an opportunity to interact with instructors and appreciate his/her knowledge (Monarca, 2016). This approach is intended to convey information or to make moral observations. In this case, educator’s intervention serves as a prompt and support for the student to initiate influential character to the process. Didactic assessment is essential in self-evaluation, self-correction, and appreciation. This kind of evaluation helps in improving academic performance for students. Educators are particularly organized to meet the requirements of a specific audience. Didactic evaluation can serve a large number of students as well as present large amounts of information. The educators and the students are presented with an opportunity to control the learning experience.
On the other hand, it is hard for educators as well as the students to measure the extent of learning and progress. In most cases, this approach emphasizes learning by listening or observations, which might be a disadvantage for students who prefer other learning styles. This model holds the assumption that students learn at the same pace. Students who have a low pace of understanding are at a disadvantage. During a didactic assessment, students are in most cases passive since there is no mechanism to tell if or not they are critically engaged with the material (Monarca, 2016).
Looking at the level of effectiveness, the didactic method shows more benefits for teachers than students. For instance, during a lesson teachers can attend to large numbers of students. Besides, students are often self-motivated and they are likely receptive to the teachers’ motivation. Since students are most likely to be different, there is a huge diversity of learning styles. Therefore, teachers suit a certain number of students hence not all of them benefit from this style. However, it is possible to improve the interaction of teachers and students to eliminate some of the demerits.
Case studies are a popular form of assessment practice and have a significant role in building skills in learners. According to Aleluia, Santos, and Bittencourt (2013), students learn more effectively when actively engaged in the learning process. Case assessment provides an insight into the context of an issue as well as highlighting the main point. Case studies are effective tools for application of theoretical concepts to be presented hence closing the gap between theory and practice. Case studies offer an opportunity to develop major skills such as problem-solving and group project analysis. Case studies are effective in evaluating for promoting learning and the students’ efficacy. This assessment strategy creates motivation to learn due to task clarity and relevance
On the other hand, case studies are also ineffective when there are not well developed. In most instances, it is hard to find a suitable case study to suit the students’ needs. Since case studies are time-consuming, for short duration projects case studies may not serve effectively (Aleluia et al., 2013). Case studies are highly suited for high-level training programs, but an advanced level of presentation of students is needed as they have to engage in case analysis.
Even though the three cases demonstrate both effective and ineffective assessment practices, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages as the approaches offer experiential learning and are suitable tools for inspiring learning. As students strive to achieve their learning goals, they need to identify appropriate assessment practices. The most effective assessment practices should help students set learning goals, self-assess, and utilize proven strategies.
Aleluia, I., Santos, E., & Bittencourt, C. (2013). Curricular change driven by student dissatisfaction with assessment practices. Medical Education, 47(5), 517-517.
Kohn, A. (2006). Speaking my mind: the trouble with rubrics. English Journal, 95(4), 12-15.
Monarca, H. (2016). Didactic thought as rationality of educational action. Pedagogic Trend, 27(1), 301-312.
Oliva, B. (2015). Introducing Rubrics as an Objective Assessment Strategy. AJOL, 2(2), 77-78.