How to Assess Students Based on Mastery of Material
FEATURED RESOURCE: In October 2018, the Associate Dean of UCLA’s School of Engineering issued a memorandum with guidance on assessment and grading. In particular, pages 5-7 provide guidance on course design, assigning grades based on content mastery rather than relative performance, and why and how to clearly state the grading policy in the syllabus.
Alternatives to grading based on a curve
Grading Sytems UNCC: Summary of advantages and disadvantages of different grading systems
VALUE Rubrics: These AAC&U rubrics include detailed language for describing and assessing skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, and quantitative literacy. Adapting such rubrics can help you build better assignments, while being more clear about the skills you want your students to develop and demonstrate.
Hughes, B., Hurtado, S. & Eagan, M. K. (Nov 2014). Driving Up or Dialing Down Competition in Introductory STEM Courses: Individual and Classroom Level Factors. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, Washington, DC, November 20-22, 2014.: Research finding norm-referenced grading associated with higher student perceptions of competition; Faculty can “dial down” competitiveness by structuring collaboration into courses.
How to align your assessments with your other course materials and activities
Fink, L. Dee “A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning: This workbook style guide will walk you through the different elements of backwards course design, including designing for assessment of student learning.
Featured Resource: Gradescope
Gradescope - a rubric-based grading tool that improves consistency (and TAs love it)
There are online grading platforms that allow instructors and TAs to score assignments with open-response questions including exams and homework problems. UCLA now has a licensing agreement with Gradescope (www.gradescope.com) for their online grading tool, which can be incorporated into CCLE course sites.
Why use Gradescope?
Benefits to instructors and TAs:
- Rubric-based scoring system allows for more consistent and fair grading
- Choice of using a positive (points added for correct answers) or negative (points taken away for wrong answers) rubric.
- Positive scoring rubrics reward students for their achievements and sets a positive tone in a classroom – one that is focused on what students are doing right, rather than what students are doing wrong.
- Streamlines the grading process, achieving greater grading efficiencies in large-enrollment courses
- TAs can replicate the same feedback to multiple students without having to re-write the same comments over and over again (a very time-intensive effort)
- Changes to scores get propagated to all assignments, so TAs save time because they do not have to regrade questions
- Electronic grading provides flexibility because instructors and TAs can grade assignments from anywhere (home, a café, their lab, their office)
- Academic integrity issues mediated with repository of electronic, scanned copies of every student’s exam or assignment
- Tracks and reports analytics giving instructors and TAs substantially more feedback on student mastery of concepts and skills
- Great online documentation with instructions (including video tutorials), suggestions and short-cuts
Benefits to students:
- Transparency in points breakdown (partial credit) for the score a student receives on a question because the points assigned are linked to comments explaining what was done correctly or incorrectly
- Students receive more feedback from TAs grading their assignments
- Quality of feedback a student receives is superior to that they could get from hand-written comments by a TA
- Electronic return of graded assignments to students permits rapid feedback used by students to gauge learning gains and progress towards mastery
- Integration with CCLE allows secure sign-in with UCLA BOL account
There’s an app for that!
Here is an app you can share with your students to scan their homework into a pdf: https://acrobat.adobe.com/us/en/mobile/scanner-app.html
How to add Gradescope to your CCLE course site
Since UCLA now has a licensing agreement with Gradescope, instructors may incorporate this grading tool into their CCLE course sites as follows:
- Sign in to CCLE, and turn editing on.
- Navigate to the section of your CCLE site where you want the link for Gradescope to appear, and click Add an activity or resource. Select External tool, and click the Add button.
- In the box for Activity name, enter a name, such as “Gradescope”.
From the drop-down menu for Preconfigured tool, select Gradescope.
Scroll down and click the button Save and return to course.
- Click the link that has been created. This will open Gradescope in a new browser tab, and Gradescope will ask if you want to link this course with a new or existing course in Gradescope. Assuming you have not already created a Gradescope course for this class, select A new Gradescope course, and click Link course.
- After editing settings in Gradescope as desired, select Roster from the left panel. Click the Sync Moodle Roster button, and then Sync Roster. Go through the resulting roster in Gradescope and make sure your TA(s) have been assigned the “TA role”, rather than being listed as “Student”. (This is a known bug in the CCLE-Gradescope link.)
Tips for Using Gradescope at UCLA
For additional tips using Gradescope, please click here to see our FAQ document created by our CEILS Instructional Consultants, Will Conley (Math) and Josh Samani (Physics). Both are available to answer questions and provide best practice advice about Gradescope. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance, and we’ll get the message to Will and Josh.