Does Continuous Assessment Using Rubrics Help To Uncover Unexpected Gaps in Student Understanding?

McCarthy, Kevin (2008) Does Continuous Assessment Using Rubrics Help To Uncover Unexpected Gaps in Student Understanding? [Conference Proceedings]


“Continuous Assessment – Rubrics and Uncovering Student Misconceptions “Module EE4011, “Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Design”, an optional final-year module in the B.E. (Electrical) programme at UCC, incorporates a computer-based assignment which accounts for 20% of the final marks. In 2007/8, a detailed marking scheme in the form of a rubric was given to the students with the assignment to allow them to clearly see where effort should be expended in the assignment itself and in the written report on which the marks would be based.The final grades for the continuous assessments were determined by systematically evaluating how closely each student had met the standards of performance as specified in56the rubric. By concentrating on the rubric for the purposes of evaluation, the assessor was not as distracted by small errors or misconceptions in the student reports as could possibly occur when grading the reports without the help of the detailed rubric. In fact, by concentrating on the rubric for grading purposes, the assessor felt a certain leeway to re-evaluate the reports from a student learning perspective in order to gain insights into minor misconceptions which occasionally appeared. These minor misconceptions could subsequently be clarified in a follow-up tutorial. Thus, the rubric-based approach, while primarily targeted in this instance at determining a grade, created clarity at grading time and allowed a separation between the task of grading and the search for misconceptions which could hinder student learning, with the latter being an unexpected but welcome bonus. Challenging assumptions with final year occupational therapy students Phil McGowan, University College Cork Final year occupational therapy students in University College Cork complete a research project from idea-generation and ethics submission stage through to fieldwork in messy reality onto finally making their own argument or case in a research paper and poster. Throughout the various stages of this research process, the professional and personal assumptions of the students are being challenged. This may range from challenging their theoretical and personal views on local society, indicated through their chosen inclusive or exclusive criteria for participants, to questions asked within their research projects. Finally, the unstated assumption of many, that either qualitative research with people is easy is also well challenged through this learning project. This project also enables students to learn much about the administration and professional disciplinary realities of local or regional life, thereby challenging their assumptions about the role of professionals in health and social care in Ireland today. The involvement of service-users whenever possible in these research projects also assists to challenge certain assumptions of our own professional literature. All of the above continues within a framework of maintaining and developing even greater passion for their work as future occupational therapists in Ireland.While our department continues to educate and/or prepare professional citizens, occupational therapy graduates in this case, these under-graduate research projects assist local clinical staff, academic staff and students to learn more about contemporary occupational therapy practice in Ireland. Some of the issues expressed or features exposed through our student projects above may be the basis of further professional development or post-graduate programmes in our new, small but energetic Department within University College Cork. Thus, learning, research and teaching are intertwined throughout the undergraduate and post-graduate modules.

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