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Rubrics and How They Are Used in Computer Science major courses

Well-designed rubrics make assessing work quick and efficient, and they help justify and explain the evaluation (grade) that is assigned to work. At their best, rubrics are also teaching tools that support learning and the development of sophisticated thinking skills. When used correctly, they serve the purposes of learning as well as of evaluation and accountability. Rubrics, when appropriately designed and integrated into the work process, blur the distinction between instruction and assessment.


There are a number of instructional rubrics used in guiding and assessing student activities in Computer Science major courses: each rubric targets a specific type of activity (presentation, project implementation, expository writing, etc.). All of these rubrics have two features in common:

(1)   A list of criteria (traits), or, "what counts" in a project or assignment, and

(2)   Gradations of quality for each criterion, with descriptions of work that would fit into each quality gradation.


The purposes of a rubric are to:

(1)   Document criteria (traits) that are considered significant in the context of an assignment or activity

(2)   Provide explicit descriptions of how work is to be evaluated against the criteria

(3)   Provide a framework for giving consistent informative feedback about work in progress

(4)   Provide a framework for giving detailed evaluations of final products.


Note that purpose (2) is phrased in the future tense - rubrics are much more effective when made available and discussed / explained in advance of work commencing: the information provided in the rubric informs students what is expected of them and how to self-assess their work as it progresses.


Rubrics for the following student activities have been developed for and are used in Computer Science major courses.

·       Analysis and Requirements

·       Expository Writing

        => Additional documentation for Holistic and Atomistic writing evaluation and Formatting guidelines

·       Personal and Societal Responsibility

·       Presentation

·       Project Implementation