ასისტენტ-პროფესორი, დეპარტამენტის ხელმძღვანელი, უცხო ენათა დეპარტამენტი, ვანაზორის სახელმწიფო უნივერსიტეტი, ვანაძორი, სომხეთი
Criterion-Referenced Rubrics: Transparency and Objectivity Boosters in Evaluating Students’ Higher Order Thinking Skills
(გლობალური საკითხები და თანამედროვე გამოწვევები განათლებაში)
Introduction and aim: This article is an attempt to showcase one of the priorities of the 21st Century assessment: the assessment of higher order thinking skills through criterion-based scoring rubrics. Nowadays, the necessity of transition from lower order thinking skills (LOTS) to higher order thinking skills (HOTS) has become an asset. This progression needs to be regulated by meta-cognitive activities which are meant to increase students’ abilities to transfer or adapt their learning to new contexts and tasks. On our part, in order to help students progress from knowledge acquisition, including lower order thinking skills such as understanding and remembering to knowledge creation, including higher order thinking skills such as creating and evaluating, we teachers should reconstruct our teaching methods, techniques and strategies in a way so that we can make this transition possible and smooth.
The paper also highlights the importance of constructive feedback as one of the key boosters of objective evaluation. It is no longer acceptable or recommended to hand back students’ papers assigned either “pass” or “fail” without providing constructive feedback. Students like and appreciate it, when teachers explain thoroughly what their strengths and weaknesses are and to what extent they achieved a particular learning outcome. Students also expect and demand transparency in assessment. In this respect, scoring rubrics are of great benefit to both teachers and students. For us teachers, rubrics decrease subjectivity inasmuch as specific criteria are explicitly stated, facilitating the grading process and increasing our objectivity. Rubrics also help us focus on criteria, not tasks.
Research methodology: The new assessment culture aims at assessing higher order thinking processes and competences instead of factual knowledge and lower order cognitive skills. Besides, assessment should contribute to evaluating student performance, meeting identified learning needs, and enhancing teaching process simultaneously.
The theoretical part of the research is based on Bloom’s Taxonomy; the practical part is based on the five analytic scoring rubrics created for students’ individual work assessment. All of these rubrics have already been put into practice in the Department of English Language and Literature.
Results and implications: Analytic rubrics are efficient assessment tools equally suited for summative and formative assignments. The explicitly-stated criteria have made the assessment process more transparent and objective. As a result, students view the grading process as impartial and rarely argue about the grade they receive. What's more, the active participation in rubric design and peer evaluation has considerably enhanced students' self-awareness and self-esteem.
Conclusion: Analytic scoring rubrics are effective and efficient assessment tools, which definitely help to increase the level of objectivity of both teacher and peer assessment. The wisely chosen criteria facilitate the grading process making it more transparent and fair for students. At the same time, they help students understand rubric criteria better and determine the extent to which they have achieved the expected learning goals.
Keywords: scoring criteria, scoring rubric, assessment, booster, higher order thinking skills, lower order thinking skills, feedback, peer assessment, self-assessment, learning outcome, criterion, standard, objectivity