Jason Matthew Buchanan, Assistant Professor
Clarence Henry Robertson, Lecturer
Our goal was to develop rubrics that could be used in multiple classes taught in the English Department. There were two major issues that the rubrics needed to address: one, the rubrics needed to be able to effectively assess the skills being taught in the classroom; two, the rubrics needed to be easily incorporated by professors into their teaching style and schedule.
Brief Description of the Sequence of English Courses
Throughout the sequence of English classes, there is at least one common assignment shared by multiple classes. In English 101—111, all classes must take a shared Final Exam. Although the English 111 Final Exam is different from the exam for 101—110, all sections of 111 must take the same common Final. In Elective courses, all classes must complete a research paper. The rubrics were designed around these assignments for two key reasons: their position as a common assignment across classes and their previous existence as an assignment that professors were already in the habit of teaching. These two benefits allow for professors to, basically, retain the same structure of their classes. Completing and submitting the rubric is the only new step in the pedagogical process.
Developing the Rubrics for the Common Assignments
In creating the rubrics, the goal was to balance the General Education Core Competencies with the courses’ Student Learning Outcomes (SLO), which were developed by the English Department. To begin, the Gen. Ed. Competencies were examined to find one element from each category—Skills, Subject Area Knowledge, Synthesis and Application, and Global Citizenship—that was present in the courses. After finding the most compatible Competencies, the SLOs for each course were examined to find any SLOs that had a connection to the Gen. Ed Competencies. For instance, the Skills category A1 matched up with SLO 1 for English 101-111 classes. These SLOs became the central language for our rubrics since they not only thematically matched the Gen. Ed. Core Competencies but also were skills that should be evident in the common assignments shared by the courses.
Designing the Rubrics
The language of the Gen. Ed Competencies was used as the criteria for the rubric. It included one Core Competency from each category. The language for the task descriptions came directly from the SLOs of the courses. The language for the scale—the portion of the rubric that describes how the assignment was completed—was taken directly from the sample rubrics created by the Gen. Ed. Rubrics Subcommittee.
Current State of the Rubrics
Currently, the rubrics are waiting to be presented to the English department where they will be evaluated by the Committees responsible for each course (e.g. Eng 110 Committee, Eng 111 Committee, etc.). Once cleared by these committees, the rubrics will be voted on by the English Department Curriculum Committee to become official parts of the English Curriculum.