Goals for an end of the
- Engage students with
- Aid student retention
of course material.
- Help students
understand material better by working with/through course material.
Attributes of the ideal
- Embedded assessment.
- Serves as a review for
- An application of
- Opportunity for
exploration of subjects not covered in the course.
what you know about the mechanisms that drive normal human development:
Choose a humanoid and describe the development of three of the creature’s
distinguishing features. Describe the cellular and molecular mechanisms
that would account for such features.
Creativity and clarity of writing are essential components of the project.
Optimizing our assignment
- Make expectations for
- Does success on this
assignment equate with success with final exam &/or the final course
- Standardize and
To achieve these goals, we
designed and validated the inter rater reliability of a rubric for our
Rubric criteria identified
distilled six important aspects of the assignment from suggestions made by
current and former students as well as faculty.
- Clarity of Writing
- Description of
- Justification &
- Analysis of the
- Synthesis of the
- Originality of Process
We created, reviewed and revised
written descriptions of each criterion for four different levels (marginal,
proficient, commendable, & exceptional).
Evaluating the inter rater reliability of our rubric
Four evaluators graded 45 humanoid assignments submitted by Developmental
Biology courses (2006, 2008 & 2009).
Papers 1-10 graded. Comments about rubric and assignments
reviewed. Concordance observed.
Papers 11-20 graded. Results combined with scores from 1-10 for
correlation analysis. Correlation of total scores & individual
scores significant*. Correlation of graders scores for justification
and logic skills and synthesis of the scientific literature significant*.
Rubric language was modified for description of humanoid, analysis of the
scientific literature and clarity of writing criteria.
Papers 21-45 are currently being graded using this version of the rubric (see
students with rubric in advance.
- Is student performance
- Is there a correlation
between performance on this assignment and final exam &/or final
Click here for a PDF copy of the
Click here to download a PDF
Figure 1. Phase III version
of humanoid rubric
here to read an accepted article from Catch
(Spring 2009), Knox College’s biannual journal of student creative work,
based on sample Humanoid assignment papers.
This work was supported by grants from NSF (CCLI A&E 0127106) and the Teagle Foundation (Missions & Majors). Thanks to the
Eleanor Zweifel and Anne Zweifel
Taylor Fund for supporting faculty travel.