A Rubric for Evaluating Online Discussions

While I haven’t yet used this rubric, I anticipate applying it to forum discussions over the summer for my AP U.S. History students. My plan is for the APUSH class to begin online in mid-August so that in-class coverage in September can begin with the later colonial period and follow a pace that matches the College Board’s exam schedule. Before making the rubric, which is based on one for student blogs, I searched the web for useful, ready-to-go samples. Although I like option #4 on this page from Simmons College, I thought that I could adapt the blog rubric to accomplish as much in fewer words.

Excellent. Student’s responses appropriately address initial and/or follow-up questions and replies. The student neither monopolizes the discussion nor simply joins in and drops out. Responses are focused and coherently integrate examples with insight and analysis. The student’s answers reflect an awareness of issue complexities and, when appropriate, consider alternative perspectives. Responses reflect thorough preparation and in-depth engagement with the topic.

Good. Responses are focused and appropriate in number, but analysis is limited as fewer connections are made between ideas. Although new insights are offered, they are not fully developed. The student’s participation reflects moderate engagement with the topic.

Fair. Responses are mostly description or summary and show only partial awareness of complexities or alternative perspectives. Few connections are made between ideas. The student’s participation is underdeveloped and reflects passing engagement with the topic.

Poor. Responses are unfocused or simply rehash previous comments. Participation is limited and displays little evidence of student engagement with the topic.

No Credit. No participation or responses consists of disconnected sentences and show no preparation and no engagement with the topic.

Adapted, with permission, from “A Rubric for Evaluating Student Blogs” by Mark Sample, Chronicle of Higher Education <http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/a-rubric-for-evaluating-student-blogs/27196>.

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