[Portfolio] [Management] A manifesto for Grading and Rating in Sakai

Sean Keesler sean.keesler at threecanoes.com
Fri Oct 30 18:50:36 PDT 2009

Trying again...

As I look over the "capabilities spreadsheet", I see a lot of focus on
the interactions between instructors and students...
"What do *I* need to do with *my* students?"
One thing is "grade" their work."

I think that there is a piece that sits on top of the core capability
to rate/grade that relates to "management of learning"...which I know
isn't typically thought of as a key design focus of an LMS, but may be
the concern of admins....
"How do *I* (the program chair, department head, dean, provost) want
to encourage/influence/support the teaching behavior of our faculty?"
One thing is to encourage/require/foster the development/use of
standards/rubrics in grading/rating.

The idea of the application of "rubrics" (which arguably is the
difference between an academic assessment system and any arbitrary
rating system) is a feature that seems like it would fit into this
latter category of possible LMS capabilities.

There may be other capabilities that sit outside the
"instructor-student" relationship. It may need to be another "tab" on
that spreadsheet.

Sean Keesler
130 Academy Street
Manlius, New York 13104 USA
sean.keesler at threecanoes.com

On Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 10:01 AM, Sean Keesler
<sean.keesler at threecanoes.com> wrote:
> One of the things that are crucial to making meaning out of the
> assessment process (and the grades/ratings that are the record of that
> process) are sets of rubrics that document HOW rating/grading should
> be done or has been done.
> How you do or DO NOT manage and/or mandate the application of rubrics
> to the assessment of student work is a local decision that may vary
> within and amongst faculty members, departments to entire colleges
> with the university, but the capability to author, share, modify and
> find rubrics suitable for a any one application would seem to me to be
> a missing piece of John's manifesto and one that would make the idea
> of assessment a core piece of Sakai 3.
> It has a lot of impact on the deployment of ePortfolios where multiple
> faculty (perhaps from different departments or colleges) could be
> asked to blindly assess a collection of student work through their
> lens of specialization. Providing guidance for these faculty to HOW to
> grade a portfolio gives the entire process more validity.
> Rubrics are also a vehicle for a university to articulate how it
> differentiates it's standards for excellence from other colleges or
> for showing that program X complies with Association Y's expectations.
> A while ago I jotted down some different ways that rubrics might be
> managed in an LMS.  I believe that issues like the Spellings
> Commission Report and the No Child Left Behind fiasco (K12) and so
> they may be receiving more attention here than elsewhere. It may be
> interesting to see what patterns exist in the community around the
> application and use of rubrics.
> 1. Managed assessments:
> Some rubrics are rather specific to (and must be tied to) a particular
> assessment item and must be approved by an "assessment coordinator"
> for educational QA purposes as part of a larger assessment system
> strategy. Changing the assessment/rubric in this case involves more
> than just the teacher.
> 2. Generally reusable (but unchangeable) rubrics
> Some rubrics may be general purpose rubrics that are NOT tied to an
> assessment, but the dissemination of these approved rubrics may be a
> strategy of an institution to push forward an agenda of best practice
> for assessment by providing a handy reference library of general
> purpose writing, mathematics and science rubrics (for example). While
> the choice whether or not to use one of these "off the shelf" rubrics
> (and which one) is left to the teacher, providing some information to
> the teacher about the schools expectations of its students at
> different stages (and perhaps suggesting an appropriate rubric for
> this grade level/stage of development) would make this service more
> valuable.
> 3. Reusable rubric templates:
> Similar to the above, but the library of "off the shelf" rubrics are
> merely starting points. There is not a priority to ensure that
> everyone is doing assessment the exact same way. When a teacher uses
> one of these rubrics, they can easily edit the performance indicators
> to suit their needs and create a new rubric, just for their new
> assignment. (Rubristar approach)
> 4. Sharing of rubrics:
> This is a bottom up approach to establishing "best practice". As the
> teachers create their own rubrics against goals, they have the
> opportunity to publish them as part of the "reusable" library so other
> teachers can use/edit/republish them. (Someone?)
> Sean Keesler
> 130 Academy Street
> Manlius, New York 13104 USA
> 315-663-7756
> sean.keesler at threecanoes.com
> On Fri, Oct 16, 2009 at 11:07 AM, Noah Botimer <botimer at umich.edu> wrote:
>> Hello John,
>> Thank you for the rather comprehensive narrative. I believe that these are
>> important for the archives as we change our ideas and software over time.
>> They leave a better historical record of our state of mind at any given
>> point than a pile of JIRA tickets. Our successive approximation is better
>> validated when we have a record of these richer "data" points.
>> Now, more on task...
>> This is a fair account from my perspective, and is especially important in
>> that it carves out a first-class place for two things that have been
>> historical weaknesses:
>>  1. The ability to treat various artifacts individually and in collections,
>> consistently, across types of "stuff" and activity (e.g., reflection vs.
>> feedback vs. grading)
>>  2. The ability to retrieve meaningful performance (or other) data in detail
>> and aggregate, consistently, and without extensive one-off programming
>> Interestingly enough, these two areas are what I've spent four years working
>> on -- so I suppose it's not surprising that I call them out. I mention them
>> as weaknesses from my experience. It has been difficult to combine
>> assignment information with student-crafted presentation. It has been
>> difficult to combine course-based (assignment, quiz, etc.) data and
>> program-based activity (annual review, capstone, student teaching
>> performance) and map them to curricular goals and reports...
>> Please do not take my comments as complaints of where we are. What is more
>> important is that I see this narrative as recognizing these activities not,
>> as we have, as things that can be bolted on post-construction but, rather,
>> as shaping the core provisions of a meaningful academic and collaborative
>> platform. We are, as a community, much more aware of our successes and
>> shortfalls. This, I feel, is very healthy and inspiring.
>> I believe this discussion is going in the right direction and sincerely hope
>> that we can find the energy to support it.
>> Thanks,
>> -Noah
>> On Oct 16, 2009, at 6:02 AM, John Norman wrote:
>> I have collected my thoughts around grading and rating in Sakai. I offer
>> them now partly because I feel ready, partly because there are open
>> questions about Gradebook in Sakai 3 and partly because we have just had a
>> discussion in which I suggest it is hard to break things out of a coherent
>> Sakai 3 project. If accepted as is, this represents a logical area of
>> activity than can readily be envisioned as a standalone activity - maybe
>> even a separate product.
>> First of all I'd like to suggest that grading is a subset of a general
>> rating and feedback activity. Many artifacts can be rated, from instructor
>> performance during a course (course evaluation), through quality of a
>> teaching asset or exercise (rating) to assessing the quality of a student
>> portfolio (feedback) and assessing the performance of a student on an
>> assignment or test (grading). The common pattern is: an artifact is produced
>> by one individual (or group) and some value judgement is recorded by one or
>> more other people.
>> The process by which an artifact is judged can be simple or complex. Complex
>> processes include multi-stage workflows where raw scores are obtained by one
>> process and raw scores moderated to a final grade by another process. I see
>> plagiarism detection as one particular wrinkle in such a workflow.
>> I suggest that (nearly) everything in Sakai should be ratable/gradable. I
>> will refer to the ratable/gradable elements as "artifacts" to indicate that
>> they may not be 'technical elements' but some aggregation of technical
>> elements that makes sense for rating/grading purposes. Moreover, we should
>> not forget that some of the artifacts that are rated/graded may not be
>> electronic and the 'artifact' may be a proxy for some real world activity or
>> output that cannot be captured electronically.
>> The activity of rating/grading is essentially a human judgement. Tests and
>> quizzes represent a subset of this situation where the human codifies their
>> judgement into rules applied by the testing engine and the test engine
>> automates the application of scores. The Quiz with the student answers
>> represents the artifact and the raw scores and/or processed grade represents
>> the judgement. The people involved in rating/grading can be anyone:
>> students, teachers, peers.
>> The artifact to be rated or graded may not be stable over time, in which
>> case a 'snapshot' of some kind is desirable for audit purposes. An example
>> might be the state of my personal portfolio pages on the first day of May,
>> when they are declared to be assessed. I may wish to continue maintaining
>> the pages after the assessment, but their status at the time of assessing is
>> worth recording. A different example might be my performance in a piece of
>> drama. I have no idea how this would be recorded in the real world, but I
>> imagine that the grader might write down some critique/commentary and then
>> assign a grade. The critique/commentary would become the recorded artifact
>> (in some places there might be a video recording but I don't assume that)
>> and separately there would be a grade/score/rating. Teacher performance in
>> class evaluated by students is not far from this model. The questions in the
>> evaluation form might be considered the rubric for the teachers performance.
>> In this world, we would want a flexible reporting platform that allows grade
>> information (including an archive of artifact snapshots) to be collected and
>> analysed (and sometimes further processed). I suggest we think of using
>> something like BIRT to create this flexible reporting environment and then
>> consider certain predefined views of the data and derived reports from the
>> data as the essence of "GradeBook" functionality. i.e. "GradeBook" is a
>> subset of functionality from a powerful reporting environment. Ultimately
>> "the official record" will need to be updated.
>> I think it is really important to anticipate that some of the artifacts to
>> be graded may come from outside Sakai and Sakai needs to be able to accept
>> artifacts for grading and also to accept graded artifacts for inclusion in
>> reporting. I see two main implementation options for Sakai
>> 1. A Sakai service with published external entry points (Moodle/Mahara
>> integration would be an example)
>> 2. A new Sakai 'product' which would be an institutional grading/rating
>> service that receives artifacts from a number of places (including the Sakai
>> Course Management System) and manages the grading/rating workflow into a
>> flexible reporting system that creates a complete record for an individual
>> and allows this information to be displayed in a number of places (including
>> Sakai CMS)
>> A strong attraction of the second model is that it fits with the idea that
>> assessing performance is a core competence of the institution that preceded
>> and will survive the CMS, but which is unlikely to be developed for us by
>> the commercial world. It could also represent a shared service with a
>> student information system.
>> Having set out my manifesto, it is interesting to consider what the product
>> council might do with it. From my personal perspective it would be great if
>> we adopted it as the Sakai manifesto (following review/revision) and called
>> for developments to align with it, but there is an open question regarding
>> the value of 'adoption' of the manifesto if nobody is interested in
>> developing products/code that address the manifesto.
>> John
>> PS I have forwarded this message that I saw as I came in this morning
>> because in my mind it illustrates an early step in the direction of my
>> manifesto, although I have taken it much further (perhaps unrecognisably).
>> Begin forwarded message:
>> From: David Horwitz <david.horwitz at uct.ac.za>
>> Date: 16 October 2009 09:29:58 BST
>> To: sakai-dev <sakai-dev at collab.sakaiproject.org>,
>> production at collab.sakaiproject.org, announcements at collab.sakaiproject.org
>> Subject: [Announcements] 2.7 Framework: commons and edu-servise 1.0.0-beta01
>> released
>> Hi All,
>> We're proud to announce the first of 2 framework releases in support of the
>> upcoming 2.7 release. The creation of these bundles aims to rationalize our
>> dependency tree and enable a more modular approach to Sakai releases.
>> Commons 1.0.0-beta01
>> The commons package contains common services depended on by a number of
>> Sakai tools, but outside the scope of the Kernel. The services included are:
>> SakaiPerson Service (profile data)
>> Type Service
>> privacy service
>> archive service
>> import service
>> The project site can be viewed at:
>> http://source.sakaiproject.org/release/common/1.0.0-beta01/
>> (Note experimental site no Sakai skins etc.)
>> Edu-Services 1.0.0-beta01
>> Edu-services contain core shared services that support teaching and learning
>> functionality in Sakai. It contains:
>> Course management service
>> Gradebook service
>> Sections service
>> The project site can be viewed at:
>> http://source.sakaiproject.org/release/edu-services/1.0.0-beta01/
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