[Portfolio] Rubric forms in OSP - weighted averages

Noah Botimer botimer at umich.edu
Wed Jan 13 16:59:36 PST 2010

For the sake of lazy documentation, I want to mention a conversation I  
had with Sean about this.

Michigan has taken advantage of precisely this mechanism. We have  
indicated a couple of things about special fields in the schema, then  
used custom XSL to treat them differently both in creation and viewing.

Though the annotation is straightforward and this constitutes a  
powerful technique, it is somewhat obtuse in the XSL. The base  
templates weren't really designed with extending them in mind, so some  
seemingly simple things turn out to be a lot of complex or duplicated  

An example of this might be multiple choice items, which have some  
intelligence about when to use checkboxes, radio buttons, or select  
tags. Any adjustment here require pretty intimate familiarity with  
what's going on and copying or recreating a bigger piece of  
functionality than you might expect.

None of this is to discourage innovative uses but I do want to mention  
that it is likely to introduce ongoing maintenance if used widely.  
Because there aren't clear places to plug in system-wide extensions,  
things like multiple sites using the functionality can be a bit of a  
chore to track. You might consider these somewhere close to the realm  
of local source modifications when evaluating investment and payoff.

Specific to Sean's scenario, I suggested that he add the annotation  
but be clear in the code that this is custom behavior. Because it's a  
bit of an exercise getting to know what schema pieces result in what  
user interface, some clarity that forms won't get a rubric feature  
without the corresponding XSL is in order.

If folks are doing interesting things with this technique, it would be  
nice to hear about them. I can imagine a sort of cookbook in  
Confluence somewhere.

Maybe Sean could even write up the first recipe.


On Jan 11, 2010, at 4:24 PM, Sean Keesler  
<sean.keesler at threecanoes.com> wrote:

> I'm working on a custom renderer for a bunch of rubric forms for the
> community library.
> One of the ideas that Janice and I were discussing was to have the
> form automatically calculate and store a final "score" based upon a
> weighted average of the ratings for each criteria in the rubric... ie:
> (weight1 * value1) + (weight2 * value2)  +....+ (weightn * valuen) =
> final rating
> I'd really like to express the "weight" of each "field" in the
> schema...that way a record of the weight could be stored along with
> the data when the form is filled out.
> To do something like that, I could create a new "ospi" or "sakai"
> documentation piece....something like:
> <xs:documentation source="ospi.rubricWeight">.2</xs:documentation>
> My custom renderer could read these weights and make use of them, but
> other renderers wouldn't use them at all (and someone would have to
> actually manually figure out the final score....
> Has anyone else built "extensions" like that? Can you think of any
> good reason NOT to do something like that?
> Sean Keesler
> 130 Academy Street
> Manlius, New York 13104 USA
> 315-663-7756
> sean.keesler at threecanoes.com
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