Grading Discussions with a Rubric

The process of grading discussions with a rubric is, unfortunately, cumbersome. The following describes two different methods: attaching the rubric to the discussion itself or attaching it to the grade item associated with the discussion. Both choices have advantages and disadvantages as described below (see Grading Discussions for an explanation of grading discussions without a rubric).

Grading with rubrics attached to the grade item

Attach a rubric to the grade item by clicking the Rubric button when editing the grade item

Attaching the rubric

First, attach a rubric to the grade item or edit the grade item associated with your discussion (or create one). In the middle of the page, click the Add Rubric button to attach the rubric you want to use.

Grading via the Gradebook

Select Grade All from the action arrow next to your discussion name

Since your rubric is attached to the grade item, you will grade the discussion from your gradebook. In the gradebook, select the dropdown arrow next to the name of the grade item associated with the discussion, and then click “Grade All”.

On the next page, you will see all your students and have access to the rubric and discussion posts.

Screenshot of the grade all page for a grade item.

Clicking the submission icon, lets you see the student’s posts, and you can also input a grade and feedback from this window. Clicking the assessment icon allows you to view and make selections to the rubric. Unfortunately, you cannot have the submission window and the rubric window open at the same time unless you have them open in different tabs. However you do it, it is a cumbersome process to switch between the two windows. If you have two monitors, open the rubric on one and the student posts on the other. You can more easily see both at the same time this way.

After you complete the rubric, you must type in the score derived from it into the Grade column as you see above.The score does not automatically transfer from the rubric to the grade. Then save the page.

Students would then see their grades, your feedback, and the rubric. This is how it appears to students in their grades area:

Students would click "assessment details" to view the rubric associated with a discussion grade

This method appears to provide the best experience for students since they see how they were graded on the rubric along with feedback and their grade all in one place. The primary disadvantage is that students do not see the rubric prior to posting to the discussion (unless you have another version of it posted somewhere). To remedy this, you could attach the rubric to the discussion as well as to the grade item. Students could preview the rubric this way on the discussion but would view their graded rubric in grades. You would just need to be sure you use the rubric attached to the grade item and not the one attached to the discussion when you are giving graded feedback.

Grading with rubrics attached to the Discussion

If you attach the rubric to the discussion instead of the grade item, you gain some conveniences but lose some function. When the rubric is attached to the discussion, students can preview it before participating in the discussion. However, if you grade them with that rubric, students will not be able to see how you graded them on it. Students can only see the graded rubric when it is attached to the grade item as described above. It is also less cumbersome for your grading process to grade with the rubric attached to the discussion. But as just described, students do not see the graded rubric.

Adding the rubric to a discussion

Click the dropdown arrow next to the discussion and choose “Edit Topic.”

Edit topic is available from the dropdown arrow next to a discussion name

Then, click the Assessment tab and the Add Rubric button to attach your rubric.

Grading a discussion with a rubric attached to the discussion

To grade the discussion, go to the discussion you want to grade, and click the action arrow beside the name and choose “Assess Topic.”

Choose assess topic to grade the discussion.

You will see a list of your students with “Topic Score” and your rubric name under each student name. Click the rubric name to open the rubric and assess the student.

Choose Topic Score or the rubric name to assess the student

When the popup opens, you will see the rubric, where you can make your selection for each criterion, as well as all the student’s posts for that topic. Remember that students will not see the selections you have made on this rubric. It is only there to help you judge the discussion.

The rubric and all the student's posts appear on this page.

After you have completed the rubric, note the total score. Close the rubric and open the Topic Score link.

Click topic score to enter the grade and provide feedback

Here, you will you input the total score and provide any feedback. Be sure to check the Published box and save the page.

The topic score page lets you provide feedback, enter a score, and few a student's posts.


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