Using a Single Point Rubric to Assess Student Coursework for Program-level Assessment (English)

An effective system of assessing student learning includes measures at the senior level, near graduation, providing information about what students are able to achieve at the end of the program. For many undergraduate programs, senior-level direct measures typically include the evaluation of student work products or performances using faculty-developed rubrics to measure student learning on program-level student learning outcomes.

Rubrics for program assessment come in many forms and vary to best meet the needs of a program. A single point rubric, for example, describes one critical level of performance on the rating scale (such as “meets expectations for a graduating senior”), focusing evaluation relative to that performance level. Single point rubrics also include space for raters to provide qualitative comments when the student work falls at other performance levels on the rating scale.

WSU’s English, BA degree program has adopted a process where instructors use student work products in their own courses – papers, presentations, or other types of assignments – to evaluate student achievement of program learning outcomes. Specifically, instructors of selected 300- and 400-level English courses use the program’s single point rubric to provide rubric scores and comments for each senior English major in their course (as well as juniors completing the English Teaching option who are nearing the end of their coursework in English). The program’s single point rubric focuses assessment around the skills and knowledge – student learning outcomes – desired for English majors as they graduate.

Partial view of the English, BA single point rubric for program assessment.
English, BA Single Point Rubric Example (Partial View)

Participating instructors have indicated that the assessment process is straightforward and easy to complete while grading. Since instructors provide program assessment data while doing their regular grading of their course assignment, instructor expertise and time is leveraged for program assessment and, generally, only a small amount of additional time is involved. Additionally, using a single point rubric provides a streamlined format that allows faculty to efficiently provide information. Single point rubrics also offer raters more flexibility in evaluation, including space to provide qualitative comments with concrete detail about students’ strengths and weaknesses, allowing faculty to adapt ratings to their specific context (e.g., to apply attention to ‘audience’ in different ways depending on the assignment) and assignment type (papers, presentations, or digital products, such as videos or podcasts).

For more information on single point rubrics and evaluating student coursework for program assessment, see ACE’s Quick Guide: Approaches to Evaluating Student Coursework for Undergraduate Program Assessment (PDF) and Quick Guide: Types of Rubrics for Program Assessment (PDF). ACE is available to collaborate with undergraduate degree programs to design rubrics or other tools to measure program-level SLOs; contact us for additional information.