Many universities in USA ask their faculty to perform a "core assessment" where they evaluate (typically) freshman students, near the end of semester, on their understanding of the courses they took.

My department assigns a math question to be given to students in each course and the students' responses are to be graded based on a general rubric (see below).

The rubric that I received uses terminology that seems to originate from social sciences, or perhaps it attempts to be universal and hence very vague. I am looking for rubrics that are more specifically tailored to mathematics. Does your department use a locally produced rubric, or do you know of one?

Some of prior questions in relation to the same general topic were the following.

What is the origin of core assessment?

Is this a viable calculus question?

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you have to deal only with Section 3 in the rubric? $\endgroup$
    – user52817
    Apr 5 at 14:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I suggest more research on the source AAC&U VALUE Rubrics. You can get preview images of any of the various rubrics there, incl. added context, motivation, definitions. The OP's sample does seem like a frankensteinian mishmash of bits from several different rubrics. I'd think just using the one for "Quantitative Literacy" (which e.g. already includes a domain-specific Communication component) might be more appropriate. $\endgroup$ Apr 5 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @user52817 no, we have to deal with all of it. $\endgroup$
    – Maesumi
    Apr 5 at 16:46
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    $\begingroup$ Your description makes me think this is part of an institutional assessment plan required by its accrediting agency. For instance, if you have a math/sci graduation requirement, the institution was probably required to develop goals for that requirement and assess them. The details were probably worked out by a committee of math/sci faculty members according to guidelines decided at the institutional level. If so, you probably don't have much power to change it until the next accreditation review. $\endgroup$
    – user12357
    Apr 6 at 18:23
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    $\begingroup$ Before you can design the assessment, you need to determine the goals (what I assume are referred to by "curriculum outcomes" in the rubric). That's usually where I find disappointment creeps into the process. Generally you have to make sufficiently inclusive (aka broad or vague) statements to get everyone (in the institution) on board. I find this sort of assessment is not for the sake of achieving excellence; rather, it is to guarantee minimum competency, that is, that the institution is of sufficient quality/integrity to deserve federal funding. $\endgroup$
    – user12357
    Apr 6 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


These assessment rubrics drive me nuts. The Lords of Assessment think that learning can be quantized and put into a grid. Usually they get finicky about verbs and can always find a way to correct you. There is a whole enterprise of "Bloom’s Taxonomy of Measurable Verbs."

We put lots of effort into grading and determining course grades for our students. And then the Lords of Assessment always say that we cannot use the letter grades for their grid-assessment of learning.

For section 2 (Control of Syntax), you could check to see if students in algebra use parentheses correctly! If they are efficient and do not use redundant parentheses, you can put them way over to the right of the grid: ""Used graceful language."" If they write something like $\int x^2$ without the $dx$, then they are in the developing column.

Be subversive and have fun. Otherwise, it's easy to get overly annoyed and frustrated with the Assessment-Industrial Complex.


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