Gaining Programmatic Momentum with Rubric Evaluations

August 20, 2014 Jayzona Alberto

At the Western University of Health Sciences–College of Dental Medicine, we were proactive in beta testing ExamSoft’s new rubrics feature in various settings ranging from simulated clinical exams to mock board exams. Rubrics can be used for many different types of grading, including clinical exams, OSCEs, homework assignments, essays, group projects and presentations, and self- and peer-to-peer assessments. The college anticipates innovative uses for the rubrics feature in the future and has been happy to provide feedback from faculty and staff to the ExamSoft team on improvements. Specifically, we foresee utilizing the rubrics feature as a quick, on-the-fly evaluation for students completing dental procedures in clinic as well as through homework assignments, video and multimedia projects, DMOXIS notes, or essays, where students will upload these artifacts and faculty members will grade them within the portal.

The staff has the responsibility of creating the rubrics in the ExamSoft system from documents submitted by faculty members. The creation of the rubrics is very simple, and the interface has been quite user-friendly. It typically takes us under seven minutes to create a 5×5 rubric, giving us more time to focus on other important tasks. Along the way, we’ve experienced a few minor issues (e.g., the text cutting off in each box when viewing it as a grader), but our ExamSoft account managers have been extremely responsive when addressing our problems and forwarding them to the appropriate technicians.


After the staff has set up the rubrics for a particular course or assessment, faculty members are invited to a small group training session and provided with laptops or iPad minis to practice grading on the rubrics. By training faculty members in smaller groups, we’ve found it’s easier to manage questions and troubleshoot issues when they arise. For the most part, the faculty members appear satisfied with the functionality of the feature and enthusiastic about how it can improve our processes and grading methods. In addition, the ease of pulling scores and sending reports to faculty and students has eliminated the burden of scoring rubrics individually and diminished the possibility of mistakes through human error.

Grading with ExamSoft’s rubrics feature has resulted in more robust forms of testing and efficient evaluations. Additionally, all of the advantages of this feature vastly outweigh any disadvantages; therefore, the faculty and staff hope to establish it as a standard across the university.

WesternU’s College of Dental Medicine continually strives to achieve success and move forward in dental education through technology. As a collective, we are dedicated to providing a better learning experience to our students, and ExamSoft’s rubrics feature is making that possible.


About the Author

Jayzona Alberto

Jayzona Alberto is one of the Academic Managers at Western University of Health Sciences - College of Dental Medicine in Pomona, California. Her role primarily consists of supporting faculty members in the first and third year curriculum by maintaining grades and assisting with the development, logistics, and administration of assessments such as OSCEs, where she encourages faculty to use ExamSoft rubrics. Prior to her role at CDM, Jayzona graduated from the University of San Diego with her B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Leadership Studies in 2011. She also completed her M.S. in Health Sciences with a dual concentration in Community Health Education and Health Professions Education at Western University of Health Sciences in 2013. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling abroad, attending baseball games, and discovering the best foodie places in Southern California.

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