Goal Setting for Performance-Based Assessments

September 29, 2014

Client article created by Jayzona Alberto and Jorge Godinez

Educators, especially those at health science institutions, face many challenges with the creation, delivery, and grading of subjective, performance-based assessments. Through the implementation of ExamSoft Rubrics, many of these obstacles have been virtually eliminated. There is no longer a need to print hundreds of copies of rubrics for faculty members to grade, nor a chance of miscalculation due to human error; ExamSoft has solved these problems through the continuous development of the rubrics feature. As more improvements are released, setting long-term goals to achieve success in integrating the use of rubrics at your institution is essential. Three main goals to work toward include the following: 1) Reporting and Improving Learning Outcomes, 2) Usage in All Areas of Curriculum, and 3) Faculty Buy-In and Training.

Reporting and Improving Learning Outcomes

A major goal of assessment creation and management involves reporting and improving learning outcomes over time. With rubrics, the goal is to generate reports that demonstrate connections between various dimensions within a rubric to tagged categories. As rubrics are used to assess different projects or performance examinations, longitudinal trends in student performance become apparent and help determine which competencies the students either excel in or need more focused attention.

Usage in All Areas of Curriculum

The portability of the ExamSoft rubrics feature can be a key advantage for many health science institutions. Graders have the ability to log in to the ExamSoft portal from any location (office, clinic, off-site, home, etc.) and score a student’s rubric. Because of this, plan to implement rubric grading in all arms of the curriculum– pre-clinical, clinical, community, and biomedical sciences. With the multitude of assignments, presentations, and examinations given to students, this feature can help streamline processes and offer one central location for faculty graders.

Faculty Buy-In and Training

After inputting and preparing rubrics in the portal, begin training faculty members on grading students. The best approach has been to hold training sessions with small groups of faculty members who are encouraged to bring in their laptops, tablets, or mobile devices to practice rubric grading before the actual assessment. As tablets and mobile devices are easily transportable and user-friendly, faculty members may find that the creation of an ExamSoft iPad app for rubrics will be ideal and beneficial for to grade on the fly and be used extensively in different settings.

As your institution utilizes ExamSoft rubrics more expansively, consider the goals you would like to accomplish with this transition. Many schools can observe an instant value in this feature; but to truly optimize it, goal-setting can provide direction and program-specific results.

Jorge Godinez and Jayzona Alberto are both academic managers at Western University of Health Sciences - College of Dental Medicine in Pomona, California. Their roles primarily consist 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 they encourage faculty to use ExamSoft rubrics.

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