Meeting Abstract

41.3  Jan. 6  Grading Student Lab Papers and Oral Presentations Fairly and Consistently Using Rubrics HARRIS, Michelle A.; University of Wisconsin-Madison

Many of us require our students to write and orally present research papers and/or lab reports summarizing their lab work. We do this to assess how well our students understand key concepts embedded within and demonstrated by their lab activities. For our students, the process of writing and speaking about their lab work often helps them realize how well they understood or, very frequently, did not understand these key concepts. Student writing and oral presentations are therefore powerful instructional and assessment tools. The oral presentation and paper writing processes are very challenging for most students, particularly those new to the scientific research paper format. In the honors undergraduate Biology Core Curriculum (Biocore) Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, we have found that most students achieve excellent scientific communication skills only after completing multiple research papers and presentations. Students benefit even further when they have the opportunity to revise their papers and presentations after getting feedback from instructors and peers. Perhaps most importantly, we have learned the importance of using rubrics to make our expectations and grade assignment process transparent to our students. In this presentation I will summarize how we use detailed research paper and oral presentation rubrics to make our expectations explicit to our students and to help us assess each research project summary fairly and consistently. Comments from instructors and students regarding their use of the rubrics will be highlighted. I will provide attendees with copies of rubrics for standard research final papers, research proposal papers, and for evaluating oral research presentations.