My approach to assessment is to be as objective as possible, providing clear goals and paths for achieving them. Hence, I use varied rubrics, including the comprehensive rubric below and the more specific Participation and Writing rubrics. Percents/points are converted to letter grades according to my Grading Scale.
The "A" Student - An Outstanding Student
Attendance: "A" students have virtually perfect attendance. Their commitment to the class resembles that of the teacher.
Preparation: "A" students are prepared for class. They always read assignments fully. Their attention to detail is such that they occasionally catch the teacher in a mistake. They always participate in class.
Curiosity: "A" students show interest in the class and in the subject. They look up or dig out what they don't understand. They often ask interesting questions or make thoughtful comments.
Retention: "A" students have retentive minds. They are able to connect past learning with the present. They bring a background with them to class.
Attitude: "A" students have a winning attitude. They have both the determination and the self-discipline necessary for success. They show initiative. They do things they have not been told to do.
Results: "A" students make high grades on work in courses-usually the highest in the class. Their work is a pleasure to grade.
The "B" Student - A Good Student
Attendance: "B" students miss class infrequently. Academics sometimes compete with other priorities.
Preparation: "B" students are usually prepared for class. They try to participate in class discussion.
Curiosity: "B" students have some interest in the subject and ask questions when they do not understand.
Retention: "B" students will frequently make connections among different ideas in the course and occasionally with other ideas from outside.
Attitude: "B" students desire to master the course material. They are active participants. They occasionally show initiative and seek out additional topics related to the course.
Results: "B" students usually improve over the duration of the course with increasing grades on course work as they master the material and become more efficient in their work.
The "C" Student - A Fair Student
Attendance: "C" students miss class too frequently. Too often they put other priorities ahead of academic work.
Curiosity: "C" students ask few questions and show little interest in course readings and class discussion.
Preparation: "C" students prepare their assignments consistently but in perfunctory manner. Their work may be sloppy or careless. At times, it is incomplete or late.
Attitude: "C" students are not visibly committed to the class. They participate without enthusiasm. Their body language often expresses boredom.
Results: "C" students obtain mediocre or inconsistent results on tests. They have some concept of what is going on but clearly have not mastered the material.
The "D" Student - A Student in Difficulty
Attendance: "D" students miss classes frequently, sometimes a majority of the time. When they miss class, they often fail to find out what was covered in class or even what work was assigned.
Curiosity: "D" students rarely ask questions and often hope not to be noticed during class discussion.
Preparation: "D" students prepare their work in a slipshod fashion. Sometimes they miss assignments and fail to follow directions on others. Work is submitted late.
Attitude: "D" students are uncommitted to the class. They may be in the course only because it is required or because the other alternatives are worse. They are frequently bored by the class and show it. They have poor study habits and try to minimize their study time in the course.
Results: "D" students demonstrate little understanding of course material on papers, class work, and exams. They fail to complete many assignments and rarely participate in class discussions unless forced to do so.