Rubric for Assessment of Lifelong Learning Skills and Written Communication Skills

Background: Each BS-CSE capstone course requires each student to explore a new tool, technology, or process and write a three or four page paper on it. The tool etc. in question may be of direct use in the student's design project in the course or it may be only tangentially related to it or even not related at all. The key requirements are that the student research the tool on his or her own, evaluate its appropriateness for its intended (and possibly other) purposes, compare it with alternative tools that may be available, and write a clear and succinct paper reporting the findings. Someone reading the paper should be able to get a good idea of the tool's capabilities, how well it might serve its purposes, what other alternatives might exist and what their strengths and weaknesses might be. The capstone courses include this activity in order to further develop the lifelong learning abilities of the student as well as his or her written communication skills. For an example, see the CSE 772 assignment. The rubric below is used to evaluate the student's paper with respect to both of these outcomes.

Rubric: The student's paper is evaluated along four dimensions, these having to do respectively with the quality of research the student has performed concerning the topic, the quality of analysis/evaluation, the effectiveness of the presentation and organization of the paper, and the overall style of writing. Note that the first two dimensions are concerned with the lifelong learning outcome (program outcome (i)), the last two are concerned with effective written communication (outcome (g)). Each of these dimensions is assigned a score of 1 through 4, these values representing increasing degrees of achievement in the particular dimension, as described in the table below in the rows corresponding to the various dimensions. The last column are the actual scores assigned to this particular student, based on his or her actual performance, along the four dimensions. The overall total score is assigned by simply adding together the scores corresponding to the four dimensions.

Some of the ideas for this rubric came from information at:

Name of person being evaluated:  __________________________________________
Course and quarter of evaluation:  __________________________________________

   1 2 3 4 Points
Research/ gathering information Collects minimal information and about just the particular tool/technology; Collects adequate information about the tool but not much about related ones; Collects adequate information about the tool as well as the related ones; Digs up all kinds of information, follows leads all the way, comes up with exhaustive information including all the background.   
Analysis/ evaluation Analysis simply involves restating gathered information; claims not supported by evidence; Some analysis done but somewhat shallow; some supporting evidence; Careful analysis; good supporting evidence for conclusions; Detailed analysis accounting for all the information; conclusions extremely well supported.   
Presentation of ideas/ organization of paper Bland presentation; sequencing and pace of topics seems random; doesn't lead up to any clear conclusions; Some of the ideas are presented well; others are lacking; offers plausible conclusion(s); Ideas are well organized and help the reader move along; the key points are presented but does not demonstrate in-depth understanding; leads up to convincing conclusion(s); The paper is clear and focused; relevant, quality details give the reader important information; helps the reader develop *insight* into the topic.   
Style Occasional problems with word choices and sentence structure, leaving the reader unsure of the meaning; often resorts to jargon/ cliches; Words and sentences are adequate in general but lack energy; reader has to struggle to keep reading to the end; Good writing style; sentences flow smoothly and evenly; Compelling writing style; connects strongly with the reader and keeps him or her engaged right to the end.   

Evaluator's name:  __________________________________________
Date of evaluation:  __________________________________________