Author: Andrew

Student-centered rubric design

Here’s an example of a holistic writing rubric response for a student who has been judged as “approaching” (approaching what? Competence? Excellence? Bethlehem?)… “Writer presents a wandering, vague, or unfocused controlling purpose or thesis. The paper moves awkwardly from a weak introduction to a conclusion that does not adequately represent the body of the paper. Basic paragraphing exists, but often fails to support or even recognize a central idea, and the use of evidence and examples is inadequate. Sentence and paragraph transitions are often unclear, awkward, indirect, and/or illogical. Tone and diction are often inconsistent and/or inappropriate for the subject and its implied audience. Mechanics (grammar, punctuation, spelling and documentation, if needed) are not well executed and may, at times, obscure meaning.” Now, it could very well be that the author of this massive paragraph intends the rubric to be used for data gathering, not response to the student. Let’s assume that is the case (I won’t include a source for the above excerpt to avoid getting personal with a hard-working composition teacher somewhere). At the other end of the spectrum, here’s a criteria from a rubric designed for a marketing class: “Grammar, clarity of presentation, adequacy of content, attention to details, use of concepts discussed in class:  …………….” This criteria was worth 20 points (out of a 100)…so I’m assuming the prof wrote in “16” or similar on...

Read More

Outcomes: LVAIC 2007

We spoke at the Lehigh Valley Technology in the Classroom Symposium today. Higher education institutions from the Lehigh Valley (in and around Allentown, PA – about an hour north of Philadelphia) gathered to share approaches to common challenges, immerse themselves in some of the latest and greatest things going on in ed tech, and relax their way through a very hot PA summer day. It was a calm and pleasant way to spend some time getting to know some new schools, talk to the Tablet PC wizzes from Gateway, and talk about everybody’s favorite subject, outcomes. We got the coveted just-before-lunch time slot, just after a very compelling Beth Ritter-Guth described her amazing uses of Second Life to immerse students in the literary worlds of Beowulf, Edgar Allen Poe, and Dante. Tough act to follow. Now if some foundation would just throw a couple of million bucks into making a totally immersing, photo-realistic Yoknapatawpha County. Here’s my list of resources, which several people asked for: NC State University Internet Resources for Higher Education Outcomes Assessment Dr. Helen C. Barrett’s uber-site on eportfolios (just about everything you could think to ask) Particular discussion of the need to split portfolio functionality from assessment functionality High level outcomes mapping tools WEAVEonline Bb Outcome$ Trakdat Tools for developing actual data (!) on student achievement NSSE: National Survey of Student Engagement Collegiate Learning Assessment...

Read More

Collaboration and Virtual Worlds

We met this week with one of our new clients – a school of education – an excited group of faculty and administrators, working hard to finish the school year, and completely enthralled with their teaching mission and the work their students are creating. Besides having a good time sampling another part of the country, the trip was hugely useful for us. Every school we talk to is at some point along a continuum of looking for effective ways to assess student work (of all types). Whether the solution is eportfolios, Waypoint, custom-built databases, WeaveOnline, Bb Outcomes…there is a commonality here that is truly exciting. These assessment systems will answer, over the next few years, exactly what is going on inside curricula, where students are performing well, where they need help, and will root out inconsistencies and some of the massively incoherent events in a student’s life…bouncing from course to course, professor to professor, with expectations changing (to a student) with a gust of wind… I also read with, great interest, about ‘Sloodle‘ – a matching of the Moodle LMS and Second Life (SL). I’ve had two conversations in the last month with people involved with virtual worlds (check out to get a sampling), and the potential is clearly huge, especially when you consider that the average 18 year old has spent entire weeks of his/her life in...

Read More


Welcome to the personal blog of Andrew J. McCann - a history of interests and thinking focused on education, product design, and leadership. All views here my own!