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Created By: Kienna Knowles

Course: EDUC 6625-T1002 Habits of Mind: Thinking Skills

Course Instructor: Dr. Ashraf Esmail

Technology Standard 4: Assessments and Evaluations

Program Outcome: S4.3: Applies multiple methods of evaluation to determine students' appropriate use of technology resources for learning, communication and productivity.


Rubrics are authentic assessment tool used to measure students' work. They provide clear expectations for students and ensure that all guidelines are clearly established prior to beginning an assignment. Each week, students use Internet resources and digital/computer software to complete pre and post laboratory research. To ensure students are using Internet resources and digital/computer software effectively to complete laboratory assignments, this learner has developed a course rubric that applies to all laboratory activities and assignments. With clear and defined rubrics students can effectively evaluate and select new information resources and technological innovations based on the appropriateness for specific tasks.

Title: Designing Assignment Rubrics for Scientific Laboratory Reports

The rubric created for this assignment can be found using the following link:

A laboratory report is intended to assess a student’s understanding of a particular set of science techniques, skills and concepts. Students are expected to complete the lab activity using correct science techniques, organize the data appropriately and interpret the results using previous knowledge and credited resources. Since laboratory activities are student-driven, it is imperative that students in the laboratory group exhibit self-directness.

When evaluating self-directness, it is important to note that being a self-directed learner is a trait or disposition, in conjunction with a list of observable behaviors (Biemiller, and Meichenbaum, 1992). In this learner’s experiences traits and behaviors of self-directed learners include (but are not limited to) student motivation, goal orientation, metacognition, self-regulation and self-efficacy. Specifically, the rubric in this paper can be used to help facilitate student self-management, self-monitoring, and self-modification via the principles of self-directed learning: goal orientation, self-efficacy and metacognition.

Goal orientation (in this learner’s opinion) is a concept within student motivation. When students are motivated, they set goals and make plans to follow and achieve these goals. Caraway, Tucker, Reinke, and Hall (2003) define goal orientation as the “individual's ability to make plans and set goals” (p.1), which works in conjunction with self-efficacy to increase motivation. Goal-oriented individuals set challenging goals for themselves (reflecting self-management) and maintain high levels of commitment to these goals despite encountering obstacles or challenges (exhibiting self-monitoring and self-modification). During a laboratory activity students must set and follow the goals in order to complete the task at hand. Remaining focused, motivated and persistent is critical to obtaining accurate data.

This learner supports that motivation drives self-directed learning. Individuals that are motivated exhibit self-efficacy, a trait or behavior or self-directed learners. Self-efficacy is defined as "people's judgments of their capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performances" (Linnenbrink & Pintrich, 2003, p. 120). Self-efficacy is different from self-esteem in that it is a personal judgment of competence, rather than an emotional reaction to actual accomplishments. Self-efficacy directly relates to self-modification, self-management and self-monitoring. Individuals who effectively manage and monitor their progress can assess and determine their general competencies and weaknesses thus making the require modifications to be successful. This behavior is very important for student scientists working in laboratories. Students in laboratories must be self-efficacy to modify their techniques and procedures when necessary to obtain accurate information. Students must also demonstrate self-efficacy in order to research and develop appropriate hypotheses. More importantly, students must exhibit self-efficacy when it relates to interpreting and understanding the data collected.

Interpretation of data is a metacognition skill. Metacognition is the ability of learners to analyze, reflect on, and understand their personal cognitive and learning processes (Scheidet, 2003 and Zimmerman, 2002). Various examples support metacognition as a trait or behavior of self-directed learning. This learner’s supports that analyzing, interpreting and organizing raw data is an excellent example of students using metacognition skills. In order to interpret and organize data students must identify appropriate strategies thus constantly using metacognition skills (Scheidet, 2003). Using metacognition to complete a task is an example of self-management, self-monitoring and self-modification. Students that are aware of their own cognitive strengths and weaknesses are more likely to be able to adjust and compensate for them to improving their learning experiences (Scheidet, 2003).

Efficient self-directed learners exhibit self-management, self-monitoring, and self-modification. Rubrics assist students successfully establish and manage realistic goals; obtain and implement effective plans; and evaluate progress and make modifications when needed, solely from their own motivation. Research shows that a rubric can provide a guide for the assignment, indicate strengths in one’s learning and identify learning steps for students (Laureate Education, 1996). More importantly, rubrics promote self-modification, self-management and self-monitoring by provided analysis and feedback (Laureate Education, 1996).


Biemiller, A., & Meichenbaum, D. (1992). The nature and nurture of the self-directed learner. Educational Leadership, 50(2), 75–80.

Caraway, K., Tucker, C.M., Reinke, W.M., & Hall, C. (2003). Self-efficacy, goal orientation, and fear of failure as predictors of school engagement in high school students. Psychology in the Schools, 40(4), 417–427.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (1996). Helping students become self directed learners. [Video recording]. Los Angeles: Author.

Linnenbrink, E.A., & Pintrich, P.R. (2003). The role of self-efficacy in student engagement and learning in the classroom. Reading and Writing Quarterly: Overcoming Learning Difficulties, 19(2), 119-137.

Scheidet, R.A. (2003). Improving student achievement by infusing a web based curriculum into global history. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 36(1), 77–94.

Zimmerman, B.J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview. Theory into Practice, 41(2), 64–70.