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Rubric

Assessment: Rubric for Assessing Hypothesis Formulation/Study Design OR Article Critique (two outcomes associated with the first goal, addressing the scientific method)

  • Learning Outcome 1: Formulate a testable hypothesis and design a study to test the hypothesis, demonstrating mastery of technical issues such as factors, control, bias, and sample size; OR
  • Learning Outcome 2: Provide a precise critique of the strengths and weaknesses of a published experiment or observational study
  Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Outstanding
Learning Outcome 1: Formulation of testable hypothesis Hypothesis is not accurately formulated, uses incorrect terminology, and/or is not testable as formulated Hypothesis is accurately formulated using appropriate technical terms; hypothesis is testable Hypothesis is accurately formulated using appropriate technical terms, is testable, and is creative or innovative in an important way
Learning Outcome 1: Study design Design does not follow appropriately from hypothesis; does not address (or does not successfully address) necessary technical issues Design follows appropriately from hypothesis; demonstrates mastery of technical issues (e.g., factors, control, bias, sample size) Design follows appropriately from hypothesis; demonstrates mastery of technical issues (e.g., factors, control, bias, sample size)
  Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Outstanding
Learning Outcome 2: Critique of published experiment/observational study Description/explanation of study/experiment, identification of strengths/weaknesses, or both, are inaccurate Description/explanation of study/experiment is accurate, identification of strengths and weaknesses is accurate Description/explanation of study/experiment is accurate, identification of strengths and weaknesses is exceptionally thoughtful, and implications of strengths/weaknesses are also described

Assessment: Rubric for Assessing the Gathering and Analysis of Scientific Data (an outcome associated with the second goal, addressing the gathering and analysis of scientific data)

  • Learning Outcome: Gather data using controlled experiments or observational studies, summarize the data graphically and numerically, and use the data to test existing hypotheses or generate new ones
  Unsatisfactory Satisfactory  Outstanding 

Data gathering techniques (controlled experiments or observational studies) 

Inappropriate data gathering and/or documentation technique(s) chosen; inaccuracies in data gathering and/or documentation

Appropriate data gathering and documentation technique(s) chosen; data gathered and documented accurately

Appropriate data gathering and documentation technique(s) chosen; data gathered and documented with exceptional care and focus

Graphical/numerical summary of data Inappropriate presentation method chosen for data summary; data summary presented inaccurately or carelessly

Appropriate presentation method chosen for data summary; data summary presented accurately

Appropriate presentation method chosen for data summary; data summary presented in such a way as to show special skill and insight in working with data
Use of data to test existing hypotheses or generate new hypotheses Hypotheses and/or conclusions are not appropriate in light of data obtained

Appropriate hypotheses selected  or developed in light of data obtained; appropriate conclusions drawn in light of data obtained

Superb choice of existing hypotheses or exceptional thoughtfulness in generation of new hypotheses; conclusions drawn are both appropriate and highly insightful

Assessment: Rubric for Assessing Formal Statistical Inference, Mathematical Modeling, OR Technique/Algorithm Derivation (three outcomes associated with the third goal, addressing quantitative reasoning)

  • Learning Outcome 1: Carry out formal statistical inference for hypothesis testing or parameter estimation, including precise statements of the method’s assumptions and conclusions; OR
  • Learning Outcome 2: Construct and analyze a mathematical model of a real-world phenomenon, including derivation of the model, clear statements of its assumptions, and interpretation of the model’s predictions; OR
  • Learning Outcome 3: Derive mathematical techniques or computer algorithms that can be used to solve a general class of problems
  Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Outstanding

Learning Outcome 1: Formal statistical inference for hypothesis testing or parameter estimation

Necessary data management is not done or done incompletely; statistical tests may be chosen poorly; statements on method’s assumptions/conclusions/ implications may be incorrect or sloppy Data management (e.g., cleaning) is done as needed; statistical tests used are appropriate to the context;  statements on method’s assumptions, conclusions (significance; effect size) and implications are precise and accurate Data management is done as needed; appropriate statistical tests are used; statements on assumptions, conclusions, and implications are exceptionally thoughtful as well as being precise and accurate
  Unsatisfactory Satisfactory  Outstanding
Learning Outcome 2: Construction and analysis of mathematical model of real-world phenomenon Model construction, derivation, and interpretation of predictions  are inappropriate or indicate a lack of understanding of mathematical modeling; analysis may be incorrect; assumptions may be absent or stated incorrectly

Model construction is appropriate; analysis of model is accurate; model derivation is appropriate; model assumptions stated clearly; interpretation of model’s predictions is appropriate

Model construction is unusually thoughtful; analysis of model is outstanding; derivation is insightful; assumptions are stated clearly; interpretation is appropriate and implications are included
  Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Outstanding
Learning Outcome 3: Mathematical technique/ computer algorithm derivation to solve a general class of problems

Derivation cannot be used as required; value of derivation is not articulated or is articulated in such a way as to indicate student’s lack of understanding of derivation

Derivation is both functional and at least somewhat creative; value of derivation is articulated effectively

Derivation is extremely creative and can be used to solve unexpected problem(s) or to solve them in unexpected ways; value of derivation is articulated elegantly

Assessment: Rubric for Assessing the explanation of fundamental concepts and processes in the particular scientific discipline, or Summarizing the evidence in support of critical theories (two outcomes associated with the fourth goal, addressing the foundations and principles of scientific knowledge)

  • Learning Outcome 1: Explaining fundamental concepts and processes in the particular scientific discipline; OR
  • Learning Outcome 2: Summarize the evidence in support of the theory, explain how some of the evidence was gathered (e.g. experimental techniques or mathematical derivations) and interpreted, describe some testable predictions or logical consequences of the theory, and describe some shortcomings or limitations of the theory
  Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Outstanding

Learning outcome 1: Explain fundamental concepts in the particular scientific discipline

Fundamental disciplinary concepts are not adequately or clearly explained, such that comprehension of the concepts is not demonstrated

Fundamental disciplinary concepts are explained clearly and in such a way as to demonstrate comprehension of the concepts 

Fundamental disciplinary concepts are explained with unusual clarity and insight
Learning outcome 1: Explain fundamental processes in the particular scientific discipline

Fundamental disciplinary processes are not adequately or clearly explained, such that comprehension of the processes is not demonstrated 

Fundamental disciplinary processes are explained clearly and in such a way as to demonstrate comprehension of the processes

Fundamental disciplinary processes are explained with unusual clarity and insight
  Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Outstanding
Learning Outcome 2: Summary of evidence supporting mathematical or scientific theory Summary is poorly written, incomplete or absent

Summary is complete and succinct

Summary is unusually well-written and thoughtful
Learning Outcome 2: Explanation of evidence collection and interpretation Explanation is incomplete or suggests that student does not understand relevant methods Explanation is complete and demonstrates understanding of relevant experimental techniques/mathematical derivations/other method(s) Explanation is complete and unusually insightful, particularly regarding evidence interpretation
Learning Outcome 2: Description of testable predictions or logical consequences of a theory Testable predictions or logical consequences are not appropriate to the theory; apparent lack of understanding of the theory’s implications Testable predictions or logical consequences are appropriate to the theory; demonstrate at least some understanding of the theory’s implications Description of predictions or consequences shows unusual insight in understanding the theory or its implications
Learning Outcome 2: Description of shortcomings or limitations of a theory No shortcomings or limitations are described, or they are described inadequately, such that student fails to demonstrate an understanding of the theory Some shortcomings or limitations of theory are described; insight is apparent in description, which demonstrates student’s understanding of the theory The most important shortcomings or limitations are described in an original way that demonstrates student’s mastery of the theory at an advanced level

Assessment: Rubric for Assessing Enhance Scientific Literacy (outcomes associated with the fifth goal)

  • Learning Outcome 1: Describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena and processes, OR
  • Learning Outcome 2: Critique a peer-reviewed scientific article from the primary literature, summarizing the goals, methods, and conclusions in the student’s own words, explaining how the article builds on previous knowledge, and describing the main scientific strengths and weaknesses of the article; OR
  • Learning Outcome 3: Analyze a current scientific controversy (it may be one in which there is substantial disagreement among scientists, or one in which the issue is largely settled among scientists but remains controversial in broader society). Explain how some of the evidence may allow alternative explanations, explain how the debate may be influenced by non-scientific issues such as cultural values, entrenched power structures, or self-interest, and summarize some of the policy or ethical implications of the controversy.
  Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Outstanding
Learning Outcome 1: Describe natural phenomena and processes  Relevant natural phenomena and processes are described inaccurately or not described Relevant natural phenomena and processes are described accurately Relevant natural phenomena and processes are described exceptionally clearly and insightfully
Learning Outcome 1: Explain natural phenomena and processes Relevant natural phenomena and processes are explained inadequately; the explanation is incorrect or incomplete Relevant natural phenomena and processes are explained in such a way as to demonstrate comprehension of their structure, function, or other key aspects Relevant natural phenomena and processes are explained unusually well, such that the explanation sheds new light on how to consider them
Learning Outcome 1: Predict natural phenomena and processes Relevant natural phenomena and processes are predicted inaccurately or ability to use standard disciplinary predictive methods/models is not demonstrated Relevant natural phenomena and processes are predicted accurately using standard disciplinary predictive methods/models

Relevant natural phenomena and processes are predicted accurately and standard disciplinary predictive methods/models are used in an unusually sophisticated way 

  Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Outstanding
Learning Outcome 2: Summary of goals, methods and conclusions Does not address goals, methods, or conclusions successfully; suggests lack of understanding of article

Summary successfully addresses goals, methods, and conclusions and demonstrates understanding of article

Summary of goals, methods, and conclusions is superb and demonstrates unusual insight into the article
Learning Outcome 2: Explanation of how article builds on previous knowledge Fails to articulate link between current article and previous research appropriately Explanation successfully shows link between current article and previous research Shows broader implications of knowledge building beyond basic assignment success
Learning Outcome 2: Description of article’s main scientific strengths and weaknesses Some of the main strengths and/or weaknesses are not included or are misunderstood

Description covers appropriate strengths and weaknesses, demonstrating understanding of relevant science

Scientific strengths and weaknesses are addressed with depth and thoughtfulness
   Unsatisfactory  Satisfactory  Outstanding
Learning Outcome 3: Explanation of how evidence may allow alternative interpretations No demonstration of potential legitimacy of alternative interpretations, or response indicates student does not understand material Explanation of alternative interpretations is appropriate and demonstrates student’s grasp of material Explanation of alternative interpretations is thorough and creative, showing student’s masterful understanding of the controversy as a whole
Learning Outcome 3: Explanation of how debate may be influenced by non-scientific issues Important relevant non-scientific issues are missing, or explanation does not grasp significance of issues included Explanation includes important relevant non-scientific issues; shows their potential influence clearly Explanation includes the most important relevant non-scientific issues and grasps their significance to the greatest extent possible
Learning Outcome 3: Summary of policy/ethical implications No summary of policy/ethical implications, or incomplete or careless summary Summary includes important implications and describes them appropriately Summary includes the most important implications and shows unusual insight in considering them