home
Assess students

Example: Rubric for an essay

The holistic critical thinking scoring rubric, used in conjunction with fixed-choice tests, can provide multiple measures of critical thinking performance. As with all student assessment devices, care should be taken to assure interrater reliability in the ratings being generated by instructors.  

Permission is granted to reproduce copies of this rubric for teaching assessment, research by students, faculty, and administrators at public or non-profit educational institutions.

Instructions for using the rubric

1. Understand the construct.

This four level rubric treats critical thinking as a set of cognitive skills supported by certain personal dispositions. A good critical thinker engages in analysis, interpretation, evaluation, inference, explanation, and meta-cognitive self-regulation. The ability to fairly pursue the reasons and evidence wherever they lead is crucial to reaching sound decisions and resolving complex problems.

2. Differentiate and focus

Holistic scoring requires focus. In any essay, many elements must come together for overall success: critical thinking, content knowledge, and technical skill. Deficits or strengths in any of these can draw the attention of the rater. However, in scoring for any one of the three, one must attempt to focus the evaluation on that element to the exclusion of the other two.

Rubric

4 Consistently does all or almost all of the following:

Accurately interprets evidence, statements, graphics, questions, etc. Identifies the salient arguments (reasons and claims) pro and con. Thoughtfully analyzes and evaluates major alternative points of view. Draws warranted, judicious, non-fallacious conclusions. Justifies key results and procedures, explains assumptions and reasons. Fair-mindedly follows where evidence and reasons lead.

3 Does most or many of the following:

Accurately interprets evidence, statements, graphics, questions, etc. Identifies relevant arguments (reasons and claims) pro and con. Offers analyses and evaluations of obvious alternative points of view. Draws warranted, non-fallacious conclusions. Justifies some results or procedures, explains reasons. Fair-mindedly follows where evidence and reasons lead.

2 Does most or many of the following:

Misinterprets evidence, statements, graphics, questions, etc. Fails to identify strong, relevant counter-arguments. Ignores or superficially evaluates obvious alternative points of view. Draws unwarranted or fallacious conclusions. Justifies few results or procedures, seldom explains reasons. Regardless of the evidence or reasons, maintains or defends views based on self-interest or preconceptions.

1 Consistently does all or almost all of the following:

Offers biased interpretations of evidence, statements, graphics, questions, information, or the points of view of others. Fails to identify or hastily dismisses strong, relevant counter-arguments. Ignores or superficially evaluates obvious alternative points of view. Argues using fallacious or irrelevant reasons, and unwarranted claims. Does not justify results or procedures, nor explain reasons. Regardless of the evidence or reasons, maintains or defends views based on self-interest or preconceptions. Exhibits close-mindedness or hostility to reason.

Additional information

Holistic critical thinking scoring rubric. Retrieved May 3, 2004 from California Academic Press Web site: http://www.uog.edu/coe/ed451/tHEORY/HolisticCTrubric.pdf

Facione, P. A. (1990). Critical thinking: A statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction: Research findings and recommendations. American Philosophical Association. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 315 423.

Facione, P. A., & Facione, N. C. (1994). The holistic critical thinking scoring rubric. Millbrae, CA: The California Academic Press.

Page last updated: Sep 21 2011
Copyright © 2007, The University of Texas at Austin