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Theory Assessment Rubric

When I began developing this rubric, I contemplated whether I wanted to develop a rubric specifically for the case study assignment (which was limited to viewing OoS at networks and exploring them as such via a theory we have explored in class) or a rubric that would work for any application of theory to an OoS. I decided to go with the latter option, and here are the results (make sure to click the link for full pdf):blank rubricTo test the rubric that I developed, I decided to read and assess Summer Glassie’s first case study assignment. In applying the rubric to Summer’s case study, I discovered the difficulties involved in applying a generalized rubric to a specific assignment without tailoring the rubric to that assignment. Here’s my application of the rubric to Summer’s case study (make sure to click the link for the full three-page pdf):

Rubric Applied to Glassie CS croppedThere were some sections of the rubric that I would deem successful. It was easy to assess Summer’s discussion of her object of study with the sections that I developed that focused on the object of study. Summer’s case study thoroughly described the object of study.

The problem that I ran into when assessing the assignment had to do with the context of the assignment. In retrospect, I think that my rubric would be best suited to an assignment that was not quite as highly contextualized as a 1,000 word blog entry applying a theory discussed in class is used to examine the way in which an object of study operates as a network. My rubric assumes that the theory being used needs to be introduced thoroughly in a way that Summer didn’t necessarily need to do in her blog entry because of the context (class in which all students had just read about that theory). A case study that described the theory in the detail that my rubric expects might need to be much longer than 1,000 words.

Another way that the rubric and the case study did not really work together is that the expectation set out by the rubric is that the OoS would be mapped extensively in terms of the theory. Summer’s case study did use the theory to frame her exploration of the types of speech acts, communications, and the actors that are involved in WoW guilds, but whereas the rubric lays out an expectation for an extensive, explicit technical discussion of the theory embedded within the discussion of the OoS, Summer’s case study approached the discussion of the theory as a framework within which to explore the OoS, and in so doing the theory was made a bit more implicit and foundational to the OoS rather than analogical as my rubric is designed to assess. My rubric wasn’t designed to assess this approach, which is a valid one, effectively.

If I were to design a new assessment for case studies, I think that I would design one that is tailored much more to the specific context of the assignment rather than one meant to be used for any theoretical application. Attention to context would include changes made on the basis of: length of assignment, primary purpose of the assignment, and local context of the assignment.