This section provides a basic overview of several kinds of scoring tools. Scoring tools assume a variety of forms, depending on the assessment item type and on the purpose of the assessment (i.e., to evaluate prior knowledge, obtain diagnostic information, or determine degree of mastery). General guidelines for developing and applying these scoring tools are provided.
Scoring is often a simple matter of checking whether or not a response matches a specific and predetermined correct answer. For example, dichotomously scored selected response items require only an answer key to determine a single correct response. Technology allows for machine-scoring of these types of items as opposed to hand-scoring (having one or more persons examine a response and assign a score).
Richer and more complex activities, such as items that are constructed response, open-ended, and can be answered correctly more than one way, require hand-scoring. Because the process of evaluating the quality and completeness of a response calls for human judgment, this process is sometimes referred to as "judgment-based" scoring.
Two primary judgment-based scoring methodologies should be considered when creating and using scoring tools.
- Analytic Scoring: In this method, separate scores are assigned to different traits or dimensions of a student response. For example, if scoring an improvised dramatic performance, separate scores might be assigned for use of voice, body, dialog, space, etc.
This method calls for the use of one or more checklists designed to identify all of the traits being considered. Checklists sometimes include information about how much weight to give each trait when determining a total score (counting a particular trait twice or three times as much as others, for example).
- Holistic Scoring: In this judgment-based scoring method, a single score is assigned based on overall "best fit" with a set of descriptors that defines the level of student performance across multiple criteria. This methodology is sometimes referred to as "modified" or "focused" holistic scoring.
This method calls for the use of either generic rubrics (criteria that are designed to fit more than one activity) or activity-specific scoring tools.
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