This is from a final paper assignment in which the students are asked to pretend they are the Asian arts curator at the MIA and are writing a letter to the board of directors recommending the purchase of a particular piece (chosen from a list on the syllabus and following a field trip to the museum). It is a scaffolded assignment; they had already written and received feedback on a formal analysis, a comparative dating analysis, a diagram, a topic proposal, an annotated bibliography, and website evaluation assignment - all of which were to be woven into this letter. At minimum, the letter was to do the following:
1. Describe the object
2. Identify the object, including its subject matter
3. Explain the date through comparison with at least one other securely dated object
4. Discuss the original context of the object
5. Propose a display plan
For other courses, I have changed the "follow assignment" area and other minor edits as needed.
I found the rubric useful in maintaining consistency. It allowed me to grade each criterion holistically but assign a number to each. That way I was less likely to discount a good idea due to bad writing or vice versa, since I'd average the numbers to find the percentage and letter grade. I also hoped that the students who needed a number for it to feel less subjective could have a number would feel better, without me writing minuses anywhere. However, I'm not entirely sure how useful it has been. I don't think most of the students really look at it. I'm worried that it is too much information and too overwhelming. Any comments or suggestions would be welcome!
A side note: my deparment chair here at the time posted it to the faculty and grad students and several colleagues have said they really like it. When I ask how they use it, many say that since they type their comments for each paper, they just cut and paste from it and it saves them time (but I guess the students never see it ahead of time).