Tips for Grading Kialo Assignments

While grading criteria for any given assignment will always need to be adapted to the particular learning objectives at hand, Kialo has a number of features that can help you when grading assignments. We’ve collected some key tips on using them below, along with a sample grading rubric that can be modified to match different assignment types and grade levels.

When grading group assignments, a good place to start is the Info/Stats/Topology tab.
This displays how many claims, contributions (any action including comments and edits), and votes each participant made.

If you click on the number of claims for any given user, the right-hand column will automatically display all claims written by that user. If you click on the number of contributions for a given user, the claims and the comments made by that user will be displayed in the left column. You can also access a list of claims and comments by a particular user by filtering the Discussion Activity List.

Where the primary goal of your assignment is simply for students to actively participate, it will often be sufficient to quickly look through the contributions made by each student. Where voting on a discussion is part of the assignment, you can use the Perspectives feature to see how each student voted, and the Discussion Activity List to see which claims specific students have or haven’t yet voted on.

The Teacher Feedback feature allows you to leave feedback on claims for students. Feedback left via this feature can by default only be viewed by other discussion Admins and can be released at a later date to just the student(s) who made the relevant claims or all students in the discussion. The Teacher Feedback feature is therefore particularly useful when formally grading an assignment.

The marking, commenting, and voting features can all be adapted to providing quick and specific feedback to students. Commenting on individual claims ties feedback to the specific part of the assignment that needs it. Marking claims highlights particularly critical mistakes or problems, and voting can be used to communicate which parts of a student’s argument is stronger and which part is weaker. These features can also be used in peer-to-peer feedback, or used as a discussion takes place to steer and help students.

When grading assignments where the way students collaborated is a key criterion, the Discussion Activity List gives useful insight into how the discussion evolved and changed over time.

While grading a discussion, we generally recommend turning on the display claim authors feature. This will show you (on the claim card) the original author of a claim – and, where the claim has been linked from another location, the user who created that link.

If your learning objectives include a focus on collaboration and revision, it can be helpful to have the students upload a summary and analysis of their own work, including examples of the claims they are proudest of and analysis of the main difficulties they encountered. This is both a useful exercise in reflection for students and a useful aide in grading a student’s participation.

While no one grading rubric can apply to all assignments on Kialo – and adaptations will always be necessary depending on the age and background of students – we’ve included a sample grading rubric below as a reference. This particular rubric is designed for a college-age audience submitting discussions completed in small groups, and so reflects the learning objectives appropriate to that age group and assignment type, but many aspects of it can be easily adapted to different assignment contexts and types.

Learning OutcomeAdvanced ProficiencyBaseline ProficiencyEmergentNot Proficient
Clarity of ExpressionClaims are on-topic and explicitly connected, the connection to parent claims is clearly communicated in a way that facilitates comprehension.Claims are on-topic and explicitly stated.Claims are mostly on-topic, but the main point is often implicit.Claims are not clearly on-topic; it is difficult to determine the main point of claims.
Engagement with MaterialSource material from class, as well as outside material when appropriate, is explicitly woven into the discussion at multiple levels. Additional sources are used to support claims without redundancy.Source material from class is used consistently throughout the discussion, although sometimes implicitly. All major branches of a discussion have some support but there may be some redundancy. Claims at lower levels of a discussion may be less well sourced.Source material is referenced, but generally only at the higher levels of a discussion. Some branches of a discussion may not have source material referenced. Ideas and concepts from source material may be mentioned, but connection to specific source materials not clearly stated, relying instead on context to determine relevance.Source material is not directly engaged with at all, or only engaged with at points where it is irrelevant. There may be some implicit references to the source material, but the context provides insufficient background to clarify this reference.
Mastery of MaterialUsage of source material is accurate and insightful, demonstrating consistent knowledge of meaning and nuance of source material.Usage of source material is accurate, but may fail to go beyond redescribing ideas and information contained in text. There may be small inaccuracies in usage of source material, but not in a way that seriously impedes demonstration of comprehension.Usage of source material is mostly accurate. Ideas are presented in ways that are simplistic or that fail to go beyond restatement. There may be a few significant inaccuracies, but they do not seriously change the overall significance of materialSource material is not directly used at all, or is used in a way that demonstrates serious misunderstandings.
Ability to Construct a ThesisThesis is clearly and concisely stated. Top level claims provide clear, comprehensive and concise coverage of main strategies to defend or attack thesis.Thesis is clearly stated. Top level claims identify main strategies to defend or attack the thesis. While there may be some gaps in the comprehensive nature of these strategies, claims presented cover sufficient ground to either accept or reject the thesis.Thesis is stated in a way that is generally accurate but may not be clear or precise. The topic is stated, but the argument is not made clear by the thesis. Top level claims for the most part identify strategies to defend or attack the thesis, but do so in a non-comprehensive way. Connection between top-level claims and the thesis is only present implicitly, and not clearly communicated.What is presented as the thesis does not qualify as a thesis. The general topic is either not identified or identified too vaguely to convey the topic being approached. There is no explicit relation between top-level claims and the thesis.
Logical Structure of Kialo ClaimsArguments are clearly organized, and organization is explicitly communicated. Pros, cons and comments at all levels follow from a thesis claim. Claims become progressively more specific and detailed moving down the tree from the thesis. Arguments are easy to understand and respond to at every location.Arguments are well organized, particularly at top levels. Specific claims are brought in at the relevant thread, and grouped together with related claimsArguments are somewhat organized, but contain some problems that impede clarity. These may include: some duplicate claims, posts that contain more than one claim, or claims that don’t clearly fit within the Pro/Con structure.The discussion contains claims, but the argument requires additional work to locate and understand. Claims are often too long, misplaced, or do not follow from a central thesis.
Constructive InteractionSubstantial contributions provide feedback, comments, or sub-claims to promote further discussion. This work is done in such a way as to expand upon and clarify the texts and sources used in the discussion. Interactions include a mixture of questions and suggestions. Suggestions are made to facilitate the quality of the discussion as a whole.Contributions added timely, informative, and respectful comments to the work of other contributors. There are a mixture of questions and clarifications.Contributions demonstrate a willingness to help others but sometimes make unclear or untimely comments. There is a greater emphasis on “reactive” contributions (responding to someone else) then on proactive contributions.Contributions either fail to respond to comments or respond in such a way that hinders further discussion.
Ability to Present Both SidesThere are meaningful claims and comments that have been added to both sides of the discussion. Contributions have demonstrated a nuanced understanding of the negatives and positives on both sides of the discussion. The strongest versions of claims on both sides are presented, irrespective of the student’s own position.There are claims on both the pro and con sides that are relevant to the discussion. Straw man arguments are avoided.The student has attempted to add claims on both sides of the discussion, but some may be unclear or unrelated. Positions on one side may sometimes be overly simplistic straw man arguments.The student has either failed to add claims or comments on one side of the discussion, or has added claims that are not relevant. One side or the other may be presented in an extreme way, with clear straw man arguments.
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