Canvas - Using Department/Program-Level Outcomes and Rubrics for Course Assessment

This article provides guidance for using Canvas as a platform for assessment at UWM. It emphasizes the importance of assessment for program and course improvement. The article highlights best practices for using assessment rubrics, focusing on specific learning outcomes and ensuring consistent evaluation. It outlines the process of creating a rubric assignment in Canvas, setting up the assignment details, and using SpeedGrader to fill out the rubric for each student.

Before you Begin

Reach out to your department chair or outcomes admin if you have any questions about using an outcomes rubric for assessment in your course.

About Using Canvas for Assessment at UWM

Assessment is a process of gathering and interpreting evidence of student learning, in light of program learning outcomes, for the purpose of course and program improvement. UWM departments and faculty are required by our regional accreditor to document assessment of student learning for both graduate and undergraduate degree programs and for courses which carry general education credit.
A few best practices help ensure the integrity and validity of assessment data:
  • While grading rubrics might consider factors beyond proficiency, assessment rubrics should narrowly measure student mastery, proficiency, or achievement on specific learning outcomes.
  • To ensure that differences in scores are meaningful, raters should reserve the highest possible rating for outstanding students, and to avoid using any performance level as a “default” score. Ensure that all raters are applying the rubric in a similar way (e.g., through a rubric calibration session, or clear language describing differences between performance levels). 
  • Assessment data should only be used as part of a collegial or individual process of course or program improvement (i.e., assessment data should not be used to evaluate teaching performance). 

Part 1: Creating the Rubric Assignment in Your Course

  1. At or near the end of the semester, create an assignment in Canvas titled "Learning Assessment."
    1. This assignment must be published in order to use the SpeedGrader (which you will need), however it can be created inconspicuously if you create it under “Assignments” and do not add it to a module on the Home page. 
    2. If necessary, you can explain that it is a placeholder for gathering program data, and does not affect their grade in the course.  
  2. Make the assignment worth the total number of points in the rubric.
  3. Display the grade as points.
  4. Make sure the "Do not count towards course grade" box is checked.
  5. Set the assignment as "No Submission."
  6. Save the assignment.
  7. On the following screen near the bottom of the page, click the "+Rubric" button.
  8. Click the magnifying glass "Find a Rubric" link.
  9. Find the name of the rubric created at the account level.
    1. You should see the name of your Department or Program and the name of the rubric.
  10. Click the "Use this Rubric" button.
  11. Save and publish the assignment.

Part 2: Using SpeedGrader to Fill Out the Rubric

  1. Go into the assignments in the course and click on the assessment assignment.
  2. On the right side of the screen, click on "SpeedGrader."
  3. For each student, click the "View Rubric" button.
    1. Note: The rubric will appear on the right and be partially hidden due to its size. Click the grey bar to the left of the rubric and drag it until the full rubric is in view.
  4. For each rubric category, click on the appropriate points box. The scores will be filled in and tallied automatically.
  5. When completed, click the yellow "Save" button.
    1. Note: The yellow submit button is for comments, you can ignore the button.
  6. Once you have saved the points from the rubric, take the total points at the bottom of the rubric and enter the point total in the box at the top of the page.
  7. At the top right of the SpeedGrader page, click the right arrow icon to grade the next student.
  8. Repeat steps 3-7 until each student has been assessed with the rubric.

KeywordsCanvas assessment, UWM, program improvement, learning outcomes, assessment rubrics, best practices, rubric assignment, SpeedGrader, evaluation   Doc ID96915
OwnerBenjamin G.GroupCETL
Created2020-01-07 13:42:01Updated2023-10-25 10:39:34
SitesUW-Milwaukee Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
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