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How do I assess a discussion topic or post (grade item, rubric)? Activities | Discussions

An instructional video is included for this subject. This instructional video will provide a step-by-step explanation about how to assess a discussion topic or post. A written manual can be found below the video.

Setting the assessment method

Via the  Assessment tab you can setup the assessment method for a discussion:

  • Click Activities in the navbar of your course.
  • Click Discussions. You will now see the Discussion List.
  1. Click the fold-out arrow next to the discussion you want to assess.
  2. Click Edit Topic.
  1. Click Assessment (the third tab).
  2. Select the grade item you wish to attach in the drop down menu or create a new grade item (New Grade Item).
  3. Fill in the maximum amount of points a student can achieve on the discussion below Score Out Of. Make sure the score equals the score of the rubric if you add a rubric to the discussion.
  4. Click Add Rubric to add an existing rubric to the discussion or Create Rubric in New Window to create a new one.
  5. Check the Allow assessment of individual post box if you want to assess post within a topic separately. The drop down menu allows you to choose how the final score for the topic is calculated :
    • Average post score: the topic score is the average of the scores per post.
    • Maximum post score: the topic score is the highest score on a post.
    • Minimum post score: the topic score is lowest score on a post.
    • Mode post score - Highest on multiple: the topic score is the highest score of multiple posts.
      For example:  1x7, 4x8, 3x9 = 8
    • Mode post score - Lowest on multiple:  the topic score is the lowest score of multiple posts.
      For example:  3x6, 3x7, 1x8 = 8
    • Sum post scores: the topic score is the sum of all the post scores.
  6. Check the Include unassessed posts in the calculated topic score as zero box if posts that have not been assessed should be included in the total score on the topic. The posts will count as a zero.
  7. Click Save and Close to save your changes and to return to the Discussion List.

Assessment with a grade item

If you have created a grade item in Brightspace and attached it to a discussion you can use this grade item to assess this discussion and/or individual posts.

  • Go to Activities in the navbar of your course.
  • Click Discussions.
  • Click the fold-out arrow next to the topic you want to assess.
  • Click Assess Topic. The Users tab will open.
  1. You will see the name of every student in the group and the score he/she has achieved for the topic.
  2. Go to the Assessments tab for an overview of all students. Here you can choose whether you prefer to see the topic score or the score on the rubric per student.
  3. The buttons on top allow you to:
    • publish all scores at once in the grade book (Publish All Scores to Grades);
    • withdraw all published scores (Retract All Scores);
    • adjust which columns you see (Manage Columns).
  4. There are three filter options:
    • Use View By to select if you want to get an overview of all students (User) or students from a specific group (Groups). Click Apply to apply this filter.
    • Use the Search For option to search for a specific student.
    • Use the drop down menu below View Options to select whether you want to see just the topic scores or all scores (including the rubric assessment).
  5. Click Topic Score to assess the student.
  6. Select the box for First Name, Last Name to publish all assessments at once.
  7. You can also publish assessments individually or retract the assessment by clicking the box in front of a student's attempt.
  8. Click Publish Feedback to publish the feedback for the selected student, or click Retract Feedback to retract the assessment.
  9. Below Status you will see the attempt's status. Here you will see whether the attempt has been assessed, whether the assessment has been published and when this happened.

You can also assess students based on a rubric when you click Topic Score. When you select the rubric you can assess the student solely based on the rubric.

  1.  On the top left you will see the name of the student you are assessing. 
  2. Below that you will see all posts the student has contributed to. 
  3. For Score, enter the grade you want to award for each post.
  4. Once the scores have been added, an average score will appear for Overall Grade.
  5. If you wish, you can add general feedback with Overall Feedback.
  6. Click Publish to publish the assessment and/or feedback. Click Save Draft to save the assessment without publishing it right away.

Brightspace automatically pushes published grade items to the Pulse app. If you withdraw your feedback/grade (Retract), students can no longer see it in Brightspace, but still can in Pulse! If you withdraw the feedback/grade on a grade item after you have published it, students will not see the most recent grade in Pulse. They are not notified of this. Therefore it is not advised to withdraw a published grade item, as this can cause confusion for the student. If you adjust an assessed topic, publish it again immediately so that Brightspace also pushes the adjusted grade to Pulse.

Assessment with a rubric

When you have created a rubric in Brightspace and attached it to a discussion you can use this rubric to assess this discussion.

  • Go to Activities in the navbar of your course.
  • Click Discussions.
  • Click the arrow behind the topic you want to assess.
  • Click Assess Topic.
  • Click Topic Score to assess the student. A pop-up window appears containing the rubric.

There are two ways to fill out the Rubric:

  1. Click the box; the Rubric will open in a new window.
  2. Click the Rubric; a shortened version of the Rubric will open in the menu.

This is what the first method looks like:

  1.  Click the level you want to assign for each criterion.
  2. Add additional feedback if needed. To do this, click Add Feedback. A text box will open where you can provide feedback for each criterion.
  3. On the right side you will see the column Criterion Score. Here you will see the score obtained for every criterion, and together they make up the score found behind Total.
  4. At the bottom of the rubric you will see the total number of obtained points. 
  5. Below Overall Score you will see the level matching the number of obtained points. You can change the automatically assigned level by clicking on a different one.
  6. Click Close to return to the assignment. The feedback will be automatically saved.

The second method looks like this:

In this version a shortened Rubric will be shown.

  1.  Use the bar to view and assign the level for each criterion. You can view the different levels by clicking the arrows on the left and right side of the bar, or by dragging the gray box in the bar.
  2. Click the gray box when it is on the right level to assign it. A check box will appear in the assigned level.
  3. Below the bar you will see the description of the level you have assignd.
  4. Click Add Feedback to add feedback to the criterion.
  5. Add Overall Feedback if you wish.

After you have finished filling out the Rubric one way or another, click Publish at the bottom right of the screen to publish the feedback.

Assessing individual posts

You can assess individual posts using Assess Topic (as described above), but you can also navigate to the posts you wish to assess from within the topic.

  • Navigate to Activities in the navbar of your course.
  • Click Discussions.
  • Click the topic within which you want to assess posts.
  • Click the post you wish to assess. It will open in a new window.
  • Click the arrow behind the name of the student whose post you want to assess.
  • Click Assess Student. A new window will open.
  1. Fill out the rubric(s) if they have been linked to the discussion. You can do this by clicking the box for a new window with the elaborate rubric. You can also click the arrow for the shortened version. This works the same as described for the steps Assessment with a rubric.
  2. Add feedback for Overall Feedback if you wish.
  3. Enter the score for each individual post from the student.
  4. An overall grade will appear for Overall Grade. The assessment method you chose determines how the grade is calculated.
  5. Click Publish if you want to publish the score right away. Click Save Draft if you want to save the data but not publish it. Click Update if you want to publish the new feedback.