Assessing both knowledge of Earth science concepts and students’ scientific evaluations in making sense of these concepts is important to gauge understanding. In the Model- Evidence Link (MEL) diagram activities, students engage with Earth science content knowledge and evaluate the connections between evidence and alternative explanations. We have developed a rubric for assessing the quality of student evaluations when engaging in the MEL activity, specifically in the written explanations about the connections between evidence and explanations. This rubric features four distinct categories of evaluation: (a) erroneous, (b) descriptive, (c) relational, and (d) critical. For each category, the rubric identifies specific criteria addressing a student’s accuracy, certainty, and use of elaborative language when explaining the connections made during the MEL activity. These categories may serve as individual levels of evaluation, and allow teachers to recognize and follow the development of students’ critical evaluation skills when using MEL diagrams over time.
Bickel, E. S., & Lombardi, D. (2015). Assessing students’ evaluations on the model-evidence link diagram. The Earth Scientist, 32(2), 31-36.