Evaluation of student blogs

Posted: December 11, 2008 in About reading & writing blogs

Several people manifested interest in integrating blogs in communication curricula. An important part of blogging as a class assignment is assessment.

Here’s how I assessed my students’ blogs in the PRinciples class.

I published guidelines and grading criteria at the beginning of the semester.

I subscribed to the RSS feeds for all blogs, and read every single student post. I tried to comment as much as possible, but I didn’t comment on all posts. I mostly commented on posts that stimulated me and made me want to comment.

I compiled a weekly digest of week’s best blog posts – partly to keep track of great blog posts, partly to promote my students.

By the end of the semester, I had a clear feeling of who excelled at blogging and who didn’t.

Here’s a breakdown of characteristics of each class of blogs:

A blogs (300-270 points out of 1,000) excellent – these were the “stars”

  • had all required blog posts
  • excellent frequency of self-motivated blog posts (at least one a week)
  • self-motivated blog posts were interesting, thoughtful, original, insightful (quality)
  • authors engaged in the blogosphere by posting comments on others’ blogs

B blogs (255-225 points out of 1,000) good

  • had all or most required blog posts
  • did well on either frequency or quality of self-motivated posts, but not so well on the other; or, did an average job on both
  • authors engaged in the blogosphere

C blogs (210-180 points out of 1,000) below average

  • had low number of required blog posts
  • had problems in both frequency and quality of self-motivated posts

D blogs (165-135 points out of 1,000) minimal effort/way below average

  • had low number of required blog posts
  • had very few, if any, self-motivated blog posts

F blogs (0 points)

  • student didn’t even try

The overall grade represents a balance between frequency and quality. Some students started the semester well, wrote some very insightful blog posts, but slowly abandoned their blogs. Others picked up at the end of the semester, and yet a third category posted throughout the semester, yet not frequently enough (less than once a week).

Even students who posted about once a week (high frequency) did not always receive the highest grade. The posts had to be insightful, thoughtful, and original, showing self-motivation and self-sufficiency. Students who only responded to class discussion on their blogs but did not show initiative and originality in their writing did not earn As.

Blogging is a difficult exercise which requires committment and thoughtfulness. Students who invested both time and thoughtfulness earned the highest grades.


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