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Rubrics for Nurse Students’ Learning Assessment

Grading Rubric

Criteria 0 0.2 0.3-0.4 0.5 1
  Significantly below course requirements Does not meet course requirements Minimally meets course requirements Satisfactorily meets course requirements Proficiently meets course requirements
Ability to correlate the major nursing works, models, and principles with the names of theorists who developed them.
The total number of correct scores – 10
(Questions 1, 6, 7, 8, 9).
Weighting 35%
All answers to the test questions are incorrect. No evidence of subject knowledge can be found.
0 correct answers.
Most answers to the test questions are incorrect. Some irrelevancies and inaccuracies are present.
1-3 correct answers.
Most test answers are correct. Some irrelevancies and inaccuracies are present.
4-5 correct answers.
All test answers are sufficiently adequate and correct. Some minor inconsistencies and inaccuracies may be found.
6-9 correct answers.
All test answers are adequate and correct.
10 correct answers.
Awareness of basic nursing care processes (Swanson).
The total number of correct answers – 1
(Question 2).
Weighting 10%
Does not demonstrate knowledge in the given content area.
0 correct answers.
Demonstrates an accurate understanding of the subject.
1 correct answer.
Understanding of Imogene King’s theory.
The total number of correct answers – 7 (Questions 3, 4, 5).
Weighting 25%
Information provided in answers may be irrelevant, incomplete, and/or inaccurate.
0 correct answers.
Demonstrates limited knowledge of the subject. Information may be significantly irrelevant and inaccurate.
1-2 correct answers.
Demonstrates an understanding of key aspects of the subject but without details. Some irrelevancies and inaccuracies are present.
3-4 correct answers.
Shows generally correct understanding of major aspects of the subject. Some minor inaccuracies can be observed.
5-6 correct answers.
Demonstrates a complete and full understanding of the subject.
7 correct answers.
Comprehension of the levels of nursing experience as described by Patricia Benner.
The total number of correct answers – 5 (Question 10).
Weighting 20%
There is no evidence of subject knowledge. Information may be inaccurate or incomplete.
0 correct answers.
There is sporadic evidence of knowledge. There are inaccuracies that make the information hard to understand logically.
1-2 correct answers.
Demonstrates some evidence of insight and knowledge. Some inconsistencies may be present.
3 correct answers.
Demonstrates general understanding g of the subject. Minor inaccuracies may be observed.
4 correct answers.
There is an accurate and extensive understanding of the subject.
5 correct answers.
Test content and deadlines.
Weighting 10%
All assessment elements/test units lack sufficient content. The test completion deadline is missed. Lacks answers in most test units. The deadline is missed. Provides a sufficient number of answers in most parts of the test. The deadline is met. Adequate answers are given in most of the test units. The deadline is met. Provides adequate and sufficient answers in all parts of the test. The deadline is met.

Assessment Guidelines

A rubric is a student learning assessment tool that “describes the criteria being used to score or grade an assignment” (Arkansas State University, n.d., p. 1). Rubrics always decompose a task into several parts and give a thorough description of what an acceptable or unacceptable level of student performance is in every of the identified areas. Rubrics allow achieving a significant level of transparency in assessment (Jonsson, 2014). It can be implemented for measuring students’ knowledge and abilities in various types of assignments including narratives, research papers, reports, presentations, etc. But the assignment that I am going to discuss today is a test comprised of 10 questions about nursing theorists and their major works.

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Nursing theory is an essential part of nursing education experience, and, moreover, it largely affects the manner of professional conduct. A deeper understanding of various nursing conceptions contributes to a more profound understanding of own work (Martens, 2011). Learning of theories, principles, and models of care always start from an investigation of their backgrounds: particular reasons that caused their development and individuals who developed them. As stated by Alligood (2014), nursing knowledge differs from the general medical knowledge in many aspects, and, therefore, by raising awareness of nursing theorists’ roles and significance of their works, nursing students comprehend the distinctions between the two fields and get an opportunity to improve professional practice.

The developed test is meant to evaluate the basic knowledge in many nursing theories including Nightingale’s environmental theory, typology of twenty-one nursing problems, King’s goal attainment theory, and others. During the test completion, the students are expected to answer eight multiple-choice, and true-or-false closed-ended questions, as well as two open-ended questions. In most of the questions, the students should classify the theoretical components and correlate the prominent professional works with the names of their authors. Thus, the items included in the test address the first and the second levels of Bloom’s learning taxonomy – remembering and understanding.

The parts of every analytical rubric and the criteria of assessment largely depend on the type of assignment. For instance, the traditional set of assignment dimensions for a written work consists of subject knowledge, reflection skills, format, paper organization, and clarity of writing (Giddens & Lobo, 2008.). However, many of these performance descriptions are not included in the rubric for the evaluation of test results because the major purpose of any academic test is the measuring of the level of a particular content area’s comprehension by students. Therefore, the designed rubric comprises five task-specific performance descriptions that serve as guidelines throughout the course of the assessment. These descriptions refer to such areas of the subject knowledge as links between nursing works and theorists, basic nursing care processes, levels of nursing experience, and Imogene King’s models. Additionally, I suggest evaluating the dimension of test content completion and meeting the deadline. It means that if a student will miss the deadline or will complete only several sections of the test, he or she will lower the total score by 2-10 percent. The set deadline can help to minimize test result biasing while the review of test sections’ coverage allows teachers to obtain a more comprehensive and multidimensional view of students’ knowledge.

Each performance level is marked with scores from 0 (significantly below course requirements) to 1 (proficiently meets course requirements). At the same time, every performance dimension is associated with a particular weight value, e.g., 10 percent for awareness of basic nursing care processes or 20 percent for comprehension of the nursing experience levels. When evaluating each criterion of knowledge separately, the teacher will multiply the number of scores in every segment by the number of percentages designated to a particular performance area. With this method, the highest total score will be 100 (percent), and the lowest is 0.


Properly constructed analytic task-specific rubrics allow educators to obtain diagnostic information and achieve inter-rater reliability quickly (Reddy, 2011). The designed analytic rubric has a direct link to instruction content, and it can be used for both formative and summative assessments. It addresses the major learning goals and, in this way, when evaluating student performance according to the suggested criteria, the educator will clarify both teaching content and learning outcomes, and use the results to improve individual performance and whole-class instruction.


Alligood, M. R. (2014). Nursing theorists and their work. Maryland Heights, MO: Elsevier.

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Arkansas State University. (n.d.). Rubrics – student learning assessment tool. Web.

Giddens, J. F., & Lobo, M. (2008). Analyzing graduate student trends in written paper evaluation. Journal of Nursing Education, 47(10), 480-3. Web.

Jonsson, A. (2014). Rubrics as a way of providing transparency in assessment. Assessment & Evaluation In Higher Education, 39(7), 840-852. Web.

Martens, B. V. (2011). The production of practice theories. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(3), 586. Web.

Reddy, M. Y. (2011). Design and development of rubrics to improve assessment outcomes. Quality Assurance in Education, 19(1), 84-104. Web.

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