Improving assessment with a single-point rubric


I’ve started using single-point rubrics for assessing and feeding back on essays since coming across them on  This post has a nice summary of the benefits which I won’t repeat here.

Here are a couple of essay questions and single point rubrics designed to develop and assess critical thinking and writing skills in line with Edexcel’s Psychology specification. They are both ‘context’ questions requiring a combination of analysis/application, critical thinking and knowledge and understanding. I’ve tried to construct them to facilitate the sort of structure that works with Edexcel (but which is also consistent good academic writing). There is one on different types of brain scanning/imaging and another on eyewitness testimony (weapons effect, postevent information). These are RTFs, so you can hack them about to make your own. If you do, please share in the comments.  

Resources: three lessons on brain scanning/imaging and developing academic skills

Kim J, Matthews NL, Park S. Wikimedia Commons.
Studies show that blog posts accompanied by brain scan images are 70% more convincing.

Here are three lessons on brain scanning/imaging. They’re from early on in my course so they’re also planned to help developing important skills and ways of thinking. There is a set of brief lesson plans for each session (these plans are read from top to bottom; no timings are given).

Lesson one introduces CT, PET and fMRI (slideshow) using a text on brain imaging and a reciprocal teaching activity. This is followed by an introduction to making comparisons, with a brain scans comparison table (copy this on A3). I ask students to complete the table outside class. There is some supplemental information to help them do this.

Lesson two (slideshow) starts with a Socrative quiz on brain scanning. This is followed by an application task in which students need to choose and justify the appropriate imaging technique for each scenario. There is then an opportunity for students to develop their academic writing.

Lesson three (slideshow) involves students planning and writing a short essay requiring application to a problem and critical comparisons between scanning/imaging techniques.

Resources: brain scanning

Here are some resources for teaching brain scanning.  There is a text on CT, PET and fMRI (.pdf), some application problems (.pdf), a comparison table (.rtf) and a short slideshow (.pptx) with key ideas and images.