1. Cognitive challenge of the task
This dimension describes the level of thinking required for students to complete the task. Specifically, it describes the degree to which students have the opportunity to apply higher-order reasoning and engage with grade-appropriate academic content material.
For example, an assignment given a high score for cognitive challenge might require students to synthesise ideas, analyse cause and effect, and/or analyse a problem and pose reasonable solutions using content-area knowledge (eg, comparing themes from different books, etc). An assignment given a low score on this dimension, in contrast, might only require students to recall very basic, factual information.
2. Clarity of learning goals
This dimension describes how clearly a teacher articulates the specific skills, concept or content knowledge students are to gain from completing the assignment. The primary purpose of this dimension is to describe the degree to which an assignment could be considered a purposeful, goal-driven activity focussed on student learning. An assignment given a higher score on this dimension would have goals that were very clear, detailed and specific, and it would be possible to assess whether or not students had achieved these goals.
3. Clarity of the grading criteria
The purpose for this dimension is to assess the quality of the grading criteria for the assignment in terms of their specificity and potential for helping students improve their performance. Raters consider how clearly each aspect of the grading criteria is defined and how much detail is provided for each of the criteria.
An assignment given a high score for this dimension would have grading criteria that clearly detail the guidelines for success and provide a great deal of information to students about what they need to do to successfully complete the task.
4. Alignment of goals and tasks
This dimension focuses on the degree to which a teacher’s stated learning goals are reflected in the design of the assignment’s tasks. Specifically, this dimension attempts to capture how well the assignment appears to promote the achievement of the teacher’s goals for student learning. An assignment given a high score on this dimension would involve tasks and goals that overlap completely.
5. Alignment of goals and grading criteria
This dimension is intended to describe the degree to which a teacher’s grading criteria support the learning goals (ie, the degree to which a teacher assesses students on the skills and concepts they are intended to learn through the completion of the assignment). Also considered in this rating is whether or not the grading criteria include extraneous dimensions that do not support the learning goals, as well as the appropriateness of the criteria for supporting the learning goals.
6. Overall quality
This dimension is intended to provide a holistic rating of the quality of the assignment based on its level of cognitive challenge, the specificity and focus of the learning goals, the clarity of the grading criteria, the alignment of the learning goals and the assignment task, and the alignment of the learning goals and grading criteria.