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Poor (1)

Below Ave. (2)

Ave (3)

Above Ave. (4)

Excellent (5)



Observes accurately, collects data, identifies facts, recognizes patterns; Identifies concepts, objectives, issues, or themes; identifies relevant information.

Poor basic knowledge of subject; misses or unable to identify important data/facts or patterns; sometimes misinterprets evidence; often focuses on details and misses the “big picture”.




Excellent basic knowledge of subject; consistently observes and identifies important data/facts and patterns; accurately interprets evidence; easily sees the “big picture”



Identifies unknowns; distinguishes between data and inferences; organizes information systematically with accurate relationships; identifies reasonable outcomes/conclusions

Summarizes data/knowledge in a disorganized fashion; has difficulty identifying unknown factors; confuses assumptions with facts; misses important relationships; needs to be guided to reasonable conclusions.




Systematically organizes data /knowledge; focuses on the important unknown factors; does not confuse assumptions with facts; accurately describes relationships; able to independently draw reasonable conclusions.



Uses appropriate tools, techniques, and models; uses a variety of sources for information; applies knowledge/experience to practical situations

Randomly applies models and problem-solving tools; does not seek out additional information; unable to identify solvable problems in practical situations.




Identifies appropriate models and problem-solving tools; routinely seeks out additional information; able to simplify practical situations to solvable problems.



Connects data to conclusions; articulates expected results; defends/justifies conclusions; compares results/conclusions to expected outcomes

Often fails to identify strong relevant counter-arguments; justifies few results or procedures; seldom explains reasons; poor ability to use data/facts to justify conclusion; rarely compares results/conclusion to expected or true outcomes.




Identifies the salient arguments pro and con; justifies key results and procedures; explains assumptions and reasons; consistently justifies conclusion with data/facts; thoughtfully analyzes unexpected outcomes.



Makes appropriate generalizations; designs and executes projects/experiments; formulates and tests hypotheses; formulates thesis and organizes supporting material; identifies and solves problems.

Unable to generalize specific cases; has difficulty designing methods to test hypotheses; rarely sees the “next step”; often draws unwarranted or fallacious conclusions; can solve assigned problems with guidance.




Sees connections between specific and general cases; can generate different methods to test hypothesis; easily sees the “next step”; draws warranted, judicious,  conclusions; can identify and independently solve problems.



Compares different ideas, analyses, solution techniques, and theses; identifies bias/subjectivity; recognizes effects from different assumptions, theories, and models; evaluates different approaches using reasoned argument

Ignores or superficially evaluates obvious alternative points of view; maintains or defends views based on self-interest or preconceptions with little regard for evidence; unable to explain how different conclusions could be reached.




Thoughtfully analyzes and evaluates major alternative points of view; fair-mindedly follows where evidence and reasons lead; able to analyze source of differences in conclusions and objectively choose best answer.