Embedding resources into digital assessment rubrics
Bringing academic support directly to students
Students are increasingly entering higher education via diverse pathways and with diverse levels of academic preparedness (Ashton-Hay & Doncaster, 2021; Edwards et al., 2021; Dooey and Grellier, 2020; Beatty et al., 2014; Goldingay et al., 2014). With many academics believing their role is to teach “content” rather than academic skill development, responsibility for the development of academic literacies needed by students falls on the student or Academic Language and Learning (ALL) units (Huijser et al., 2008; Gunn et al., 2011). As such, embedding academic resources and literacies into topics has become common practice among ALL units, resulting in improvements in student learning (Hebdon, 2015; Maldoni 2018). While various embedding models have been adopted in universities (Black & Rechter, 2013; De Maio & Desierto, 2016; Maldoni 2017; Maldoni & Lear, 2016), few, if any, focus on embedding of ALL resources into assessment rubrics. Here we describe a model for embedding resources directly into assessment rubrics and how this service aims to support students at a critical moment in their studies, contextualise academic skills within units of study, and reduce generic queries to subject staff. Further, this model helps increase the visibility of ALL services and identify resource use and quality. In addition, the gathered data allows us to report back to academics on what academic skills they are asking students to demonstrate, prompting reflection on assessment design. At Flinders University, we are piloting this model as a strategy to reach all learners and support student success. As of August 2021, we have embedded our academic skills resources into assessment rubrics for 70+ units of study university-wide, collecting data and feedback on usage. Future findings should offer possibilities for adoption, reflection, and further research across higher education institutions and ALL units.