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This rubric was designed as an extension of my unit outline for VCE Philosophy Unit 2 Area of Study 2
Further problems in value theory where the two topics chosen were aesthetics and art (VCAA,
2014). This is the summative assessment of this unit that culminates with an oral presentation (see
When designing the rubric my first decision was to elect for a holistic rubric rather than analytic.
After researching the strengths and limitations of both I found that a holistic rubric was more suited
for philosophy as the holistic approach is more appropriate when performance tasks require
students to create some sort of response and where there is no definitive correct answer (Moskal,
2000). A key skill of the task was to formulate informed responses rather than formulate correct
responses (VCAA, 2014). Therefore it would appear counterintuitive to provide an analytical rubric
as I am not looking for particular specifics from this task, rather an overall understanding and
application of how to philosophise on contemporary issues. It has also been shown that holistic
rubrics are customarily utilized when errors in some part of the process can be tolerated provided
the overall quality is high (Case, 1999. In Mertler 2001), this is much like philosophy whereby the
student may not demonstrate outstanding knowledge of philosophical terms of particular
philosophers, however if they can demonstrate that they can think critically like a philosopher on a
particular case study then theyre overall score will not be as severely impacted. While a holistic
judgement may be built into an analytic scoring rubric as one of the score categories, within a
Philosophy oral presentation the difficulty of the overlap between the criteria that is set for the
holistic judgement and the other evaluated factors cannot be avoided (Moskal, 2000). Particularly as
this is a summative task where students are expected to congregate the skills developed in the prior
formatives together for this summative, a holistic summative rubric was deemed most appropriate.
My methodology for creating the rubric was to write thorough narrative descriptions for excellent
work and poor work incorporating each attribute into the description, describing the highest and
lowest levels of performance combining the descriptors for all attributes (Mertler, 2001). I ensured
to focus the descriptors as work orientated rather than judgements about the work. While this is

problematic within philosophy, I believe throughout a course of work students would understand
key terms in the rubric such as engage and would be able to differentiate between what is engaged
to what is missing the greater meaning behind the case study.
My rubric was inspired through a blended taxonomy of Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome
(SOLO) and Krathwohls Taxonomy of Education Objectives: Affective. Philosophy can be well linked
to the concept of students understanding the SOLO structures. Examining the students how layered
their philosophy structures are (such as argument, reason, application, refining and further
hypotheses of larger questions) is emphasised within SOLO (Biggs & Collis, 1982). Likewise
Krathwohls affective taxonomy assesses how well a student can extend new knowledge. As the task
requires students to take a case study within a pre-existing debate, how well the students can assess
and develop on the debate independently this correlates well with the ideas of valuing, organising
and characterising the information (Krathwohl, 1990). While some students may simply respond to a
debate or argue a particular case, the strong students will present an argument that uses the debate
as an extension to how their argument consistently operates within the overall discussion of art and
the aesthetic. It is important to note that within the highest category I am also incorporating the
expert of the Dreyfus Model of skill Acquisition. A deep understanding of the total
situation(Dreyfus 1980). is a critical skill to effectively discriminate between high achieving students
in philosophy. However I have not used this model consistently.
Furthermore I followed the advice of Trice who argued it is not a good idea to think of rubrics in
terms of percentages (in Mertler 2001). I chose a logical route in assigning grades rather than a
mathematical approach. I blended the taxonomies and then differentiated between which grade
matched my expectations for Year 11 Philosophy. This went from the unsatisfactory grade of a
student who retells or provides a basic description of a contemporary debate to an A+ assessment of
a student who uses a contemporary debate to advocate and extend their own arguments within the
larger debates of art and the aesthetic (Biggs & Collis 1992).