Design and Validation of a Rubric to Assess Problem-Solving Skills of Students in a Chemistry Context

Proceedings of The 6th International Conference on New Trends in Teaching and Education

Year: 2023



Design and Validation of a Rubric to Assess Problem-Solving Skills of Students in a Chemistry Context

Andrés Garcés, Luis F. Sánchez-Barba, Damián Pérez-Quintanilla, Miguel Ángel González, Gonzalo Martínez, Esther María Márquez, Óscar R. Montoro and Carolina Vargas





Interest in developing 21st Century Skills, particularly Problem-Solving (PS) abilities in Science Education, has grown in recent years. This study presents the design and validation of an analytic rubric to quantitatively assess PS performance in 23 students enrolled in the Water Resources (WR) degree program at Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid, Spain. The rubric evaluated students’ PS abilities through conveniently designed ill-structured problems within a General Chemistry course. The rubric consists of three dimensions, each representing different levels of PS mastery, with a total possible score of 60 points. By employing indicators ranked on a three-level scale, the rubric enables a comprehensive evaluation of students’ problem-solving efforts in written solutions. Categorizing students into five stages of competence acquisition allows effective assessment of their PS skills within each level Findings from the study indicate a preliminary decrease in PS performance as students progress through the different levels, although a significant grade is achieved at the initial stage. Notably, a positive correlation (r = 0.778, p < 0.05) exists between students’ final exam marks and the assigned rubric scores, reinforcing the validity of the rubric as an accurate instrument to measure of PS skills. The designed analytic rubric serves as a robust and practical tool for assessing PS abilities, facilitating personalized instruction, and fostering continuous improvement in students’ problem-solving capabilities within the General Chemistry course. Moreover, reliability assessments, including Cronbach’s alpha (0.983) and inter-rater reliability (Intra-Class Correlation Coefficient = 0.935), confirm the effectiveness and consistency of the rubric for objective PS skills assessment. In summary, the analytic rubric offers valuable insights into students’ problem-solving abilities and real-world applications. Instructors can adapt methods and provide targeted feedback to enhance performance. Incorporating student explanations can improve comprehensive evaluation. The rubric is a valuable educational tool, empowering continuous improvement and excellence in PS skills.

keywords: 21st Century Skills, Critical Thinking, Evaluation, Feedback, Soft skills