On assignments that are scored question-by-question rather than as a whole written piece of work (often the case with science, math, and some social science assignments), you will be asked to give rationales for your scores in place of the standard summary feedback on student strengths and areas for growth.
New for 2020-21: AP History essays and some other pre-determined rubrics will also use rationale scoring this year in response to teacher feedback. This article is more aligned to math/science assignments graded question-by-question, but the same hallmarks apply.
Your rationale feedback should exhibit the same hallmarks of effective feedback as any other student-facing feedback (goal-oriented, prioritized, actionable, and student/teacher-friendly), but requires some content knowledge and will typically involve more content-driven language. Feedback doesn't just tell the student what they got right or wrong, but helps them understand underlying concepts so they know how to approach similar questions in the future.
Here's what that looks like for rationale-style assignments:
AP Chemistry - Free Response Question
AP World History - Short Answer Question
Effective Feedback guidelines for Rationale-style feedback
- Goal Oriented
- Feedback is aligned to the expectations laid out in the prompt and scoring guide.
- Feedback uses the same language used in the scoring guide.
- Feedback is objective.
- Feedback directly addresses the content being covered using content-based language.
- Feedback provides an explanation of what point(s) the student earned.
- Feedback explains why a student did not earn particular points.
- When students miss points, the feedback includes an explanation of what they can do in order to earn these points in the future.
- Feedback includes guiding questions that lead the student towards the correct answer.
- Content-specific vocabulary is used so that students knows exactly what concepts to practice in order to improve their scores.
- For blank answers, explain to students how they can begin to answer the question on their own. It is most helpful to assume that a student did not understand how to approach the question rather than assuming they ran out of time.
- Use positive and friendly language to encourage the student.
- Avoid using words such as 'again' that call attention to points missed earlier in the assignment.
- When possible, greet the student by name in the first rationale feedback box.
- More specific tips for AP history assignments
- More specific tips for AP math and science assignments
- Interested in scoring assignments like these? Learn about qualifying for more advanced assignments.