Hypotheses: Testable and consider alternatives

Hypotheses: Testable and consider alternatives

            5                           1                          3

Hypotheses are clearly stated, testable and consider plausible

alternative  xplanations


No hypothesis is



The hypothesis is

stated but too vague

or confused for its

value to be



A clearly stated, but

not testable

hypothesis is



A clearly stated and

testable, but trivial

hypothesis is




A single relevant,

testable hypothesis is

clearly stated


The hypothesis may

be compared with a

“null” alternative

which is usually just

the absence of the

expected result.



Multiple relevant,

testable hypotheses

are clearly stated.


Hypotheses address

more than one major

potential mechanism,

explanation or

factors for the topic.



A comprehensive

suite of testable

hypotheses are

clearly stated which,

when tested, will

distinguish among

multiple major

factors or potential

explanations for the

phenomena at hand.


Hypotheses: Scientific merit

            5                              1                                3

Hypotheses have

scientific merit.



Hypotheses are

trivial, obvious,

incorrect or

completely off topic


Hypotheses are

plausible and

appropriate though

likely or clearly

taken directly from

course material.



Hypotheses indicate

a level of


beyond the material

directly provided to

the student in the lab

manual or



Hypotheses are

novel, insightful, or

actually have the

potential to

contribute useful

new knowledge to

the field.









Writing quality                        

               4                             1                              2                               3                             5


Grammar, word usage

and organization

facilitate the reader’s

understanding of the




Grammar and

spelling errors

detract from the

meaning of the



Word usage is

frequently confused

or incorrect.


Subheadings are not

used or poorly used.


Information is

presented in a

haphazard way.



Grammar and

spelling mistakes do

not hinder the

meaning of the


General word usage

is appropriate,

although use of

technical language

may have occasional



Subheadings are

used and aid the

reader somewhat.


There is some

evidence of an


strategy though it

may have gaps or




Grammar and

spelling have few



Word usage is

accurate and aids the




Distinct sections of

the paper are

delineated by informative



A clear


strategy is present

with a logical

progression of ideas.




Correct grammar and



Word usage

facilitates reader’s





significantly aid




A clear


strategy is present

with a logical

progression of ideas.

There is evidence of

an active planning

for presenting

information; this

paper is easier to

read than most.




                   1                                     3                                        4                                      5


Illegible writing, loose pages


Legible writing, some ill-formed letters, print too small or too large, papers stapled together.



Legible writing, well-formed characters, clean and neatly bound in a report cover, illustrations provided.



Word processed or typed, clean and neatly bound in a report cover, illustrations provided



Answers to Questions

                 1                                        3                                     4                                         5


The response, although on topic, is an unsatisfactory answer to the question. It

may fail to address the question, or it may address the question in a very limited



There may be no evidence of elaboration, extension, higher-order thinking or

relevant prior knowledge.


There may be some evidence of serious misconceptions


The response is a marginal answer to the question. While it may contain some

elements of a proficient response, it is inaccurate, incomplete and/or



There is little evidence of elaboration, extension, higher-order thinking or

relevant prior knowledge.


There may be some evidence of serious misconceptions.


The response is a proficient answer to the question. It is generally correct,

complete and appropriate although minor inaccuracies may appear.


There may be limited evidence of elaboration, extension, higher-order thinking and relevant prior knowledge, or there may be significant evidence of these

traits but other flaws (e.g., inaccuracies, omissions, inappropriateness) may be

more than minor.


There may be evidence of minor misconceptions.


The response is an excellent answer to the question. It is correct, complete,

appropriate and contains elaboration and/or evidence of higher-order thinking

and relevant prior knowledge.


There is no evidence of misconceptions.


Minor factual errors will not necessarily lower the score.



















Results: Data presentation

             5                              1                               2                                 3

  Data are summarized in a logical format. Table

or graph types are

appropriate. Data are

properly labeled

including units. Graph

axes are appropriately

labeled and scaled and

captions are informative

and complete.

Presentation of data:


Labels or units are

missing which

prevent the reader

from being able to

derive any useful

information from the



 Presentation of data

is in an inappropriate

format or graph type


Captions are

confusing or



Contains some errors in or omissions of labels, scales, units

etc., but the reader is

able to derive some

relevant meaning

from each figure.


 is technically correct

but inappropriate

format prevents the

reader from deriving

meaning or using it.

Captions are missing

or inadequate


 Contains only minor

mistakes that do not

interfere with the


understanding and

the figure’s meaning

is clear without the

reader referring to

the text.


Graph types or table

formats are

appropriate for data



includes captions

that are at least

somewhat useful


contains no mistakes


 uses a format or

graph type which



between the data

points or other

relevant aspects of

the data.


 may be elegant,

novel, or otherwise

allow unusual insight

into data


 has informative,

concise and complete


Discussion: Alternative explanations


Alternative explanations

are considered and

clearly eliminated by

data in a persuasive


Alternative explanations:


are not provided


are trivial or



are mentioned but

not discussed or



 are provided in the

discussion only


 may include some

trivial or irrelevant



Discussion addresses

some but not all of

the alternatives in a

reasonable way.


 Some alternative

explanations are tested

as hypotheses; those

not tested are

reasonably evaluated

in the discussion.


 Discussion of

alternatives is

reasonably complete,

uses data where

possible and results in

at least some

alternatives being




 have become a suite

of interrelated

hypotheses that are

explicitly tested with



Discussion and

analysis of

alternatives is based

on data, complete

and persuasive with a

single clearly



remaining by the end

of the discussion.


Hypotheses – Testability                ___________

Hypotheses – Merit                         ___________

Writing Quality -                              ___________

Attractiveness -                               ___________

Answers to Questions -                  ___________

Results: Data Presentation -          ___________

Discussion (Conclusions)              ___________           









5: Proficient: A high degree of competence
4: Capable: An above average degree of competence
3: Satisfactory: A satisfactory degree of competence
2: Emerging: A limited degree of competence
1: Beginning: No key elements are adequately developed

Rubric modified from that used by: University of South Carolina, Department Biological Sciences