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Michael D. Eisner College of Education

California Science Project

ESS Analysis Rubric (Cycle B)

4 3 2 1
Quality of Understanding: Accuracy of ideas, facts, statements (assertions) about interactions and causal chains
Response is complete and correct Mostly correct with no major errors, misconceptions or omissions. May contain up to 3 minor inaccuracies. Partially correct with one or two significant omissions, content errors or more than 4 minor errors. Misconceptions about key content in Earth system interactions
Depth of Reasoning: Clarity and focus of supportable ideas, interactions and systemic relationships
Predicts future effects (e.g. positive feedback) or transfers understanding to evaluate other situations or recommends remediation (e.g. negative feedback) Explains the processes responsible for the causal chains (S>S>S) in the event or context from a scientific perspective
Describes interactions using cause and effect connections including secondary effects that unfold over time, event> sphere>sphere
Describes what is happening in the system, including characteristics and direct effects of the event or context (event>sphere)
Evidence: Scope, detail and accuracy of the evidence supporting the relationship statements
Builds on data from reliable sources by manipulating the data to support claims (charts, graphs, maps, etc.) or refuting opposing positions with data or discussing ambiguity or error in the data Supports statements with data from reliable sources. Uses quantitative and qualitative data appropriately Accurately uses and cites quantitative and qualitative data from reliable sources Uses only quantitative or qualitative data or lacks adequate support for statements, or lacks citations for some statements
Science Writing: ESS analyses is communicated clearly.
Uses graphics (diagrams, graphs, pictures, video, etc) to support the text or has exemplary overview of the thesis or the writing style is particularly vivid, compelling, or creative Builds ideas across paragraphs and sections to support the main ideas Paragraphs support the main ideas/ thesis. Sentence structure sometimes interferes with meaning. The thesis/main ideas about the interactions are clearly stated. Grammatical errors do not interfere with the meaning.

*A score of "0" is assigned when elements are not present.


Use your team's original or revised problem statement, build an ESS model that includes the ESS relationship statements and evidence that support your conclusions (recommendations or solutions).


Based on your collective knowledge and the answers to your questions in Cycle A, you have created an ESS model as a team. Discuss what you learned and what conclusions you can support with evidence from multiple sources including observation, expert opinion, analogy, or experimental results.
"Does that make sense?" you ask. Negotiated meaning is at the heart of developing meaning. We can memorize on our own, but we need to talk or write about our ideas to refine them.

So how does negotiated meaning work? Doesn't the loudest, oldest, or smartest voice usually dominate? Isn't there a right answer? Why should you entertain ideas you don't agree with? Consider these three reasons:

1. Some say truth has its own life - that we have only to discover it, so when the same idea emerges from different people's thinking for different reasons, it often points toward the truth.

2. Language gives life to thought and, in doing so, changes it. In a team, your job is to be sure that you are understood. Is what your teammates heard what you meant? Feedback from them about what they heard pushes you to be clearer in your communication and your thinking.


3. Seeing how ideas filter through other people's minds gives you a perspective you can only imagine on your own. What ideas do others find most compelling? Why? How do ideas fit together for them? What do they find to be problematic? What are they curious about? Tell them what you hear them saying and do your best to understand what they mean. If you can live inside their perspectives, they will expand your own.

Remember, a model satisfies a broader audience than your own mind. The evolution of private understandings into models is the social learning phenomenon that Vygotsky identified and is the outcome of Problem-Based Learning. Building a model takes reflection and dialectic. The trick is to stay curious rather than to become judgmental and critical of others' ideas. When you become judgmental and critical, you are probably hanging on to those private understandings a little too tenaciously.

Think like an investigator, trying to discover, rather than deciding what to think. Use your teammates to keep you honest about the quality of your ideas and to expand your sense of the possibilities.

Your teamwork this cycle corresponds to PBL Steps 7 and 8. The rubric below assesses how well you build a team model that supports your findings.