Rubrics for Teaching International/Global Studies

I’ve only begun using rubrics for grading during the last year, but I’ve quickly come to believe that they are a better way to give student feedback. They do take time to prepare. But I have been sharing the rubrics with students beforehand, and I believe that the students’ work is of a better quality as a result. Students have fewer questions about their grades, and the grading process itself is quicker, more consistent and clearer. I know that many faculty have been using rubrics for a decade, so I am a latecomer to the trend. But it’s interesting to me that the students themselves are now asking for the rubrics for assignments. I am giving an example of a study guide for the midterm below, then a copy of the rubric for it, which was based on Kim’s work. If you want more materials, be sure to explore our teacher’s manual. Here are the study guide and the rubric:

INTL 201: Midterm Study Sheet


You will have the full class period to complete the exam.  You will write all answers in the green (or blue) book.  Remember to budget your time carefully. The essay is worth 80% of the grade on the exam. Each definition is worth ten percent. You will be given two essay questions, of which you will answer ONE.




Discuss the manner in which colonialism has shaped our modern world order. What factors led Europe’s colonial empires to collapse? What has been the legacy of the colonialism in the modern world? What is neo-colonialism?


Discuss the core ideas of Samuel Huntington and his work The Clash of Civilizations.   What arguments did his critics make?  Why did his work attract considerable attention when it did?  How would you evaluate his theory? Identify at least two aspects of his theory that appear persuasive to you or do not appear persuasive to you and explain your justification.


Discuss the origins of the Mexican drug war of 2006 to the present. How can the conflict be viewed from the perspective of Realism and Human Security? Which are the strengths and weaknesses of each approach? Be sure to draw on material from the lecture, reading and the guest speaker.


Compare and contrast economic and political globalization. What is the nature of the relationship between them?  To what extent are the same factors driving these two processes? Can you think of possible examples in which the one might impede the other? Do you think that these two aspects of globalization are inevitable?


What factors are driving cultural globalization? What is gained and what is lost through this process? How important is language to cultural identity? Do you think that language loss can –or should- be stopped? And if so, how?


Neocolonialism                                               European Union

Bretton Woods System                                  Kashmir

IMF                                                                Sheng

World Bank                                                     economic globalization

GATT/WTO                                                    cultural globalization

Conditionality                                                 political globalization

Structural adjustment program                   human right


Human Security




INTL 201:  Exam Scoring Rubric



Student Name: _______________________________________________

Each term definition is worth ten points, for a total of twenty points.


Term One:    

Clearly defines term 5 Explains significance 3 Style/Clarity/detail 2

Term Two: 

Clearly defines term 5 Explains significance 3 Style/Clarity/detail 2



The essay question is worth eighty points.


Supporting Detail

(20 points)

Organization (20 pts)

Content (40pts)


The question is answered drawing on supporting material from all aspects of the class as appropriate (reading, lecture, videos)


The essay is well-organized, flows logically, and has an introductory and concluding paragraph


All dimensions of question covered with strong originality and insight

All dimensions of question covered with good originality and insight.


The question is answered drawing on most of the relevant supporting material.


The essay is well organized and flows logically, but lacks a clear beginning or conclusion


All dimensions of question covered with mostly good originality and insight


The question is answered drawing on most of the supporting materials, but some important material is omitted.


The essay has some organization, but sometimes jumps from one topic to the next. There is no clear beginning or conclusion


All but one dimension of question addressed

All but two dimensions of question addressed with good originality and insight


The question is answered with some supporting material, but numerous important details or examples are missing.


The essay sometimes rambles. The transition from one section to the next is not always clear. The essay lacks an introduction or conclusion


More than two dimensions of question not addressed or inadequately addressed


The essay lacks critical supporting detail or information from the appropriate course materials. The student does not demonstrate that they have understood relevant material from the reading or the lectures.


The essay lacks organization, and jumps from one topic to the next without any coherence. There is no sense of a thesis uniting the material in the essay.


More than three dimensions of question not addressed

Inadequately addressed

Because this is an exam NOT a paper, we will not be focusing on grammar, spelling or handwriting, as long as it does not detract from our ability to understand the content of the essay.

Additional Comments:

Shawn Smallman, Portland State University


2 thoughts on “Rubrics for Teaching International/Global Studies”

  1. Pingback: Introduction to International Studies Syllabus | Intro to Global Studies

  2. Pingback: The blog's top ten most popular posts | Intro to Global Studies

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