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Assessment criteria for digital storytelling

Page history last edited by Martin Jenkins 14 years, 7 months ago

Assessment criteria for digital storytelling


In common with other forms of assessment, any assessment which uses digital storytelling must be aligned with the associated learning outcomes.  This Section introduces some background models and frameworks that can help inform the assessment, and also provides some examples.


Sanders (2009: 18) identifies three main approaches for assessing digital stories which are used for reflection, with supporting models and frameworks:


  • The storytelling approach: based on the beginining, middle and end sequence of a typical story this will be focused on a particular event or experience.  Sanders (2009:18) links McDrury & Alterio's Model of Reflective Storytelling (McDrury & Alterio, 2003) with this approach:
    • Story Finding
    • Story Telling
    • Story Expanding
    • Story Processing
    • Story Reconstructing 
  • The "levels of reflection" approach: based on different levels or depths of reflection this approach draws upon Moon's Model of Reflective Learning (Moon, 1999):
    • Noticing
    • Making sense
    • Meaning making
    • Working with meaning
    • Transformative learning 
  • The use of multimedia in reflective learning: Sanders (2009: 19) draws upon assessment rubrics available from http://rubistar.4teachers.org/ such as the following example:


  Grade A Grade B Grade C
The Story There is a clear focus and purpose There is some attempt to create a focus and purpose There is  limited attempt to create a focus and purpose
Use of images and media The images and media create an atmosphere or tone that matches the story The images and media create an atmosphere or tone for some points of the story There is limited use of images and media to create an atmosphere or tone
Economy The story is told with exactly the right amount of detail throughout The story requires more detail in some sections The story requires a lot more detail
Emotional content The story clearly demonstrates engagement with the emotions of the creator The story demonstrates engagement in some sections with the emotions of the creator The story has limited engagement with the emotions of the creator
Reflection The creator has clearly reflected on the experience The creator has reflected on the experience in some sections of the story The creator shows limited reflection on the experience



Moon’s Map of Learning and McDrury & Alterio’s Model of Reflective Learning have been used for evaluating and assessing stories (Jenkins & Lonsdale, 2008) and are very useful.  However, as the final example above shows there are other criteria for assessing some of the many other factors which contribute to the effectiveness of a story.  To assess these factors, Ohler (2008: 68) offers a more comprehensive framework of ‘Evaluation Traits’, which includes factors such as: story; project planning; research; writing; economy; flow, organisation and pacing; and media grammar.  The full list is accessible from the table below.  This is an indicative list and it all the traits will not be appropriate in all cases, Ohler (2008: 67) recommends using four to six.  It is important not to make the process overly complex. 


Example assessment frameworks



Assessment and Evaluation Framework, University of Gloucestershire

Set of ten factors developed as guidance material for assessing digital stories.  Designed to be used in a 'pick and mix' style with factors being selected depending upon how digital storytelling is being used.

University of Gloucestershire Assessment and Evaluation Framework


Guidance from Jason Ohler

Ohler provides guidance for assessing digital stories in the form of rubric considerations and assessment traits.  The latter are a list of traits which Ohler recommends selecting three to six to make up the assessment rubric.


Business Management


Managing Change, Level III module, University of Gloucestershire

Module guide, including assessment brief for digital storytelling assignment for Managing Change module.


Dietetics, Leeds Metropolitan University

Assessment criteria for Current Issues in Professional Practice (Part 1) Assignment.  Available on pp43-47 in Sanders (2009).


Simple assessment rubric used for first-year science module using digital stroytelling to encourage reflection.  Students are scored in three categories:

  • Story - evidence of reflection and effective storytelling
  • Movie - completion of a movie with appropriate component elements
  • References - to ensure the academic nature of the work

(Prud'homme Genereux & Thompson, 2008)



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