Course to Be Evaluated

Brief Overview

First, it is sensible to introduce the course, which requires a rubric development for relevant evaluation of students’ academic and practical excellence. The course is devoted to the usage, handling, and exposure of hazardous materials in the clinical setting. The target population comprises nursing students, who have to gain comprehension of the basics of emergency planning and reaction in clinical environments. A rationale for this course is determined by the fact that nursing students lack the necessary knowledge and expertise in that regard, and their clinical performance presupposes a possibility of emergency situations related to hazardous materials. Moreover, working with dangerous biological material belongs to this category as well, which is why students should be aware of the possible implications, specific mitigation strategies, and evacuation activities concerning hazard material emergencies. This particular aspect is increasingly vital for the students’ future scope of practice and general workplace safety. Since nurses are responsible for patients’ well-being, paying attention to hazardous substance exposure is evidently essential.

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The Course Evaluation

Considering the above, evaluation of this course should cover certain aspects, which are further outlined. Verification of reinforcement and testing of simulation practice is the primary aspect of the course assessment, otherwise the entire course will be redundant. The above can be explained by the fact that evaluation of simulation practice determines the quality of students’ knowledge. The course has to ensure that they follow appropriate behaviors in a real-life workplace situation, hence evaluation and verification of training reinforcement are especially pivotal for such course (Miller & Palenik, 2014). In addition, the course has to be evaluated according to such aspects as appropriateness of actions taken, the speed of reaction to emergency, and demonstration of the knowledge related to safe evacuation procedures. It is becoming increasingly apparent that such assessment is empirically-driven, as long as practical factor profoundly matters (Miller & Palenik, 2014). Demonstration of theoretical awareness of the subject is not sufficient, since its practical application determines the quality of education.

The Course Outcomes

The following are the course outcomes, which the students should comply with:

  • The essence of hazardous material and substance implementation at the workplace;
  • The use and appliance of hazardous material for healthcare and the implications related to excessive exposure;
  • The use of protective devices for regular practice and emergency cases;
  • Appropriate handling, storage, and locating of hazardous materials during their regular use as well as emergency situation of their exposure;
  • Relevant recognition and timely detection of hazardous material exposure and the type of leak;
  • The recognition and usage of notifications and warning signs;
  • Evacuation, shelter, and accountability procedures (Miller & Palenik, 2014).

The course outcomes are detailed and complicated, and comprehension of them is compulsory; otherwise, the probability of injure at the workplace and further environmental harms are highly possible. Apart from that, compliance with all course outcomes should be confirmed only in the event of their practical appliance and successful completion of simulation test and reinforcement.

Philosophy Framework and Rubric Type


With regard to the selected framework for the rubric development, it is appropriate to admit that simulative framework is the best approach, since the primary evaluation will be based on simulation test and reinforcement of hazardous emergency situations. Similarly, transformational learning theory creates a methodological foundation for suggested framework, as students are expected to transition their theoretical knowledge into the real-life practice (Oversteet & Krau, 2015). What is more, the rubric is expected to be a strict categorizing tool for evaluation of the course, so that the main standpoint of the it is the clarity of objectives to be met. ExamSoft platform is suggested for modeling purposes due to its multi-functional intelligence that enables educators to unify, tag, and set dependencies for rubric criteria (Oversteet & Krau, 2015). The course’s scope presupposes such applicability that justifies the choice of this software (Oversteet & Krau, 2015). As long as the basic standpoint of the rubric framework is clarity, it has to outline distinct objectives and provide theoretical foundation for their achievement. That is why the rubric is supposed to include compulsory and comprehensible recommendations for learning resources and related guidelines (Oversteet & Krau, 2015). Avoidance of biases is especially important for this particular course, because irrelevant comprehension of learning objectives may adversely reflect in the clinical performance of a student. Thus, students need to follow a single set of requirements and guidelines aimed at facilitation of learning process.

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Rubric Development

Before proceeding with the discussion of design of the rubric, its evaluation criteria should be outlined. First of all, completion of emergency procedures related to hazardous material exposure should be settled following the national standard for emergency and security (Nabler & Theobad, 2015). Besides, appropriateness of the actions according to the situation and the type of hazardous material is another important element of criteria. Similarly, the relevance of the selected evacuation route and location should be taken into account and graded respectively. The system of scoring can be standard: 100 points maximum with allocation for point range for each criterion. In such a way, appropriateness of actions can be 40 points maximum, 30 points can be dedicated to time, and evacuation can also receive 30 points. Each aspect is graded separately, as long as appropriateness of actions presupposes a timely response and a choice of the shortest and safest route for evacuation (Evans & Harder, 2013). However, the standards for criteria should vary depending on the type of the case and hazardous material exposure (Nabler & Theobad, 2015). Each case is supposed to undergo practical testing in order to ensure adequacy of grading system. It is also sensible to note that specific considerations of route selection and timing still depend on appropriateness of their choice. If a student opts for a longer but safer route, his or her choice can be considered correct. The speed of evacuation procedure has to be evaluated in terms of the selected scenario without consideration of shorter but less safe routes.

Scoring Rubric

Concerning qualitative and quantitative labels, it is necessary to note that they are closely attached to the evaluation criteria. In such a way, qualitative labels include appropriateness of actions according to the situation and security standards, as well as following the safest route. The former can be graded as inappropriate, partially appropriate, and completely appropriate (Nabler & Theobad, 2015). As for the latter, evacuation routes can be marked as wrong, partially safe, and entirely safe. It is hard to argue that time frame is quantitative label, and it can be graded as beyond standardized evacuation and emergency procedures timing, within the standard, and better than existing standard (Evans & Harder, 2013). Consequently, the course outcomes are subdivided into three main levels of competence: general knowledge present prior to the course, possession of specific knowledge and its proper use, and possession of profound knowledge and the ability to explain it according to the specific clinical setting and situation. It is worth mentioning that knowledge of medium level is quite sufficient but it is attached to standard cases of hazardous material emergency and handling, so that the highest level of competence implies the application of practical knowledge in various emergency situations. Appliance of critical thinking and ability to transform theoretical knowledge into specific evidence determine the highest level of competence within the course.

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Following the above information, the requirement of each criterion should be outlined. As for the speed of reaction, evacuation, and other emergency activities, these actions should be timely in accordance with the specific standard. The requirement regarding actions aimed at mitigation, evacuation, and factual dealing with hazardous material depending on situation and the type of hazardous material should involve obligatory justification of all actions taken (Sagar, 2014). Eventually, the choice of route is required to be primarily safe even though it may take more time. Evaluation of time for evacuation is conducted according to the specifically chosen route so that this aspect of the grading is unbiased (Sagar, 2014). The criteria for the essential content of the course can be described as fast, safe, justified, environmentally-friendly, and analytical reaction to the emergency situation with hazardous material exposure.

Letter and score grading can be standard: 100-90 points are A, 89-75 are B, 74-60 are C, 60-40 are D, 39-20 are E, and 20-0 are F. Overall, grading and evaluation mechanism of rubric is quite simple since only three practical parameters are evaluated. Such scoping can be justified with the fact that the course content is extremely practice-oriented, and its proper comprehension determines safety of the future nurses and patients under their care. Again, it is a general framework presented for the course comprehension grading; meanwhile specific scenario may involve the customized systems of grading. Still, these differences are not biased as long as each case is independently evaluated and the grades adequately reflect the quality of knowledge.

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Reliability and Validity


Importance of reliability and validity of the grading rubric for the course is justified with basic and obvious facts. In such a way, valid and justified grading rubric provides an accountable reflection of students’ readiness for emergency situation with hazardous material exposure. If students pass the simulation test successfully, they will be able to perform the same actions in real-life clinical settings. Moreover, adequate grading of students’ performance indicates the need for revision and correction of the course content, as long as the students, who failed to cope with the simulation test, undergo additional learning and simulation reinforcement. In case the grading rubric is not reliable, the possibility of inappropriate reaction to hazardous material emergency dramatically increases.

On a separate note, relevance of grading system places a direct impact on the motivation of students. Those, who receives an evidently unfair mark, will lose any desire to proceed to further acquisition of the knowledge within the course. That is why valid grading system is an essential component of students’ motivation and subsequent success in obtaining the course’s content (O’Neill & Gately, 2014). At any rate, all justifications are particularly focused on the enhancement of the main skill of nurse students: survival and patient protection in the event of hazardous material exposure. Thus, validity and reliability of the grading rubric is especially important to the course, otherwise the future nurses and their patients will be exposed to a much greater risk.

Therefore, provision of validity and reliability is another important consideration. First of all, multiple testing of the rubric in the real academic practice is needed. A practitioner should estimate the relevancy of grades assigned to each student. Furthermore, the relevance of the rubric has to be confirmed by the practitioner, as long as different educational settings may vary in such a way influencing the effectiveness of the rubric (Evans & Harder, 2013).

The rubric is supposed to create the outcomes, which can be easily measured. This parameter is pivotal because the absence of measurable criteria means that the rubric is increasingly ambiguous. Measurable criteria do not necessarily have to be attached to only quantitative labels, but should also include a distinct qualitative description of each requirement (Evans & Harder, 2013). In this regards, conducting surveys among students is an important consideration, since the majority of them are likely to provide honest responds. The essence of the course presupposes adequate evaluation of the knowledge, because irrelevant actions in the real-life clinical situation of emergency may have negative results for a nurse and his or her patients.

The results of the survey require profound consideration since adequate grading motivates students for subsequent learning (O’Neill & Gately, 2014). Eventually, comparative analysis of the grading rubric with similar ones is always a reasonable procedure due to the importance of retrieval of the best practice and lessons learned (Evans & Harder, 2013). In addition, redesigning and advancement of the grading rubric is expected to be conducted on the regular basis, which is why the comparison to the similar designs is rather reasonable.

Integration of Evidence and Theory

Apart from methodological issues concerning the grading rubric, integrative part is equally important. The grading rubric is supposed to reflect the quality of theoretical knowledge transition into the practice, which is why simulation test is the only way to verify students’ competence in the subject. Simulation test provides the conditions for making decisions similar to the real-life clinical emergency situations, so grading rubric is just a formal and numerical representation of the knowledge quality (Maki, 2010). Thus, simulation is the best way to assess students’ knowledge, as long as such tests are unexpected and the students are not informed about the shortcoming testing. The main purpose of this evaluation technique is the identification of consistency between theoretical knowledge and empirical evidence, while the grading rubric states the particular extent of this consistency through specific grades (Hansson et al., 2012). The essence of the grading rubric is to demonstrate to what extent the consistency is present, once possession of theoretical knowledge is insufficient for medium and high levels of competence. Evidence-based approach is also applicable to this case because the students’ are expected to act according to the current evidence, and the grading rubric assesses their ability of adequate and evidence-based decision-making in that regard. Thus, specification of criteria is also crucial because evaluation is not only based on the knowledge students turn into practical skill, but also on the way in which they perform that transition (Maki, 2010). It is hard to argue that the suggested grading rubric provides such constraints so that its methodological and educational basis is quite sufficient for addressing the purposes of the course evaluation.

It is also reasonable to mention that application of critical thinking is required for a successful completion of the course. Therefore, students competence can be assessed by means of analysis of the given case studies and group discussions of the particular emergency situation. As it has been already mentioned, profound knowledge of the subject establishes only satisfactory level while analytical and flexible use of the knowledge in numerous emergency situations signifies the highest level of competence (Hansson et al., 2012). Hence, application of the grading rubric for analytical thinking in terms of the subject is also possible. For the same reason, provision of the analysis of personal experience can be used for correction and estimation of the grades. An educator should remember that simulation test is not ultimate indicator of the students’ knowledge, so the analysis and discussion of mistakes as well as personal experience is rather essential. Moreover, such approach complies with the general requirement for nursery self-reflection. Overall, the grading rubric is applicable for such purposes that can be deployed to educational environments. Educators, however, still may update it according to their vision of the student nurse scope of learning, but the general framework is commonly acceptable.

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