Tips for Grading a Wikipedia assignment

As the term begins to wind down, many of our instructors are beginning to assess the work their students contributed to Wikipedia. Just as the Wikipedia assignment differs from traditional writing assignments, so does the grading of these projects. Over the past several terms, our instructors have regularly expressed that they would like more guidance regarding the grading of their Wikipedia assignments which is why we’ve developed a sample assessment rubric that instructors can use to evaluate the quality of their student contributions to Wikipedia. We encourage instructors to adapt this table to the specific needs of their individual assignments and welcome feedback so we can continue to improve it.

The following are important points to consider as you begin grading your Wikipedia assignment:

  • Never grade student work based on what sticks on Wikipedia-Sometimes student work is reverted. This may happen for a number of reasons, but remember, nothing is ever lost on Wikipedia. You can always find their work in their contribution history.
  • Quality is far more important than quantity-What a student contributes to an article will depend on the sources available and Wikipedia’s existing coverage of the subject at hand. A 300 word contribution may be as critical to a subject as a 1000 word entry.
  • Creating a new entry is not more work than contributing to an existing article-The vast majority of our students work on existing entries on Wikipedia.
  • Finally, there are multiple paths to improving Wikipedia-Students can improve articles in a variety of ways, from adding new content to updating sources to restructuring an article.

Navigating contribution histories on Wikipedia can be tedious which is why the Course Dashboard is such a critical part of the Wikipedia project. Remember, the Dashboard will allow you to view your student contributions to Wikipedia in a variety of ways. We recommend that you check in on student contributions regularly to see where they are in the Wikipedia assignment.

While it’s up to our individual instructors to assess the work their students did on Wikipedia, we know that their overall impact to the world’s largest encyclopedia deserves an A+!

Best wishes for a productive grading season!



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