Problem Identification: Naming the Problem

In-depth rubric explanations, examples, and video exemplars.

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Highest Quality Rating (4 points)

Presentation clearly names a problem and provides two or more types of evidence about the extent or importance of problem. Types could include: personal testimony, surveys, interviews, GIS, archival data)

Written Example: “In our action civics project we focus on the problem of gerrymandering, which is the redistricting of city and town borders in ways that can serve the electorate, rather than the people who live within those borders. While gerrymandering is currently becoming widespread as a national issue as evidenced by X’s recent study, it became especially evident as a problem to our community during the last election when we were unable to vote for our representative. Specifically, our survey of 49 neighborhood residents revealed that 75% of them no longer were familiar with the representatives in their district. When we followed up with interviews, we found out that this was most often because they lived in homes on streets that had recently been redistricted…”.

Video Example: This is exemplary because it names the problem as: Balancing the water budget. The team also provided convincing evidence( a drought monitor map from the NCDC/NOAA and statistics on water use) the explain the extent of the problem: the scarcity of water in is an immediate issue in California but also will become a significant concern in 40 out of 50 other states across the country.

Higher Quality Rating (3 points)

Presentation names problem and provides some evidence of extent or importance of problem(s).

Written Example: The following example discusses the same problem, but only provides one type of evidence: “In our project we focus on the problem of gerrymandering, which is the redistricting of city and town borders in ways that can serve the electorate, rather than the people who live within those borders. While gerrymandering is a big problem across the nation and in our state, it became especially evident as a problem to our community during the last election when we were unable to vote for our representative. In fact, when we interviewed two dozen community members, we found out that this was most often because they lived in homes on streets that had recently been redistricted and had since become unable to vote for the representative that aligned with their interests…”

Video Example: This example is high quality because it identifies the problem as: Food options in our community drastically affect eating habits, thus causing diabetes and obesity. This presentation was rated as high quality but not exemplary because: the explanation only provides some evidence of the extent of the problem, and the audience may assume the presentation is about diabetes because of the statistics mentioned about the disease and the inclusion of  a personal story about one of the presenter’s mother having diabetes.

Mid-Quality Rating (2 points)

Presentation names a problem, but offers no evidence of extent or importance of problem(s)

Written Example: “In our project we focus on the problem of gerrymandering, which is the redistricting of city and town borders in ways that can serve the electorate, rather than the people who live within those borders. While gerrymandering is a big problem across the nation and in our state, it is also a problem in our community.

Video Example: The example is unclear if the young people are naming gentrification as a problem or the effects of gentrification as a problem. The student's name gentrification as a problem  broadly, but then name the community’s lack of knowledge about gentrification as a related issue, rather than a providing evidence as to why or how this has become a problem in their community.

Lower Quality Rating (1 point)

Presentation does not identify a problem or identifies so many that focus of presentation is unclear.

Written Example: To receive this score, it would be unclear to the viewer what the most central problem was of the presentation. An example of this type of phrasing might be something like, “We focus today on the super important issues gentrification, displacement, and gerrymandering,” and during the entire presentation it would remain unclear as to the central or targeted subject of inquiry. All three issues would be discussed but not in clear relation to a central problem that is impacting the students and their communities.