Mini assignment 4 rubric

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Assignment evaluation questions

In assessing submissions for mini assignment 4, the grader will ask themselves the following questions, answering each on the scale of:

0 = grossly incomplete/not addressed

1 = needs significant work

2 = minimally fulfills requirements

3 = good effort, but with room for improvement

4 = excellent and above expectations

A. Do the selected gestures illustrate course concepts in a thoughtful or innovative way?: It will be fairly easy to find examples of conversation with depictive gestures. A paper that goes “above expectations” will have examples that are not just clear but illustrate a non-typical or unexpected case that put course concepts to the test in some way. For example, Holler & Wilkin’s (2011) study made the observation that depictive mimicry was a critical mechanism for grounding in the tangram task, thereby illustrating the special role that gesture can above and beyond linguistic signals in conversation. That is a high bar of an example—we don’t expect anyone to make a groundbreaking discovery in their mini assignment. Rather we encourage you to keep an eye out for examples that strike you as complicated, interesting, or unexpected in some way and then to examine what it is about those depictive gestures that caught your eye, using course concepts.

B. Is each gesture and its relation to the unfolding utterance described in detail?: Can we see the gesture and understand it with respect to its local utterance context in our mind’s eye without first going to the video? When we watch the video, will we see that you have captured all other critical aspects of the signal? For example, if the gesture you are focusing was made with the left hand, what are the face, shoulders, torso, and right hand doing? If these other parts of the body are doing something consequential to the gesture meaning, mention them! We want you to really consider the physical form of the gestures you are reporting on. Similarly, the utterance can sometimes be marked in ways that interact with gesture meaning (e.g., changes in pitch and loudness). Give us a full picture.

C. Is the description of each gesture made with sufficient relation to the interactional context?: We need to understand the interactional circumstances under which each gesture arose. The relevant features worth mentioning may have to do with common ground, ongoing activity context, sequence organization, etc.—it’s up to you to describe the particular interactional context and appropriately highlight these contextual features using course concepts.

D. Is there a convincing argument for the function of each gesture in the moment it is made? Each gesture you highlight should have both a description and a proposed function within the interaction (see parts A–C for advice on good example selection and description). The descriptions and proposed functions should work together for each of your examples such that the description leads inevitably and convincingly to what you propose is the interactional function of that gesture at that moment in that interaction. Specific function proposals are better than general ones, all else being equal. Extra persuasion in the form of counterfactual cases (e.g., “if the talker had done X instead…”) or indirect evidence for your proposal from some other segment of the conversation are very welcome as “above expectations” additions to your paper.

Note that it is up to YOU how to divide your (max) 2500 words between these different goals.

Translation of questions to grades

Submissions that score “excellent and above expectations” across the board will receive a perfect grade (A; 100/100). Submissions that score “needs significant work” across the board will receive a (C-; 70/100). We expect most submissions to fall between these two results. This translation from evaluation questions to grades is done by the particular grader (Dr. Casillas, Jillyan, or Jingde) who is assigned to each individual paper. However, our team will calibrate our assessments by first reviewing a random sample of papers together.

Grossly incomplete submissions or submissions that do not sufficiently follow the outlined task will maximally receive a grade of C-; please contact your TA if completing the assignment becomes insurmountable for some reason. Grades of D and lower will be discussed and verified by the entire grading team.

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