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Graduate Skill - Problem Solving

Problem Solving Rubric

Program level criteria HD DN CR P FL


A well-reasoned and detailed argument containing a premise-data- conclusion. Conclusions and related outcomes (consequences and implications) are supported by clear, logical and informed evaluation. Evidence and perspectives are discussed.


A detailed argument containing a premise-data-conclusion. A range of information/data, including opposing viewpoints; related outcomes (consequences and implications) are identified clearly.


Premises are supported with relevant and logically connected information/data presented. Conclusion is logically tied to all premises.


Clear premises have been identified. Premises are tied to information/data presented. Some related outcomes or conclusions are made.

Unclear and vague

No clear connection between premises, data and conclusion. Statements are inconsistently tied to some of the information discussed; related outcomes (consequences and implications) are oversimplified.

Problem Solving - description and deconstruction

Reflection on execution

A logical, consistent plan is developed to solve problems. Consequences of solutions are recognised and the reason for choosing the solution articulated.

Planning and executing

A logical consistent plan is developed to the problem after selecting from among alternatives.

Representing and formulating

The possible causes or contributing factors of the problem are identified and described. Information gathering and choice of problem solving methodology identified.

Exploring and understanding

The problem is clearly defined/identified and contributing factors/elements listed. Problem exploration evident.

Unclear and incoherent

Problem is not clearly defined and contributing factors do not logically relate. Problem is not broken down and no methodology is evident in addressing the problem. Anecdotal and unrelated information used.


Systematic and skilful

Data/evidence is organised and relations are interpreted. Analysis of evidence reveals insightful patterns, differences, or similarities related to topic.

Thorough and effective

Data/evidence reveals important patterns, differences, or similarities. Relations between data are highlighted and thorough.

Effective descriptions/relations

Data is described, organised and clear patterns, differences, or similarities are identified.

Basic definitions/analysis

Research/ data/content is described. Relations between parts of the data and what they may mean are identified.

Lacks organisation

Conducts a basic review. Lists evidence, but it is not organized and/ or is unrelated to focus.

Synthesis, Creativity

Perceptive and polished

Transforms ideas or solutions into entirely new forms. Independently creates wholes out of multiple parts and draws conclusions by combining examples, facts, or theories from more than one field of study or perspective.


The task demonstrates the combination of ideas or solutions into a coherent whole. Independently connects examples, facts, or theories from more than one field of study or perspective.

Deeper understanding

Ideas or solutions are connected in novel ways and help to produce a new and deeper understanding of the relationship between elements. The organisation demonstrates a deeper understanding of the issue and clearly indicates connections.


Deconstructs, recognises and identifies existing or obvious connections among ideas, problems or solutions. Demonstrates understanding of the issues and organised in a simple way.


Limited connections between data – elements and ideas are left separate.

Application of design thinking

Comprehensive and insightful

Comprehensively applies the method/process to context drawing insightful conclusions.

Thorough and effective

The context is examined using critical elements of the methodology/process to draw thoughtful conclusions.

Effectively explains

Relevant elements of methodology/process are accurately identified and explained in context.


Key elements of methodology/process are accurately identified and explained.

Narrow explanation

The methodology / process is inaccurately applied therefore drawing inaccurate or vague conclusions.

Transfer of knowledge and skills

Adapts and creates

Adapts and applies skills, abilities, theories or methodologies gained in one situation to new situations to solve difficult problems or explore complex issues in original ways.

Adapts and explores

Adapts and applies skills, abilities, theories or methodologies gained in one situation to new situations to solve problems or explore issues.

Applies and extends

Uses skills, abilities, theories or methodologies gained in one situation to new situations to contribute to the understanding of problems or issues in a new situation.


Uses, in a basic way, skills, abilities, theories or methodologies gained in one situation to new situations.


Limited use of skills, abilities, theories or methodologies gained in one situation, unable to apply to new situations.

Justify solutions / approaches / methods

Comprehensive and insightful

The justification for the solution is clearly supported and exceeds the DN category in extensiveness, clarity and concise logic and reasoning.

Thoroughly explains

The solution is backed by substantial and conclusive evidence. It is logical, clear and precipitates from extensive research.

Effectively explains

The description of the justification includes a clear rationale, linked to research or data that is relevant, is feasible.

Logical and clear

The justifications for approach logically flow and are easily followed. The solution meets the problem and the choice is clear.

Narrow explanation
Generate Solutions to Sustainability Problems

Skillful and proficient

The solution is robust and carefully considers the context, impacts and relationships with other systems.

Proficient and effective

The solutions presented are well considered and clearly link to solvable aspects of the broader problem. The solution considers the complexity of the broader context (cultural, environmental, economic, social).

Effective and coherent

Aspects of the problem that can be addressed are explained and connected to feasible areas of action. Solution is credible.

Clear and coherent

Problem is clearly described. Obvious aspects of the problem that can be addressed are noted.

Unclear and vague
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