How do you grade a circuit board?

Photo: auto-wah circuit by Izaak Thompson

When I first started assigning circuit board projects, I couldn't find much material online about how to grade a circuit board, so I devised my own rubric.

I found the quality of student work improved significantly once they had the Build Checklist and could see how it was weighted in the grade.

The photo: my student Izaak Thompson devised and completed this circuit for his auto wah pedal project in my advanced Building Circuits class in 2020. Since the class was entirely online due to the pandemic, students had to submit photos and video of their assignments. It was an advanced class so all of them had previously taken the pre-requisite electronics class in-person before the pandemic started; I think that experience prepared them to do this course at home.

On a side note, the pandemic is how I discovered that one can troubleshoot circuits surprisingly well just by looking at photos-- the hardest part is making sure the photos are well lit!