Rubrics, oh my!

Last week I made a presentation about rubrics. It basically consists of some tips to keep in mind when creating rubrics, as well as some links that might be useful for considering the criteria that you are looking for when grading various types of performance assessments. So, without further ado . . . my rubric one-pager:

Creating Rubrics

1. Determine the assessment criteria (score categories) that need to be demonstrated by student work. (This should, of course, be informed by your unit / lesson goals.)
2. Decide whether an analytical or holistic scoring rubric would best assess student work.
3. Define high and low-level achievement for the assessment criteria (score categories) you have chosen. Include as much detail and as many levels of achievement as is appropriate/necessary for your specific needs.

Additional Tips:
-Try to describe levels of achievement for each score category “using descriptions of the work rather than judgments about the work.” For example, avoid words and phrases like “good” or “fails to.” Be as positive as you can in describing work levels that do not achieve excellence.
-Try to remain consistent in how you format your rubrics throughout the year. The more comfortable students feel with your format, the more likely they will know how to navigate, interpret and consult the rubrics you have so painstakingly created to help them.
-Try keeping rubrics to one page – your descriptions of score categories and levels of achievement should be kept as short and simple as possible.
-Related to the previous tip, try to avoid using difficult language that will only confuse students about what your expectations are and what their goals should be.

Online Resources

There are many Internet resources available to teachers for using and creating rubrics. Remember, though, that no generic or pre-designed rubric will be able to assess the standards that you are setting for your students better than one that you create yourself. Here are some of the best resources online:

Rubistar – A website where you can view rubrics used by other teachers as well as create and save your own.

TeAch-nology – Print pre-designed rubrics that assess everything from notebook organization to classroom participation or generate your own customized rubric.

Rubric Builder – An educator-created site that allows teachers to build their own rubrics and browse through almost 50,000 other rubrics created by other teachers. Currently in its Beta stage, you may encounter some glitches in trying to work with this site.

Tips for Increasing Student Involvement & Responsibility with Rubrics
1. Instead of asking students if they have any questions about the rubric right after introducing it, tell them that part of their homework is to review the rubric and come in with questions the next day. You could also offer some sort of incentive for doing this.

2. Related to tip #1, make it a homework assignment for students to analyze the rubric and create, for themselves, a checklist of the requirements for the assignment. In class the next day, have students get into groups to make sure that everyone’s checklist looks accurate and matches all requirements of the rubric before allowing questions.

3. Right before students turn in their assignments, have them refer back to their rubrics and write reflections on how they think they fulfilled each of the assessment criteria, what was a strong spot, a weak spot, etc.

4. Involve students in determining what appropriate criteria for assessment and evidence of achieving standards might be. Also, involve students in determining how important these criteria are and how heavily each should be weighted.

Ross-Fisher, Roberta L. “Developing Effective Success Rubrics.” Kappa Delta Pi Record 41.3 (2005): 131-5. Academic Search Premier EBSCOhost. GALILEO. University of Georgia Libraries. 01 Apr. 2007 .

An activity that we didn’t get to do because of time restraints was something that I think would go really well in a high school classroom. My presentation group had the idea of getting the class, in small groups, involved in creating a rubric to assess a perfect date. The students would have to come up with essential categories to consider and then descriptors of high, medium and low achievement in each of the categories. I’m not sure exactly how I would structure that in a high school classroom, and I’m sure it would depend on the grade level that I was teaching, but I feel that an activity like that would be a fun way to get students interacting with rubrics and understanding the way they work and the way you, as a teacher, create them.

As we have all finished our student teaching and are pretty much coasting toward graduation, our cohort has divided up into small groups that are giving short GCTE-like presentations about a variety of issues important in the classroom. Look for these ideas in posts to come!

Hope everyone had a great Easter!

This entry was posted in Assessment, Education, English Education, English Teachers, Public Education, Secondary Education. Bookmark the permalink.

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