A rubric is a great tool for teachers because it is a simple way to set up a grading criteria for assignments. Not only is this tool useful for teachers, it is helpful for students as well. A rubric defines in writing what is expected of the student to get a particular grade on an assignment. Basically, this tool that teachers and professors use to help them communicate expectations, provide focused feedback, and grade products. A good rubric needs to be designed with care and precision in order to truly help teachers distribute and receive the expected work.
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What is a Rubric?
A rubric is a grading guide that makes explicit the criteria for judging students’ work on discussion, a paper, performance, product, show-the-work problem, portfolio, presentation, essay question—any student work you seek to evaluate. Rubrics inform students of expectations while they are learning. These tools also enable teachers to grade efficiently, judge student work against a standard, and communicate readily with each student.
How to Make a Rubrics Scale?
1. Define Your Goal
Before you can create a rubric, you need to decide the type of rubric you’d like to use, and that will largely be determined by your goals for the assessment.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How detailed do I want my feedback to be?
- How will I break down my expectations for this project?
- Are all of the tasks equally important?
- How do I want to assess performance?
- What standards must the students hit in order to achieve acceptable or exceptional performance?
Once you’ve figured out how detailed you’d like the rubric to be and the goals you are trying to reach, you can choose a type of rubric.
2. Choose a Rubric Type
Although there are many variations of rubrics, it can be helpful to at least have a standard set to help you decide where to start. The choice of a rubric type will depend on the nature of the assignment you need to score using a rubric. Do you need to use an analytic rubric and, therefore, provide students feedback and detailed score, or do you need a holistic rubric to allow for broad feedback and overall sense of students’ performance?
3. Determine Your Criteria
This is where the learning objectives for your unit or course come into play. Here, you’ll need to brainstorm a list of knowledge and skills you would like to assess for the project. Group them according to similarities and get rid of anything that is not absolutely critical. A rubric with too much criteria is difficult to use! Try to stick with 4-7 specific subjects for which you’ll be able to create unambiguous, measurable expectations in the performance levels. You’ll want to be able to spot the criteria quickly while grading and be able to explain them quickly when instructing your students. In an analytic rubric, the criteria are typically listed along the left column.
4. Create Your Performance Levels
Once you have determined the broad levels you would like students to demonstrate mastery of, you will need to figure out what type of scores you will assign based on each level of mastery. Most ratings scales include between three and five levels. Some teachers use a combination of numbers and descriptive labels like “(4) Exceptional, (3) Satisfactory, etc.” while other teachers simply assign numbers, percentages, letter grades or any combination of the three for each level. You can arrange them from highest to lowest or lowest to highest as long as your levels are organized and easy to understand.
5. Write Descriptors for Each Level of Your Rubric
This is probably your most difficult step in creating a rubric. Here, you will need to write short statements of your expectations underneath each performance level for every single criterion. The descriptions should be specific and measurable. The language should be parallel to help with student comprehension and the degree to which the standards are met should be explained.
Again, to use an analytic essay rubric as an example, if your criteria were “Organization” and you used the (4) Exceptional, (3) Satisfactory, (2) Developing, and (1) Unsatisfactory scale, you would need to write the specific content a student would need to produce to meet each level.
What is the importance of rubrics?
Rubrics reduce the time teachers spend grading student work and makes it easier for teachers to explain to students why they got the grade they did and what they can do to improve. Scoring can be prescribed by the rubric and not the instructor predispositions towards students. They allow better or more accurate self-assessment by students.
What are the different types of rubrics?
- Analytic Rubric: This is the standard grid rubric that many teachers routinely use to assess students’ work. This is the optimal rubric for providing clear, detailed feedback. With an analytic rubric, criteria for the students’ work is listed in the left column and performance levels are listed across the top. The squares inside the grid will typically contain the specs for each level. A rubric for an essay, for example, might contain criteria like “Organization, Support, and Focus,” and may contain performance levels like “(4) Exceptional, (3) Satisfactory, (2) Developing, and (1) Unsatisfactory.” The performance levels are typically given percentage points or letter grades and a final grade is typically calculated at the end.
- Holistic Rubric: This is the type of rubric that is much easier to create, but much more difficult to use accurately. Typically, a teacher provides a series of letter grades or a range of numbers (1-4 or 1-6, for example) and then assigns expectations for each of those scores. When grading, the teacher matches the student work in its entirety to a single description on the scale. This is useful for grading multiple essays, but it does not leave room for detailed feedback on student work.
After creating the descriptive language for all of the levels (making sure it is parallel, specific and measurable), you need to go back through and limit your rubric to a single page. Too many parameters will be difficult to assess at once, and may be an ineffective way to assess students’ mastery of a specific standard. Consider the effectiveness of the rubric, asking for student understanding and co-teacher feedback before moving forward. Do not be afraid to revise as necessary. It may even be helpful to grade a sample project in order to gauge the effectiveness of your rubric. You can always adjust the rubric if need be before handing it out, but once it’s distributed, it will be difficult to retract.
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