Rubrics in the Classroom

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Last class, we were given the opportunity to create our own portion of the rubric for one of the assignments following the presentation given by Tim Caleval. In this discussion of developing the rubric, it became really clear how making a rubric for an assignment can become increasingly difficult and rather fuzzy with details. While some people may think one way is the correct way and wording, others may disagree and think another way. It shows that as teachers, there will be many different ways to create rubrics for assessment of various assignments, and there are many different ways of interpreting what is being said.

I really enjoyed Anne Davies way of involving students in creating their own rubric in Making Classroom Assessment Work, and it seemed similar to what we had done in class. However, what we did in class took a substantial portion of our learning about assessment, and as a teacher, I do not know if I would have three hours for students to develop their own rubric. I really enjoyed, however, the four steps she suggested, “brainstorming a list of ideas… sort and group the ideas… make and post a T-chart… [and] use and revise as you learn more” (pg. 56). I think this was a great idea and it really helped form the frame of mind we all needed to be thinking in for creating said rubrics. I also really liked the idea of splitting the class into portions within the rubric, that way it saved some time in creating a fully developed rubric for all to see. The only thing I would change for that class would be the opportunity to hear (or see) everyone’s development of their ‘meeting’ level on their own section.

By including students in the making of the rubric, I think it can be really effective in engaging the students in their own learning. By allowing them to create their own rubrics for their assignments, they will know and understand what is expected of them, and the learning process becomes more transparent for both the students and the teacher. However, the downfall with allowing students to create a rubric for themselves, means you are taking class time away from other educational and learning opportunities. As a teacher, it becomes your responsibility for the students, and with that, also comes the pressure to have the students meet all the outcomes required for that subject at that grade level. There is a lot of content that needs to be covered in only a short period of time, and by having the students develop each of their rubrics, it takes time away from the educational portion of teaching. This is not to say, however, that students creating their own rubrics as a class is not educational, but it does come at a cost, and as teachers you must decide at what cost it may come. Of course, it helps build the classroom environment, brings everyone together to work collaboratively and constructively, it builds their understanding of the content and what they need to do to do a good job in their learning, and it also provides the chance for students to control their own education. I think to increase time efficiency, as an educator, it may be up to you to decide what rubrics students should develop, and what rubrics they should just know about. For example, I think it would be important for the students to develop the rubric for bigger assessments and projects that can take the form of their learning to that point, while the smaller assignments (for example, the formative assessments and assignments) should be the responsibility of the teacher.

This shorter PDF I think would be helpful in creating rubrics with your students. As Joan M Yoshina and Violet H. Harad state, “students who are involved in the process of creating a rubric have a better understanding of what must be done to reach expectations. With the rubric as a guide, they learn to monitor their own progress and make improvements in a timely manner”. I think this statement is extremely true. Not only are students understanding their own expectations of the assignments, they are also able to improve on their assignments. I think as a teacher, I will have due dates for assignments, but, I will also allow drafts, before the due date, and re-writes after the due date, as learning should take place all the time, and students should want to grow and get better. Rather than providing marks at the end of the assignment, I will hope to provide constructive feedback, with the option for the students to improve their work, and re-submit it. Of course, this makes for a lot more work as teacher, but if we are with our students each step of the way with their process, hopefully their understanding will grow. Ultimately, everything should be based around the students success. 

The other resource I found that I think might be useful for both teachers and students takes the form of a list in creating a rubric. Although this document is mostly geared towards teachers, I think it would be easily adaptable to use for students in helping them create their own rubric. I found it useful because it first starts in describing what a rubric is, then it shows that there are two different forms of a rubric – holistic and analytic. I had no idea there were different types of rubrics, but after reading what each of them were, it seemed to make sense. It talks about assessing student learning, which is always useful, and helps to describe what a good rubric would do. What I found most useful, though, is the end where it talks about and describes the steps you should use to create your rubric. I think this would be really helpful for both students and the teacher in creating their own rubric in the classroom! 

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One response »

  1. Great blog this week! I too found the rubric presentation to be very informative and I look forward to implementing what I learned into my own assessment in the future. I really enjoyed working as a class to create a rubric for our outcome plan assignment. This gave me clarity as to what is expected of me and what I need to work toward in order to create a great outcome plan. I agree that breaking the rubric creation into parts was a good idea, it saved time and created a good working environment. It was much easier when we only had to focus on one area of the rubric.

    You have included some great resources here; I’m always looking for more information on assessment so thank you for linking these! Overall I enjoyed the theme of your post and I think this quote from our textbook (p. 63) really relates and sums it up:

    “Assessment that works in the interests of children will enhance their ability to see and understand their learning for themselves, to judge it for themselves, and to act on their judgements” – Mary Jane Drummond

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