Rubrics are the newest approach to standardizing assessment in elementary and high schools. They are less objective than traditional marking methods. And having one available for students prior to collecting assignments makes students aware of exactly how they will be graded. Parents and students will appreciate knowing your marking strategy, and you'll be thankful that you took the time to make your marking easier. If you've never tried this approach to assessment, read on to find out how to create a rubric for student assessment.
List the learning objectives. The first step when creating a rubric for student assessment is to determine what you want students to learn from the assignment. Note your learning objectives at the top of the page (one or two quick notes are fine). Parents and students will want to know what learning you are looking to see as the student completes the assignment.
Determine how many areas you will assess. When you are assessing student work, you're often looking for learning in more than one dimension. For example, a research project may be graded on quality of writing, grammar, neatness, punctuation, and so on. Each dimension requires a different mark, and therefore requires a different section on the assessment rubric. You'll also need to decide whether you'll grade using letter grades, numerical grades, or leveled grades for each dimension. (And then you'll need to determine what type of work earns each grade.) Taking the time to write out your expectations for each dimension may be lengthy, but you'll appreciate how easy a well-written rubric can make marking!
Discuss your rubric with your class. Once you have written out your learning expectations and laid out the marking scheme for each dimension of the project you'll be assessing, you need to introduce the rubric to the class. No matter how young students are, they all want to know how they'll be graded, and they can all appreciate a rubric. Put the rubric on the overhead projector, your Smart Board, or your wall so that it's large enough for all students to see and discuss together. Take the time to go over what the purpose of the project is (your learning objectives). Then, discuss each dimension of the rubric you created. Tell students what is considered low-level work, and what work is considered top-notch. Mention any extra marks you're giving for neatness, creativity and overall quality.
Then open up the discussion to questions. Make sure students know exactly what you're looking for after seeing this assessment rubric. Post a copy of the rubric in the classroom afterwards so that students are always reminded of what is expected of them with this project. If you have a class website, post a copy there as well so that students and parents can always access the rubric from home.
Assess student work. The moment of truth after you create a rubric for student assessment is when it comes time to mark. If you have successfully delivered your lessons, led your students on an enriching independent project path, and thoroughly explained a well-written assessment rubric, then marking the projects for assessment should be both quick and enjoyable.