Rubric: Everything You Need to Know

These are the standards that are supposed to be followed in order to successfully carry out a test or an assessment. Since they provide more details than a single mark or grade, rubrics help teachers grade more objectively. With rubrics, teachers can reduce subjectivity and grading time while boosting objectivity. 

Rubrics also help students get timely feedback on diverse types of assignments – right from projects and papers to artistic performances, oral presentations, and group projects. This way, they help improve students’ ability to include the necessary elements of an assignment. Additionally, understanding an assignment’s expectations and components better makes students more aware of their learning process and progress.

Those wondering about the elements of a rubric should know that a grading rubric usually has a grid-type structure. It includes criteria, performance levels, and descriptors, which become exclusive assessment tools for any given assignment. Criteria refer to the aspects of performance (such as evidence, argument, and clarity) that will be evaluated. Descriptors stand for the features linked to each dimension (like evidence is compelling and diverse, argument is original and demonstrable, etc). Performance levels denote a rating scale that recognizes the students’ level of mastery within every criterion. 

Though rubrics are most frequently used to grade written assignments, they have several other uses too. For instance, teachers can use them for oral presentations. They can also be used to assess individual contribution to group assignments and teamwork. Rubrics can even facilitate peer-review by establishing evaluation standards. Teachers can ask their students to use the rubric to provide peer assessment on different drafts. Students may use rubrics for self-assessment as well to enhance their learning and performance.

The following steps can help teachers get started with rubrics:

·         Begin small, ideally with one rubric for a single assignment in a semester. 

·         Adapt rubrics that are available online, use online rubric templates, or seek help from colleagues who have created rubrics for similar assignments.

·         Scrutinize an assignment and outline the critical attributes or elements that must be evaluated.

·         Design a range for evaluating performance quality under each element, which could be “poor,” “good,” or “excellent,” for instance.

·         Add descriptors that qualify every performance level. It’s crucial to avoid vague or  subjective criteria, like “creative” or “interesting.” Teachers can allot a numerical scale to each level and set criteria that clearly distinguish one performance level from another.

·         Teachers should share their rubric draft with their colleagues and/or teaching assistants for feedback and revise the rubric accordingly.

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