This post is a follow-up to yesterday’s overview of rubrics. Remember that the categories in rubrics relate to student outcomes and the rating scale is used to determine how well a student has mastered those skills. Rubrics can be used across all subject areas.
Now let’s look at what goes inside a rubric. Adding the content can be the most labor-intensive part of rubric development because it requires you to carefully describe the process towards proficiency. These descriptions must be specific and measurable, such that another teacher or parent could understand your results. Here’s an example of one category for a math rubric used for solving word problems: Since I have always used rubrics with students, I make the content as encouraging as possible. Obviously, you will avoid descriptors such as “I failed” or “I have no idea what I’m doing.” If the rubric is for your eyes only, however, there is no need to use student-friendly language.
There is no one right way to create a rubric; each one will reflect the teacher’s goals and measures of proficiency. The example below uses Rubistar‘s suggested content for math manipulatives, where the focus is on appropriate behavior instead of reasoning: In addition to providing access to a wide range of preexisting categories and content, Rubistar rubrics are easily modified. I prefer to have my rating scale read from left to right in ascending order, so I changed the above online version a little. Another cool feature of Rubistar’s rubric creators is adding classroom (or student) performance by percentage into each box of the rubric. That allows you to see strengths and weaknesses at glance, which can enhance future instruction. Rubrics can also be paired nicely with checklists. Examples of such categories include “I used my writing checklist” or “I followed my morning check-in list.”
My next post on rubrics will focus on their use for teaching social skills. Any questions or comments? Please feel free to note them below.