Monday, April 25, 2016

Benefits of Using Rubrics

Though more commonly used in K-12 classes, rubrics can work as a fantastic form of communication between student and teacher.  When rubrics are utilized for a course, students need only to glance at their rubric for an assignment for expectations and specific components of focus for an assignment.

Why use rubrics?

Firstly, rubrics help instructors do a plethora of things within their courses including remaining consistent in their assessment of assignments between students, provide feedback that promotes student learning in a sustainable way, and clarifying expectations of an assignment for students.  Some instructors have even found that rubrics help save them time when grading large amounts of work, since the grading criteria remains the same throughout.  These instructors still spend time writing comments, but they are then also able to return to the scale their rubrics are set on in order to grade more efficiently.

Secondly, rubrics also help students.  Providing students with a copy of a rubric before they being completing an assignment will help them understand overall expectations for their work, and will make note of specific components that are listed on their rubrics.  Students are also more likely to become aware of their learning process and the progress that they make throughout the class by utilizing the feedback received on rubrics to improve in the future.

How can you develop a rubric?

There are several different types of rubrics that you can choose to employ within your classroom depending on which one works best for the work you’re assigning.  If you’re new to rubrics, start small by creating one rubric for one assignment in a semester.  This will allow you to test the waters and see if rubrics work well for you within your own courses.  It may also be beneficial to ask colleagues if they have developed rubrics for similar assignments, just to get an idea of what sort of rubrics might be the most helpful. 

When creating a rubric, consider how you would outline the elements or critical attributes that will be evaluated for the assignment.  Then work on creating an evaluative range for performance quality underneath each element.  Leave comment boxes next to each section of the rubric for optional comments on specific components or to reference students back to a particular section of their work.  From there, all that’s left is to assign a numerical scale to each level.  Be sure to provide students with a copy during class and walk through the components together, asking for questions along the way.

For those of you who would rather type your comments, consider making your rubric into a fill-able PDF that can easily be sent out to students.

Adapted from: Cornell University CTE
Written by: Jessica Moser 

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