Saturday, January 7, 2012

Using and Creating Rubrics

We started back at school this week with a full day of professional development. I attended a workshop on using and creating rubrics for assessing reading. I've never really used rubrics, other than a hand full of times when assessing projects in science, or book reports/projects, so this was a real eye opener for me!

What is a rubric?
Rubrics are scoring tools that describe varying levels of quality. They're usually used for complex assignments, and give detailed expectations for the performance assessment. There are 2 common features of all rubrics; the list of criteria for "what counts", and the gradations of quality with descriptions of each.

Holistic vs. Analytic
There are 2 kinds of rubrics we use for assessing student performance. The holistic rubrics score the artifact as a whole. All of the evaluative criteria are together as one score, typically up to 4 or 6 as the highest achievement. It does not provide as much feedback to students as an analytic rubric, so is used more by the teacher to provide an overall grade.
Analytic rubrics separate the criteria and provide a score for each. It results in a sum of several scores. These kinds of rubrics are a great tool for students in self-assessment and reflection. They are easy to understand by students and parents.

So, all of that being said, I was itching to create a rubric of my own! My students and I are currently working on a non-fiction unit, with the focus being identifying Main Idea and Supporting Details as well as determining theme. At the end of the unit, my students should be able to read a non-fiction text, track their thinking and strategies used (more on this later), and write a summary that includes the main idea of the whole text, details that support the main idea, and identify the theme of the text, or the author's perspective.


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