Carteret Community College Title III Grant

March 3, 2010

Creating Effective Rubrics

Filed under: Rubrics — Donald Staub @ 10:49 am

What is a rubric and why create one?

A rubric is an authentic assessment tool used to measure student’s work.”   To put it another way, a rubric is an instrument that allows both the instructor and student to close the gap of confusion between an assignment and the score assigned to that student’s work (work could be a written assignment or a performance, such as trouble-shooting a diesel engine or an activity such as a clinical experience).  Generally, rubrics are displayed in table form, with criteria on one axis, and points/quality on the other.  Here’s a simple, tasteful example:

Source: Waubonese Community College (click on rubric to access full doc)

The rationale for creating a rubric is that (a) it saves time (there is an investment of time up front, but it pays off in the long run), (b) it clarifies expectations; and, (c) it communicates expectations – i.e. how an instructor will assign a score (“Informed judgement lies between objectivity and subjectivity”).

To develop a rubric, I’m going to refer to the four simple steps outlined by Dannelle Stevens in her rubric-writing workshop at the recent Texas A&M Assessment Conference (click here for my notes on the whole conference…scroll down to Dannelle’s workshop).
  1. Reflecting: Start by brainstorming the descriptors of the concept/activity…what are your objectives for the assignment?
  2. Listing: Next, list all the characteristics/dimensions/criteria; brainstorm the list…culling comes in the next step.
  3. Grouping & Labeling: In this step, put descriptors/criteria in their relevant categories (e.g. see above – Texture, Color, Taste, etc..).  One suggestion that came from the audience: Start with a pile of papers group into good, mediocre, bad…work backwards and build rubric according to the qualities you (don’t) find in each group
  4. Application: The final step – on a grid, fill in highest then lowest, then middle
** Also, make sure that you have the assignment articulated on the rubric.  This increases clarity and lack of confusion.
Just a few of the many great resources for rubrics out there…often you’ll find that they are organized by subject area (e.g. class participation, critical thinking, health sciences, etc..) —

click on image to download ppt

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