What's a rubric? Rubrics are a means of sharing expectations, providing focused feedback on work in progress, and measuring results.
I have used rubrics as a teacher AND as a coach for a wide range of purposes. They are useful, can be time-consuming and can be heavy to employ. Yet, there's deeper benefits to them than simply grading results.
Look at Rubistar for examples and tools for creating school subject rubrics. Here is an example from the Rubistar website.
Participation and Professionalism
Let us suppose that a school teacher has designed a rubric regarding how students work in class.
She has identified a number of key factors, and brilliantly named them:
Here's what a coach-like approach might sound like.
- The teacher writes the heading and the 5 key factors on the board
- and says "This is part of what we shall focus on in November (pause)."
- "What's included in 'Politeness'?".
- "What might teachers, parents, (employers,) and other students include in the meaning of the key factor 'Politeness'?". "What do you include in the meaning of the key factor 'Politeness'?"
- The teacher gathers the ideas from the students on the whiteboard.
- "What might your, and some different people's reasons be for including 'Politeness' in a course such as this one?". "What might yours be?"
- "What could be some of the short-term and long term benefits to you, and to others from getting a high score on the key factor 'Politeness'?", "What benefits can you think of?"
- The teacher then splits the class into 5 groups (using what she knows about their general personalities, and their current eagerness to respond to the previous questions)
- "Group A will work with 'Politeness', Group B will work with 'Promptness' etc"
After the set period of time the students then represent their groups and share what they have discussed.
- what's included in the key factor
- why it is included
- what the benefits are
These results are written large on paper and pinned near the door to the room so that it can be seen by the students as they come in, and leave.
My own growth as a rubric-writer
Initially I borrowed rubrics from previous courses, and the ones on websites like Rubistar. Later, I started writing my own rubrics. Then I realised that the best thing to do is to educate the students in writing their own rubrics. Sometimes laziness is a virtue.
I have found that, with a little prompting, students often come up with almost the same rubric descriptions that I have previously chosen. In some cases they have better descriptions, and of course I use their self-generated rubrics.