Writing Prompt: Creating rubrics for student self-assessment


Many educators have a love / hate relationship with assessment. It can be both rewarding and empowering—but as the assignments pile up, and the year goes on, the sheer amount of assessing can be daunting and often monotonous.

It doesn’t have to be.

By creating rubrics—a self-assessment tool that sets clear expectations for students and holds them accountable—learning can become more meaningful. Using rubrics is an easy way to assess student progress both during the learning and as an effective summative measure, not to mention keeping students involved throughout the process. To create a rubric, keep these five basic tenants in mind:

  1. Be consistent. Make sure your students understand how they will be assessed.
  2. Base your rubric around the skills you are assessing.
  3. Use clear language.
  4. Embrace the positive.
  5. Leave room for creativity.

That last point lends itself well to today’s writing prompt, in which you will help your students build a rubric for a current assignment.

Step One

Brainstorm with the students exactly what the project is intended to accomplish and all the major components of the project. , Write down the elements or criteria required to complete each component. Make sure the students have a chance to discuss and understand the criteria.

Step Two

You’re ready to add more components. Make a list of the “extra” ways students can earn marks—creativity, perfect grammar, or effort, for example.

Step Three

Choose your Rubric. Rubrics come in a variety of forms, but the most common is the list. If you like the list form, you’ve already created a basic outline. For a table, make the points (criteria) run down the left side of the page. Across the top, write in evaluative terms from poor to excellent. Under the excellent column, write the ideal project criteria. Fill in a description under each evaluative term for each criteria .

Step Four

For older students( or for summative purpose) you can  attach points to each evaluative term under each component. Determine the points you’d like to make each component of the project worth. The easiest is to make the top score 100 so that students can quickly add the points he/she obtains. Assign points for each section until you’ve filled out all of the sections of the rubric.  For younger students or you may decide to keep the terms (excellent, etc.)

You’re done!

By engaging students in the evaluation process, they are active in their learning. Leave room for questions, and have fun!

Do you have examples of rubrics you’ve used in the classroom? We’d love to hear about them and how they work in your classroom.

~ The Teachers Media Team


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