Heidi Goodrich, author of Understanding Rubrics, defines a rubric as "a scoring tool that lists the criteria for a piece of work, simply put, rubrics 'list what counts,' " based on a gradation of 1-4. Also, teachers should include exemplars for students to have a visual of what the gradations look like. I found this link, www.teach-nolgy.com, which offers several different types of rubrics.
Rubrics help students to evaluate and revise their own work. They empower students. Rubrics will also eliminate students playing "Guess What's on the Teacher's Mind." A favorite game of many teachers. No longer will you hear, "I didn't know what you wanted." Or that all time favorite, "You gave me that grade because you don't like me."
The unfortunate part about a rubric is, as the designer of the tool, (meaning any teacher who uses them), it can be time consuming in designing just one. So, I would like to suggest, design rubrics for authentic assessments and use "Criteria for Success" for all other assignments.
Criteria for Success would be number 3 on a rubric. Bottomline, for #3, the teacher will not accept anything less on an assignment but will certainly accept more. As someone who has used this strategy, particularly for writing assignments, the quality of work is amazing. Student performance was much better. In fact, by spring, the students would establish the criteria with me. In this way, everyone was invested in the assignment.
Also, using rubrics and criteria for success helps tremendously with conversations with parents. Grading/scoring is objective. It is based on a student's efforts on their performance. No confusion there.
I hope you will experiment with rubrics and criteria for success. Student performance will surpise you.
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