Sunday, November 28, 2010

Daily Assignment #25: Rubrics

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,, 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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Best Effort,


  1. Would you be willing to share an example of a rubric for writing that you created that includes the "least acceptable" category? I teach eighth grade Language Arts, and I am always looking for new perspectives.

  2. Thanks for the website with rubric samples. I also use to generate rubrics. Also, I like to show students how to read rubrics so at the beginning of the year I use a 'whining rubric' as an example. (pdf available at

    Thanks for the great blog!

  3. Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you will continue to and share it with colleagues and friends. i hope the information below helps your thinking on creating writing rubrics.

    This rubric was used by a middle school colleague for a persuasive writing assignment.

    Persuasive Writing Assignment

    Position Statement: Level 4, Position is clearly stated and consistently maintained. Clear references to the issue(s) are stated. Level 3, Position is clearlly stated and consistently maintained. References to the issue(s) at hand are missing. Level 2, Position is stated, but is not maintained consistetly throughout work. Level 1, Statement of position cannot be determined.

    Supporting Information: Level 4, Evidence clearly supports the position;evidence is sufficient. Level 3, Evidence clearly supports the position, but there is not enough evidence. Level 2, Argument is supported by limited evidence. Level 1, Evidence is unrelated argument.

    Organization: Level 4, Structure of work is clearly developed. Level 3, Stucture developed reasonably well, but lacks clarity. Level 2, Some attempt to structure the argument has been made, but the structure is poorly developed. Level 1, There is a total lack of structure.

    Tone of Letter: Level 4, Tone is consistent and enhances persuasiveness. Level 3, Tone enhances persuasiveness, but there are inconsistencies. Level 2, Tones does not contribute to persuasiveness. Level 1,Tone is inappropriate to purpose.

    Sentence Structure: Level 4, Sentence structure is correct. Level 3, Sentence structure is generally correct. Some awkward sentences do appear. Level 2, Work contains structural weaknesses and grammatical errors. Level 1, Work pays little attention to proper sentence structure.

    Punctuation & Capitalization: Level 4, Punctuation and capitalization are correct. Level 3, There is one error in punctuation and/or capitalization. Level 2, There are two or three errors in punctuation and/or capitalization. Level 1, There are four or more errors in punctuation and/or capitalization.