This semester, I’ve put the task upon myself to give my students a variety of ways that they are engaging with course material and subsequently being assessed. This means I’ve create a lot of new projects. The easiest way to convey what you want the students to do for these assignments is to give them a detailed description but also a rubric. A rubric is a “document that articulates the expectations for an assignment by listing the criteria or what counts, and describing levels of quality from excellent to poor” (Reddy & Andrade, 2010, p. 435). Most folks (myself included) probably already knew that.
My current situation is that I’ve used rubrics before as a graduate instructor; however, I’ve never had to create my own from scratch. This is no doubt, a time consuming process, but ultimately it’s worth it. Rubrics can be useful for a multitude of reasons. Some of which Karly and Jen discussed in an earlier post such as making grading more efficient for instructors or making expectations clear to students. Additionally, rubrics can be an excellent tool for self-assessment. In Eric Landrum’s guest post, he details how rubrics can be modified to not only meet grading needs, but to also meet our assessment needs.
So now the question is, where do I start? Initially, I made a list of criteria that I want to see included in each project. For example, in my Gen Psyc class, I’m having students present on a stage of lifespan development. For each stage, I want them to present on physical, cognitive, and social changes that humans experience and also any major theories or studies that informed those changes. According to Wolf and Stevens (2007), I have identified my performance criteria, and next I need to set my performance levels (e.g., poor to excellent). For example, do I want 3 or 5 levels? I chose 5 (poor, satisfactory, good, great, excellent). For a thorough rubric, it should also include performance descriptions, which are just a brief statement describing performance at each level (Wolf & Stevens, 2007). This is the part where I struggled the most. I needed to clearly articulate my expectations for each performance level and how that translated to observable behavior. The article I’m citing gives wonderful examples (full text available here).
My rubrics are still works-in-progress, but once they’re finished, I will post them here.
Do you use rubrics in your classes? Want to see examples of our rubrics? What to share your super effective rubrics? Let us know! Comment below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
written by Jen Blush
Reddy, Y. M., & Andrade, H. (2010). A review of rubric use in higher education. Assessment & evaluation in higher education, 35(4), 435-448.
Wolf, K., & Stevens, E. (2007). The Role of Rubrics in Advancing and Assessing Student Learning. Journal of Effective Teaching, 7(1), 3-14.