Rubrics in teaching and learning


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Rubrics in teaching and learning

  1. 1. A rubric is a detailed explanation of performance expectations for individual components of anassignment. Often presented in table form, a rubric would describe levels of performance in descriptions of component qualities, in columns distributed by grade or competency level. Points or percentages are often assigned to each component to explain their weight in the total. Rubrics are created with the intention of incorporating them into both the teaching and assessment of the assignment. <br />Rubrics would be distributed to students at the beginning of an assignment as one form of explaining expectations. The rubric might focus more on the evaluation of elements of the assignment, whereas an assignment might focus more on the outcomes and objectives. Students would use the rubric for self-assessment as they complete their assignment, which encourages self-directed learning. Faculty would use the rubric to develop relevant or applicable course content and instruction. Rubrics may be created with students, prompting important discussions of course work and creating a more involved experience for students.<br />Rubrics can be created for all types of assignments. The design and use of rubrics is a developed skill that can help instructors or teachers more clearly relate course outcomes with assignments and teaching: <br /><ul><li>For written assignments (reports and essays), rubrics generally give themost weight to writing standards, especially mature expressions of contentknowledge.
  2. 2. For more procedural assignments, such as scientific lab or clinic work, rubrics might focus more on the acquisition of activity-based skills and performance of protocols.
  3. 3. For artistic performance projects, rubrics might look at the application of learned principles, as well as levels of execution.</li></ul>Rubrics are easy to use and to explain. Rubrics make sense to people at a glance; they're concise<br />and digestible. For these reasons, teachers like to use them to assess student work, parents appreciate them when helping their children with homework, and students often request them when given a new assignment.<br />Rubrics make teachers' expectations very clear. Traditionally, we as a teacher have kept our criteria and standards to ourselves. The answers to the test were secret, and teachers tended not to articulate what counted when they gave grades. <br />We teacher often expect students to just know what makes a good essay, a good drawing, or a good science project, so we don't articulate our standards for them. If that student's teacher supplied written expectations, maybe in the form of a rubric, the student would have known what counts and would have been able to do better work. That student needed help figuring out what the grades "count on." Some students figure that out on their own but others need it written down or otherwise communicated to them. Rubrics are one way to do that.<br />Rubrics provide students with more informative feedback about their strengths and areas in need of improvement than traditional forms of assessment do. Imagine that our employer is about to evaluate us. We have a choice between receiving a letter grade or a rubric with statements circled that most closely describe our performance. Which kind of assessment would we choose? Most people choose the rubric, knowing that it will tell them a lot more about their performance. The same is true for students. A well written rubric, one that describes the kinds of mistakes they tend to make, as well as the ways in which their work shines gives them valuable information. Students can learn from rubric in a way that they can't learn from a grade.<br />