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As an educator, wouldn’t you appreciate a path that would make grading assignments easier, as well as showing students exactly what requires improvement? If that’s what you are seeking, then rubrics could be the answer.

Straightforward Grading

As an educator, coming up with an effective grading policy is a crucial part of your job. After all, grades are not just a percentage of mastery but also provide some guidance on places for students to improve. However, despite notes and point deductions written on the same problem that incurred them, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a simple way for students to quickly gaze at a piece of paper and instantly understand why they earned a certain grade? Also, for those who teach more subjective fields, wouldn’t it be nice to have a way of being able to both arrive at a certain grade for a certain level of work, as well as be able to defend that mark? Luckily, rubrics provide just such a mechanism for teachers to do all of these things.

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What Is a Rubric?

At its core, a rubric is little more than a list of how an assignment will be marked.

Point values for each part of the assignment and maximum values that can be earned are displayed. Many teachers find themselves in a position where a student excels at one point of the assignment but misses the rest of it entirely. With a rubric, it can be clear why said student received a given grade.Good rubrics not only display how many points are assigned to each part of the assignment but also provide some explanation as to how the grader will reach the final point value for each blank on the rubric. For example, if grammar is worth ten points on an assignment, it could be as simple as stating that each grammatical error will result in the loss of one point of the ten. Conversely, if content is worth 30 points, more detailed explanations can be given for point values awarded at 10, 20, and 30-point intervals.

Uses of Rubrics

Given the amount of preparation needed to prepare a rubric, it is not surprising that many educators choose not to use them for every class work assignment.

Instead, rubrics really find their home on more long-term projects, especially research papers and science projects. For many students, these are high-stakes assignments, which can help determine a grade for an entire term. For teachers, the sheer size of such work can make it difficult to grade without a roadmap in mind.

A rubric can serve as a roadmap. Further, it allows students to double check their work according to the rubric, permitting them to maximize their own work in order to gain the highest grade possible.That said, rubrics do not need to be so exacting as to only be useful on long-term assignments. A quick explanation in class or on a syllabus about what constitutes A-level, B-level, and C-level work helps to provide some of the information inherent in a rubric. Moreover, it also permits an opportunity for any outstanding questions to be asked.

Further, a rubric doesn’t have to necessarily be a standard which the teacher cannot violate. For example, if the number of grammatical mistakes makes the work unreadable, then the instructor can deduct points from other areas.

Rubrics in Lower Levels of Education

So far, we have had examples of rubrics only at the high school and advanced middle school level.

Still, rubrics have a place at all levels of education. A kindergarten rubric may feature multiple examples of coloring inside the lines, with each improving image featuring more of the behavior that ultimately gets a gold star. The same idea of a rubric is still useful, even if the overall presentation takes on a more image-based rather than text-based approach. Rubrics can also be behavioral, such as those that demonstrate proper behavior when waiting in the hallway for gym or library.

These would be more binary in nature, providing an example of a well-behaved class and an example of a misbehaving class.

Lesson Summary

In this lesson, we see the many uses of rubrics. Rubrics allow educators to create firm standards for grading while letting students know exactly how they will be assessed. However, a great deal of work goes into creating the most detailed rubrics, meaning that most teachers will only use these for larger projects and papers. That said, the rubric itself can provide students guidance on how to best execute the project in question.However, rubrics do not have to be a tool only of students who possess advanced reading abilities.

Lower elementary teachers can also use rubrics to demonstrate behaviors ranging from coloring in the lines to proper behavior during time spent in the hallway.

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