Developing Rubrics & Scoring Guides
Rubrics are often used to evaluate student work based on predetermined criteria. Scoring rubrics include evaluative criteria with performance descriptors and are either applied collectively as a holistic score or individually as an analytic score (Popham, 2017). The evaluative criteria defined by a scoring rubric should focus on the specific skills the teacher wants to measure. In other words, your rubric should directly align with your learning objective(s). Therefore, it makes sense to complete the creation, adoption, or modification of a scoring rubric during the second stage of the Backward Design process. In this chapter, you will explore different types of rubrics along with how to develop effective rubrics.
By the end of this chapter, you will be able to
- Design scoring tools that allow learners to identify quality work and teachers to provide feedback when assessing student work.
Types of Scoring Rubrics
There are a variety of methods to evaluate student work. Scoring rubrics can be holistic or analytical. The following sections will provide details about both analytical and holistic rubrics along with learning roadmaps. This alternative rubric option often works well in skill-based content areas like the arts and PE.
The Analytic Rubric*
The Analytic rubric is perhaps the one most commonly used by teachers. It features a grid of criteria (columns) and “levels” of achievement (rows). By separating the total activity score into separate criteria (e.g.: summary, argument, grammar & mechanics), the rubric provides detailed feedback to students on the strengths and weaknesses of each aspect of their work. This provides students with targeted information they can employ to improve their grades in subsequent assignments. By providing students a copy of the rubric when you give them an assignment, you help students focus on assignment criteria that you have identified as most important, which may help relieve student apprehension.
The rubric below is an example of an analytic rubric. The evaluative criteria are listed in the left-most column: summary, argument, grammar & mechanics, and formatting & citations. Each of the evaluative criteria should align with a SMART learning objective. The remaining columns define the various performance levels with descriptions of student work at various levels. I strongly encourage you to consider Mark Wise’s suggestions from an administrator perspective on how to Build Rubrics that Get Results. Wise shares insight into how to positively state your performance descriptors and how to assign points to ensure that the most important components of your task are carrying the correct amount of weight in the final score.
|Example of an analytic rubric, Science|
|Level of understanding||The student has no understanding of the question or problem. The response is completely incorrect or irrelevant.||There is evidence in the response that the student has some understanding||There is evidence in the response that the student has a basic understanding||There is evidence in the response that the student has a good understanding.||There is evidence in the response that the student has a full and complete understanding.|
|Use of accurate scientific terminology||The student has no understanding of the question or problem. The response is completely incorrect or irrelevant.||The use of accurate scientific terminology is not present in the response.||The use of accurate scientific terminology may be present in the response.||The use of accurate scientific terminology strengthens the response.||The use of accurate scientific terminology enhances the response.|
|Use of supporting details||The student has no understanding of the question or problem. The response is completely incorrect or irrelevant.||The supporting details are only minimally effective.||The supporting details are adequate.||The supporting details are generally complete.||Pertinent and complete supporting details demonstrate an integration of ideas.|
|Synthesis of information||The student has no understanding of the question or problem. The response is completely incorrect or irrelevant.||The response addresses the question.||The response provides little or no synthesis of information.||The response reflects some synthesis of information.||The response reflects a complete synthesis of information.|
|Application of information||The student has no understanding of the question or problem. The response is completely incorrect or irrelevant.||The application, if attempted, is irrelevant.||The application of the concept to a practical problem or real-world situation is inadequate.||The concept has been applied to a practical problem or real-world situation.||An effective application of the concept to a practical problem or real-world situation reveals an insight into scientific principles.|
Database of Assessment Rubrics
Check out the collection of performance assessment rubrics available from the SCALE team out of Stanford for various grade levels and content areas. These rubrics are available for you to use and remix as they have a CC BY 4.0 license.
To access the rubrics, you may need to sign up for a free account, which will also give you access to a collection of performance assessments that you might be able to use in your classroom.
The Holistic Rubric*
While less common, holistic rubrics are a way to quickly give feedback by providing a score based on levels for one criterion. In addition to making grading go more quickly, holistic rubrics appeal to instructors who are uncomfortable separating the evaluation of student work into discrete criteria. The holistic rubric is good for situations where you might want to give a single overall score to a student’s work, but the drawback is that students do not get specific feedback.
Below is an example of a holistic rubric. Similar to the analytic rubric, you see performance descriptors on the right. However, each evaluative criterion has been placed in a single cell. When using holistic rubrics, the assessor looks for where the majority of evidence lies to determine what score to assign.
|Example Holistic Scoring Rubric|
|Partially Proficient||Score 2||
|Not Proficient||Score 1||
|Source: Adapted from English Language Arts Grade 2 Los Angeles Unified School District, 2001 (http://www.cse.ucla.edu/resources/justforteachers_set.htm)|
Learning Roadmaps are very similar to rubrics in that they distinguish between different performance levels across different criteria. If you are in the PE setting, or any other skill-based content area, then you might be interested in seeing how Joey Feith builds Learning Roadmaps. Check out the links below to learn how these tools might help you and your students assess progress in not just a skill but also knowledge and understanding of that skill.
Keys to Developing Strong Scoring Rubrics
- Align evaluative criteria with learning objectives
- Ensure evaluative criteria can, and will be, taught during your instruction
- Select as few evaluative criteria as needed.
After designing your rubric, use the Rubric for Rubrics to assess if you have included all of the components of a strong assessment tool.
Rubrics are used to evaluate student work based on predetermined criteria. Scoring rubrics include evaluative criteria with performance descriptors and are either applied in a holistic or analytic format. The performance descriptors defined by a rubric focus on defined learning objectives. Teachers can use scoring rubrics as part of instruction by giving students the rubric during instruction, providing several responses, and analyzing these responses in terms of the rubric.
Summarizing Key Understandings
References & Attributions
Attribution: “The Analytic Rubric and The Holistic Rubric” sections were adapted in part from Teaching in Desire2Learn by University of Wisconsin, licensed CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Popham, W. J. (2017).Classroom assessment: What teachers need to know, 8th edition. Boston, MA: Pearson