Grading with Rubrics

Rubrics are an excellent way to grade assignments that are complicated or that would be difficult to grade objectively. Basically, a rubric lays out for the teacher what requirements each part of the assignment must meet to receive full or partial credit.

When a teacher is grading an assignment like an essay, he can read through the assignment and compare this with the rubric to determine what grade to give. Rubrics are an excellent way to make your life easier while also letting students know exactly what is expected of them.

Creating Rubrics

The most time-consuming part of working with rubrics is creating effective ones. This should be done before you assign the students their work thereby providing you with a better understanding of exactly what you want your students to accomplish. You might even find that some of the assignment directions need to be changed in order to help the students do a better job.

Use the following to help guide your creation of rubrics:

  • List what you want your students to accomplish with the assignment.

  • Organize your list from most to least important.

  • Decide how much you want your assignment to be worth.

  • Assign each item from step 2 a percentage value with the total of all items equaling 100 percent.

  • Multiply your percentage value by the total value for the assignment to get the point value for each item.

  • Decide on specific grading criteria for each of the items.

  • Transfer this information into a chart with columns left blank for actual grade assigned and comments.

  • When you grade the assignment, use and attach this form.

As you can see, it is easier to grade if you know which categories you will be grading when you create your assignment.

Advanced Placement exams given by the College Board are graded using standard rubrics. Graders receive these rubrics and are trained in their use before they grade their first essay. This, along with other measures, assures consistency and fairness between graders.

Presenting Rubrics to Students

It is a good idea to present students with the rubric that you will use to grade their assignment when you first assign the work. This allows students to see exactly what you are going to be looking for as you grade. In fact, this is essential for elementary school students.

Some teachers find it useful to actually have students grade their own work based on the rubric before they turn in their assignment. This does not mean that you will use this grade, but it helps the students focus on the quality of their own work.

One final use of rubrics is for students to grade their peers. Unless you give the students a rubric from which to grade, they will not grade each other's work consistently.

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