Saturday, July 10, 2010

What I Learned Today: Rubrics

I'm about to co-teach a class on critical thinking and I've been reflecting on what I will be doing differently in the class this year.  One thing I do more of is create rubrics.

1. I am co-teaching this class with a colleague because there are nearly 40 students.
2. I've learned a lot about how to use a rubric to give students guidance as they figure out the assignment, and give me a grading guide post.

Rubrics can be complex (with columns for Beyond Expectations, Meets Expectations, Below Expectations), to simple:  (this assignment has the following expectations: Uses APA formatting: is typed, double-spaced, has a cover page, 12 point font), includes a minimum of 5 days, includes at least 4 paragraphs (a paragraph has at least 4 sentences)).

This is more of a guidance than a grading rubric, but my department has settled on a standardized writing rubric for grading papers.

The book I've used that has helped me create my own rubrics is Introduction to Rubrics by Stevens and Levi.

I had to laugh when I was working with my colleague on the expectations rubric for  I told her that I couldn't believe we had to describe the number of paragraphs and what how many sentences were in a paragraph.  "Back when I was in school, I would have known what a paragraph was," I grumped.  "We shouldn't have to do this."

Maybe we shouldn't have to but it's amazing what gets turned in when I'm not that specific.  Last year for a reflective log that was titled Daily Exercise, I was amazed to get several assignments that were not done DAILY.