Rubrics to the Rescue

Why Use Rubrics?

Teachers use rubrics to support learning. They make assessing the students' work efficient, consistent, objective, and quick. Teachers evaluating an assignment know implicitly what makes that assignment excellent, mediocre, or in need of improvement. Rubrics enable teachers to evaluate students' performance in situations that more closely replicate real life than an isolated test. Rubrics also help teachers to focus their own attention to the key concepts and standards that the students must obtain. By developing a working guide (rubric) for students to use as a tool throughout the assignment, teachers provide the scaffolding necessary to improve the quality of their students' work and to increase the knowledge that the students acquire. Teachers have the flexibility to reuse the same rubric for various class assignments. Rubrics allow teachers to accommodate and differentiate for heterogeneous classes by offering a range of quality levels (they can be used with gifted and learning support students).

Rubrics provide students with a clear understanding of what is expected of them. Students have concrete directions about what makes a good science project, a good persuasive writing piece, etc.. Many studies have proven that rubrics improve students' end products and thus increase the students' overall learning. Rubrics provide students with valuable information about the degree of which a specific learning outcome has been achieved. They provide students with concrete feedback that displays areas of strength and areas in need of improvement. Students can use this feedback as a tool to further develop their abilities.

Rubrics encourage students to think about their own thinking and possibly about their own criteria for what is "good.": to analyze their own work and process to see how it matches up with the standard explained in the rubric. By using rubrics, teachers give students experience in their higher-level thinking processes.

Parents appreciate the use of rubrics because they allow teachers to justify why a certain grade was assigned to his/her child. Rubrics are easy to understand at a quick glance. They provide parents with a digestible, concise, and well-structured assessment. Parents appreciate the detailed feedback that a rubric provides.

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