This week in Assessment and Evaluation (ECS 410) we had a presentation by Cori Antonini, regarding rubrics and his development of a Rubric-making App. The presentation was interesting, and Cori had a lot of information to share with us from his time as a teacher, administrator, and researcher. While listening to Cori go through outcomes, indicators, marking guides, and possible goals for each rubric, I found myself wondering: Is the benefit to Rubrics the same for teachers as it is for students?
Rubrics are meant to inform students of exactly what is expected of them for a task, and how they need to meet that expectation. Q: What kinds of questions will students develop about assignments if their questions about what and how are covered in the Rubric? (Perhaps more space for higher-level thinking!)
As I have gone through the Education program I have discovered (through my own realization and through feedback from my professors) that we are not trying to trick out students. We never want to surprise them with extra information or a topic we haven’t examined. This discovery has allowed me to better understand the place and purpose of rubrics in the classroom. When I was in high school, and in most of my university classes, rubrics were handed out with our marks. They were not a tool to guide learning, but a way of justifying marks to students. Today we realize the detriment of that strategy; How can students meet or exceed the expectations of teachers if they are never told what the teacher expects? It is crazy to challenge students to get exceptional grades when they are not told what a teacher wants from them.
Another realization I have had about using rubrics is my own tendency to stray from outcomes in the curriculum. Developing the rubric for a project requires us to focus on the specific, direct, curricular outcomes that are required of each student in each task. This is a concrete way to connect lessons to units to assignments to assessment. It is key that we do not stray from the real goals for learning, and that we stay away from skills that are not explicit in the curriculum. For example, in Social Studies there is no outcome that says that students have to be able to write an essay. Having an assignment focus on the students’ ability to write an essay would stray from the outcomes, and may interfere with the higher levels of learning that we are seeking to reach in our classrooms. Developing a rubric that represents the curriculum is key in student success, and the quality of our work as teachers. Q: Is there a need to teach essay-writing or other skills that are not outlined in the curriculum.
As my group and I continue our work on our unit assessment plan we hope to not only understand the goals of the curriculum, but also find interesting, valuable ways of assessing and providing the feedback that students deserve.
Chapter 3: Beginning with the End in Mind (Davies)
Chapter 4: Describing Success (Davies)