Rubrics2018-12-17T16:36:10+00:00

Project Description

Rubrics

A foundation of feedback

Purpose

To highlight the value of using assessment rubrics for teaching staff and students.

A rubric, also known as a grading guideline, or marking scheme, is a document that provides a detailed explanation of how student work will be assessed (Dunn et al, 2004).

Benefits for Teachers

For educators, using rubrics can:

  • Provide the foundation of feedback to students
  • Improve marking objectivity, consistency and efficiency, both across different standards and across student cohorts
  • Decrease queries from students about assessments

Benefits for Students

For students, using rubrics can:

  • Provide explicit criteria and standards
  • Provide clarity in expectations of what is required
  • Provide guidance in identifying the performance gap between their submitted work and the desired standard
  • Assist students to develop understanding and make judgments about the quality of their work

 

Supporting the feedback process 

Regular feedback is the most powerful way to enhance students’ learning (Department of Education and Training 2018). Students need frequent opportunities to articulate what they know and receive suggestions for improvement. Feedback that occurs during learning is active and supports students in gauging their progress and improving their outcomes.

Timely feedback:

  • Clarifies goals, criteria, and the expected standards that are aligned to the course learning outcomes and the assessments
  • Enables the development of self-assessment through reflection
  • Encourages teacher and student conversations about learning
  • Encourages positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem
  • Rubrics provide timely feedback.

Assessment feedback has the most impact and meaning to students when it is provided in a timely fashion. RMIT policy recommends the provision of feedback within 10 working days of a deadline. (RMIT University 2018)

RMIT Policy relating to feedback and rubrics

The following are excerpts from the RMIT Assessment Processes (RMIT University 2018, p. 9)

Students predominantly seek feedback for two reasons:

  1. To find out what they are doing well so they can continue doing it
  2. To find out where they are performing poorly so that they know where to focus their efforts to improve

Building Rubrics 

To highlight the value of using assessment rubrics for teaching staff and students.

In its simplest form, a rubric is composed of four parts (Stevens & Levi, 2005, p. 6):

  1. A description of the assignment
  2. A scale to rank the levels of achievement. At RMIT the scale predominately used is the Higher Ed grading schema.
  3. The dimensions of the assignment that breaks down the skills and knowledge involved in the assignment. The dimensions identify the assessment task component parts that make up the whole.
  4. Descriptions of what constitutes each level of performance with specific feedback. Consider these descriptions of performance levels as being the general feedback that you would provide when marking the assessment in previous experiences.
click to enlarge

When constructing your rubric, the following questions should be considered (Kinash & Knight p 53)

  1. Why did you create the assignment? Think about the purpose of the assessment, the learning activities related to the assessment, and its alignment with the CLOs
  2. What specific learning outcomes will students achieve upon completion of the assessment task? List these outcomes and vary them according to student’s abilities at different levels. This can be fed-forward into the descriptors at the performance levels.
  3. Which of the dimensions would you consider most valuable? Prioritising these will help you determine their weighting.

When identifying the right verbs for the rubric, it’s important to align the language in your rubric to your Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs). Below is a diagram of a verb wheel based on Bloom’s taxonomy along with a table that displays common verbs and their cognitive tasks.

Verb list

References

  • Blooms taxonomy verb wheel, viewed 16 August 2018 link
  • Department of Education and Training 2018, Feedback and reporting, viewed 16 August 2018, link
  • Dunn, L, Morgan C., O’Reilly, M. & Parry, S. 2004, The student assessment handbook: New directions for traditional and online assessment. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge Falmer.
  • Kinash, S, & Knight, D. 2013, Assessment at Bond.Gold Coast, QLD: Office of Learning and Teaching, Bond University.
  • RMIT University 2018: Assessment Processes, August 2018, viewed 14 August 2018 link
  • Stevens, D.D, & Levi, A.J. 2005 Introduction to rubrics: An assessment tool to save grading time, convey effective feedback and promote student learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.