Have you ever received a grade on an assignment and wondered how the score was assigned? Did you question if the instructor even read your paper? Did you wonder how you could improve your next paper due to lack of feedback provided? When grading assignments, how will you ensure that students do not have the same questions? As you prepare for the semester, not only should you create assignments but also tools you will use to grade them.
The Purpose of Rubrics
Rubrics are tools used to assess students learning. A rubric should guide the evaluator’s attention to important elements that need to be assessed in papers, project, or presentations. A well developed grading rubric helps to guide the type of work students produce. In addition, it allows instructors to provide feedback when grading that is clear and directed toward assignment goals and expectations. Rubrics also ensure consistency and fairness by clearly communicating your expectations. A grading rubric should clearly state:
- The assignment purpose
- Objectives being measured
- Point Distribution
Creating Rubrics or Scoring Guides
Depending upon the purpose of the assignment and the assignment directions, expectations and requirements on the grading rubric/scoring guide will vary for each assignment. By creating a template with some common components, you can modify it for each assignment. Thus, when you are creating a rubric or scoring guide consider including the following categories:
- Thesis Statement
- Organization (sentence and paragraph development)
- References – Support from the Research
Provide the grading rubric or scoring guide to students when you assign the work to be completed. It should accompany the assignment directions. This transparency provides the students with the information that they need to successfully complete the assignment.
Rubrics and scoring guides help to keep faculty and teaching assistants objective. Further, it helps students to evaluate their own performance on an assignment. Clearly communicating your expectations and how an assignment will be graded can lead to higher quality work, because it provides students with the necessary knowledge to rise to the challenge before them and meet expectations of the assignment.
Finally, my favorite reason for using a rubric or scoring guide is the reduction in grading time! The rubric helps to focus your attention on the key elements identified as important. This allows you to focus on these elements as you read and provide comments on the paper or project.
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