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Using the Rubric

Using the Rubric Assessment Tool

Assessment FOR, OF, and AS logo

The following comments detail how the Rubric Assessment Tool was used successfully at:

Burwood Heights Primary School 

This tool was trialled at Burwood Heights Primary School by Lisa Yeoman with Year 5 and 6 Integrated Studies.

I used this assessment tool:

  • to make what is being assessed explicit for students and to identify areas where improvements could be made. I also involve students in determining the criteria by which their assignment will be assessed.

I used the tool in the following way:

The students used prepared Rubrics for other assignments in previous terms. They were given a task sheet for their Asian Studies assignment and a set of criteria which they determined would be at the expected level if met. As a class we also developed criteria for below the expected level and above the expected level. Criteria were also developed for, depth of understanding, organisation, working in teams and presentation.

At the end of the process adjustments were made to the criteria. An interesting part of the discussion was that the class raised the issue that for some children their expected level may be at below or above according to their abilities. It was decided this needed to be negotiated. Each child was given a copy of the Rubric with their assignment task sheet so that they could check their progress against the criteria as they were working.

At the completion of the assignment the students assessed their work against the rubric, highlighted their achievements and wrote a reflection on what this meant for their future learning. The teacher also wrote a comment.

I could improve the usefulness of this tool by:

  • taking the time to work with the students to compose the rubric. This would allow students to develop a complete understanding of what is expected. I found that by giving them criteria to start with, the students needed less guidance from me while working on their task.

The rubric is very useful because it focuses students on their learning, involves them in their assessment and sets explicit standards for them to achieve.

You could use this tool:

  • for peer assessment and teacher assessment in other curriculum areas such as speeches and literature responses. Visit suggested web sites for ideas to get you started.

Maryborough Education Centre 

This tool was trialled at Maryborough Education Centre by Marie Hardefeldt with students from the P-12 Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD).

I used this assessment tool:

  • to better observe what students were doing at Riding for the Disabled Program and to ascertain what skills needed to be worked on.

I used the tool in the following way:

The teacher and students worked together and discussed the skills that were being developed and how each student thought they were progression. They also identified the skills they thought could be further developed and how to achieve this next term.

The rubrics we developed were placed in a learning journal which went home with each student to be discussed with their parents. I also used them to give direction for next term's work.

I could improve the usefulness of this tool by:

  • reducing the number of skills to be focussed on and having some pictorial representation of these skills.

You could use this tool:

  • for self assessment, group and peer assessment. The results can be graphed to allow the students and the teacher to see what needs to be worked on.

Maryborough Education Centre, Palmerston Secondary Campus 

This tool was trialled at Maryborough Education Centre, Palmerston Secondary Campus by John Walsh with Year 9 English and Tony Macer with Year 8.

We used this assessment tool:

Year 9 English

  • for students to reflect on their own work and to stimulate discussion amongst their peers relating to the quality of the finished assignment work. The collaborative development of the rubric was a fantastic exercise. Students really took ownership of the development of the assessment criteria and took it seriously, particularly when they were told that parents would be viewing the results. The development of a product, such as a DVD, was also a good motivator to encourage students to verbally evaluate their performance and justify the result they had awarded themselves.

Year 8

  • as part of an action research project for my professional learning team. We were experimenting with Think, Pair, Share and I used it on a number of occasions with my class. I wanted the students to assess the effectiveness of using the Think, Pair, Share teaching strategy in my classroom.

We used the tool in the following way:

Year 9 English

Students produced a video based on their narrative poetry. The poetry text was incorporated with photographs, artwork and other static images as well as a sound track of their choice. The assessment criteria, as well as the standards to be met for awarded marks, were negotiated via a class brainstorming exercise utilizing the collaborative features of the school's Sharepoint web site. Criteria such as establishment of mood, use of images and suitability of music were incorporated in a rubric.

Students were later encouraged to introduce their own work, which was video recorded by other students, assess their own work using the rubric and consider positive and constructive criticism from their peers. They were asked to adjust their assessment after feedback and identify areas where improvements could be made. This was also documented on video. The students' rubric was incorporated into their Sharepoint web site. Their verbal summary of their findings was incorporated into the class poetry DVD. Both assessment products were shown to parents at parent-teacher meetings. It was sent home once the DVD was viewed by parents.

Although students were engaged and positive about each other's work, future use of the rubric tool will incorporate more classroom discussion on the concept of constructive criticism and positive reinforcement. I also felt that students needed to be encouraged to spend more time considering levels of performances and defining assessment criteria further.

Year 8

We used the Think, Pair, Share as a tool in our class work and had the class evaluate the use of this tool. I developed a rubric and gave it to the students to shade in their responses. The responses were tallied and displayed in colourful pie charts.

We could improve the usefulness of this tool by:

Year 9 English

  • preparing teaching resources that would take students through the main concepts of developing and using rubrics. This could possibly take the form of a PowerPoint presentation that assists students to develop performance levels, provides examples of various rubrics and takes students through a number of activities.

Year 8

  • continuing to use it on a regular basis so that the students become routine users. I am working towards the stage where students can take more responsibility for making their own rubrics for their work with less teacher input.

You could use this tool:

  • in a broad range of lessons such as text responses in English and production activities in Information Technology subjects because of the way you can structure the assessment in a controlled and detailed approach.

Western Port Secondary College 

This tool was trialled at Western Port Secondary College by Hannah Lewis with Year 8 English and Nola Goodall with Year 9 English.

We used this assessment tool:

  • to provide students with a set of criteria for assessment prior to completing their second draft of a folio piece so that they know what they will be assessed on. I then used these criteria to assess their piece of work. This tool provided the opportunity for me to give them explicit feedback which would also enable them to identify the areas they would need to work on with their next folio piece.

We used the tool in the following way:

Year 8 English

I used this tool twice. Both pieces of writing related to themes identified in the text being studied I one of which was Adeline Yen Mah's autobiography Chinese Cinderella. They also formed part of the students' own autobiographies. The first piece involved students writing about a time when they felt they had been treated unjustly. The second piece was about a time when they felt a sense of loneliness and isolation. We spent time in class evaluating their first drafts and looking specifically at the things they where being assessed on, for example, the ability to engage and sustain the reader's attention, structuring the story into paragraphs and building the tension to a climax and using descriptive language to embellish writing and add interest to the story. The students were given a copy of the assessment criteria before they attempted their second draft so that they had a clear understanding of what they were being assessed on. This rubric was then used by me to assess their work and given back to them with specific feedback.

The results were used as tracking tool. The students were able to identify quite specifically what areas they needed to improve on for their next piece of writing. The assessment rubric was attached to the final draft and put in a binder as part of their portfolio. The portfolio could be shown to parents at parent teacher night to give them an indication of their child's progress and the areas they needed to work on and could also be passed on to their English teacher in 2006.

Year 9 English

The rubric came at the end of a detailed unit on the novel, A Bridge to Wiseman's Cove by James Moloney. Much of the work in this unit involved group responses to the novel although students read the novel individually to begin with. Group members took responsibility for a section of the response for example, characters, plot, key themes and passage analysis. Group members shared their work in their own groups and later between groups in a jigsaw activity (http://www.jigsaw.org/overview.htm). While reading and working on their response students kept a reflective journal. Each person did a short answer test on the novel. Their scores were then pooled as part of the group's total scores. Written work was followed by a group oral presentation which included interviews with key characters, dramatisations etc. Each student was given an assessment sheet to assess their own group's performance and that of another group.

To set up the essay task the class completed a PMI on the novel then generated three possible essay topics they could choose from. At this stage they designed the criteria for the assessment rubric for the essay. The essay was written in draft form in class, collected and read by the teacher, returned with the rubric sheet completed. Using this as a guide students made improvements, typed a good copy and resubmitted for a final mark.

The results of this rubric were one part of a series of teaching and learning activities on this unit of work. Together with the journals and self-assessment sheets, these provided an overview of each student's understanding. They were able to evaluate the unit and show the deeper understanding aimed at by providing a range of activities.

We could improve the usefulness of this tool by:

  • including more specific detail. Instead of the teacher using this as an assessment tool, students could have used it to assess their own and others' work.

You could use this tool:

  • as an assessment tool for any task that is being assessed.

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