Grading and Rubrics

Reviews, ideas, or complete lesson plans. Please include the subject and perhaps the appropriate grade level in your subject line.
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Post by shawn »

We recently received a taciturn message from a "Carol Gr." in Spokane expressing interest in grading-rubrics.
Thinking about assessments reminds me of several issues in grading. First, grading should not be what it usually is, a way of comparing one student to another. Instead, it should let a student/parent/teacher know that a student has reached a pre-determined goal appropriate for that student's age and ability.
Second, teaching should be about helping students reach their goals, so it comes naturally that the assessment should match the teaching. If we know that "teaching for the test" takes away from time spent on more valuable pursuits, then we know that the test doesn't measure what's valuable. In the case of a year-long or semester-long course, many goals should be set at the beginning of the course, and the course should allow the student to see their progress and to develop some new goals as the student progresses. To understand this process, try it: Ask your students to decide where they might be in two weeks; set goals, express them in a rubric, like "we will be able to explain how fluorescent lights can have different apparent colors using evidence from our spectroscopes." The more the rubric expresses purposes and methods, the better.
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