Developing Rubrics for PBL Projects
Active learning situations challenge teachers to determine grades in a way that accurately reflects achievement and that is acceptable to students, parents, and colleagues. Rubrics are guides for assigning scores to alternative assessment products. Rubrics are not a form of assessment but are the criteria for making an assessment. Rubrics encourage clear assessment targets and clear expectations. When a rubric is well defined, learners know exactly what is expected of them and how they may achieve a top grade. Most learners want to excel and will work hard if they believe there is an opportunity for success. They will exert more effort and produce more work to meet clearly expressed expectations for success.
Rubrics are sets of criteria or scoring guides that describe levels of performance or understanding. They provide students with expectations about what will be assessed, standards that need to be met, and information about where students are in relation to where they need to be.
Developing a rubric is a dynamic process. As the goals of instruction become clearer to the teacher, the ability to define ranges and levels of execution within the processes of the active learning experience will make the development of a rubric easier. Some teachers may require a "run-through" before they are ready to finalize a rubric. With unfamiliar content it's OK to write a rubric after the fact and save it for future reference. Even after a rubric is used, it may need modification.
The information below has been provided by Donna Szpyrka and Ellyn B. Smith of Florida's Statewide Systemic Initiative.
Guidelines for Developing a Rubric
- Determine which concepts, skills, or performance standards you are assessing.
- List the concepts and rewrite them into statements that reflect both cognitive and performance components.
- Identify the most important concepts or skills being assessed in the task.
- On the basis of the purpose of the task, determine the number of points to be used for the rubric (example: 4-point scale or 6-point scale).
- Starting with the desired performance, determine the description for each score, remembering to use the importance of each element of the task or performance to determine the score or level of the rubric.
- Compare student work to the rubric. Record the elements that caused you to assign a given rating to the work.
- Revise the rubric descriptions based on performance elements reflected by the student work that you did not capture in your draft rubric.
- Rethink your scale: Does a [ ]-point scale differentiate enough between types of student work to satisfy you?
- Adjust the scale if necessary. Reassess student work and score it against the developing rubric.
Below are links to content-specific rubrics for each of the six modules. We encourage teachers to download these sample rubrics and edit and adapt them to best suit your classroom implementation of each of the ETE-GCC modules. For your convenience these rubrics are in Microsoft Word format.
More Rubric Development Tools
Below are rubric categories that can be easily adapted and expanded for your customized classroom rubrics for assessment of student problem-based learning projects.
Drawing Conclusions (Points):
- 4 Draws a conclusion that is supported by data and gives supporting evidence for the conclusion.
- 2 Draws a conclusion that is supported by data but fails to show any evidence for the conclusion.
- 1 Draws a conclusion that is not supported by data.
- 0 Fails to reach a conclusion.
Cooperative Learning (Points):
- 4 The student actively listens to and values the opinion of others.
- 3 The student actively listens to, but it is not evident that he or she values the opinion of others.
- 2 The student listens to but does not value the opinion of others. OR, the student values the opinion of others but does not listen to them.
- 0 The student does not listen to and does not value the opinion of others.
- 6 The product shows evidence that the student reached valid conclusions based on data analysis and displayed the results of the analysis in appropriate formats.
- 4 The product shows evidence that the student reached valid conclusions based on data analysis but displayed the results of the analysis in inappropriate formats.
- 2 The product shows evidence that the student reached conclusions not based on data analysis and displayed the results of the analysis in appropriate formats. OR, the product shows evidence that the student reached valid conclusions based on data analysis but lacked evidence of the analysis.
- 0 The product shows no evidence of analysis.