Introduction to Rubrics, Chapter Six: Grading with Rubrics
In this chapter, the authors discuss several ways that rubrics improve and speed up grading, depending on the type of rubric used. This is the part of the process that I have struggled with and already I have some good ideas about how to improve the use of rubrics. I am interested in learning about how points and grades can and should best be attached to rubrics.
The first thing rubrics can do is make grading more consistent and fair. This book calls this establishing “performance anchors” (73). I laughed when the authors talked about the ways we, as graders, get through papers, by giving ourselves treats, by plowing through in marathon sessions without thinking, by counting and dividing classes into sections. I have done all of these things (I’ve even been known to clean the house—a chore I detest—to avoid grading a pile of papers) to make grading papers more manageable, but rubrics might make grading less of a chore if constructed and used well.
Probably the most useful aspect of rubrics is “providing detailed, formative feedback” (73). By using the three to five level rubric, instructors can avoid writing the same comments on student assignments over and over (nice introduction, thesis needs to be more specific, passive voice problems, need to tie ideas back to thesis, etc). These elements are already in the rubric, so the instructor can just check or circle them, giving students the same feedback but in a more consistent and organized manner. The authors do discuss two methods of using the three to five level rubric—with check boxes and just circling elements. Although creating the check boxes takes a little more time, it seems more useful and organized. For online grading, instructors could use highlighting instead of circling.
Scoring rubrics are also useful and time saving if the students are already pretty proficient in their work. By giving only the highest level of achievement and then room for comments, these scoring rubrics allow students to know the expectations of the assignment and give the instructor opportunity to add individual feedback. However, if the student does have trouble with the final assignment, the scoring rubric doesn’t save much time because the comments are numerous.
The last part of rubric use is, of course, grading. The authors discuss the benefits and pitfalls of assigning points to a rubric. They give a great example of a scoring rubric using points, which makes the grade quite clear to the student and makes grading a simple exercise for the instructor. However, they also talk about the problems with assigning points to rubrics –that students may nitpick over the points in a certain section or want to argue their grade more. They make a good point that before using rubrics, most instructors just gave comments and a grade—much less feedback and organization than a rubric. I think that involving students in weighing the dimensions of a rubric could help with this. If students are invested in the process of creating the rubric, they may not challenge it as much. I will have to try a couple of different ways and see what results in the most improvement. I have always been a pretty holistic grader, but sometimes I find it useful to break down the grade more clearly for me and my students. It can depend on the assignment. In my poem assignments in creative writing, I think assigning points will actually make the grading clearer and more fair—same with a major research paper. I’m not so sure about other assignments like composition I papers, especially the final exam. Even if points are not included in the rubric, students and instructors can usually tell the quality of the paper from the number of checks or circles in each level. For example, if the student has many more checks in the “excellent” category than any other, that is clearly an A paper. Same if the most checks are in the middle category, etc.
The last part of this chapter talks about a really interesting use of rubrics, one I had not considered: evaluating ourselves as instructors. Examples are given of ways to use a rubric to check how students did on assignments as a class, so instructors can track problems and provide ideas for how to improve performance next time. I’d like to try this—it could really improve how I present assignments in the future. The process involves a simple scoring rubric that checks off how students did in each dimension and element overall. This could be done while grading, and then the results will be done when the grading is done. Nice idea! The authors also discuss using a “metarubric” (93) to evaluate the rubric itself. Interesting idea if the rubric doesn’t seem to be working, but time consuming otherwise.
Based on these ideas, I have revised my poem one rubric to include point values.
TASK DESCRIPTION: Length: At least 10 lines.
Poem should be typed in word processing program and saved as an RTF (Rich Text Format) file.
Document should be named: yourlastname_poem1 (for example: swing_poem1)
Poem should have heading in upper left corner with your name, class, date and the assignment (poem one). Title of the poem should be left-justified before the first line of the poem.
Write a new poem, using at least four of the techniques described in Lesson Six. The poem does not have to rhyme, but it can.
The poem should include at least four of the following elements: an end-stopped line, a run-on line, an enjambed line, an original metaphor, an original simile.
|DIMENSIONS||Excellent||Competent||Developing||Comments and points|
|□ Includes the required poetry elements of the assignment (four of the following elements: an end-stopped line, a run-on line, an enjambed line, an original metaphor, an original simile.)
□ Ideas/themes in the poem are enhanced by the poetic techniques
□ Poem uses grammar and punctuation purposely (if rules of standard written English are not followed, there should be clear poetic reasons)
|□ Includes three of the four required poetry elements of the assignment (four of the following elements: an end-stopped line, a run-on line, an enjambed line, an original metaphor, an original simile.)
□ Ideas/themes in the poem are not clearly enhanced by the poetic techniques; the poetic elements seem used only because the assignment requires them
□ Poem uses grammar and punctuation purposely (if rules of standard written English are not followed, there should be clear poetic reasons) although there may be some small errors in English usage or confusion about the use of grammar, capitalization, or punctuation
|□ Does not include all of the required poetry elements of the assignment (four of the following elements: an end-stopped line, a run-on line, an enjambed line, an original metaphor, an original simile.)
□ Ideas/themes in the poem are not enhanced by the poetic techniques; they do not connect clearly
□ Poem does not use standard English usage at all and there is not clear reason for errors in grammar, spelling or punctuation use
|□ Word choices in the poem are original, precise, and thoughtful,
□ Poem shows the author’s style and point of view clearly and in an original manner
□ Poem has a meaningful title
|□ Word choices in the poem are clear, but may lack originality or precision
□ Poem has a style and point of view but it may be inconsistent or vague at times
□ Poem has a title, but it may be over general or not contribute to the theme or ideas in the poem clearly
|□ Word choices in the poem are clichéd, vague, or seem forced and rushed
□ Poem does not have a clear original style or point of view
□ Poem has no title
|□ Poem has a clear structure, possibly using stanzas or other means (like rhyme) to develop and connect ideas in an organized manner
□ Poem uses line lengths purposefully and consistently to enhance meaning in the poem
□ Poem uses rhythm purposefully and consistently in the poem
|□ Poem has an attempt at structure, but it may be inconsistent to unorganized
□ Poem has clear lines but may have inconsistent line lengths for no clear poetic reasons or the lines may not connect clearly to the ideas in the poem
□ Poem has a rhythm but it is inconsistent and possibly awkward in places
|□ Poem does not have a clear structure or organization
□ The poem’s lines are broken in unclear ways and may create confusion in ideas and theme
□ Poem has awkward and inconsistent rhythm (try reading the poem aloud to hear where the rhythm is awkward or changes unnecessarily )
|□ Paper has correct heading and formatting,
□ Poem is submitted in the dropbox correctly (with correct file name and in RTF or Microsoft word formatting)
□ The poem was submitted on time
|□ Paper has heading and formatting although there may be some errors
□ Poem is submitted in the dropbox but the file was labeled incorrectly or the file format was not RTF or Microsoft Word
□ The poem was submitted on time
|□ Paper has no heading and/or errors in formatting
□ Poem is submitted in the dropbox incorrectly (without correct file name and/or in an unreadable word processing format)
□ The poem was submitted late
|Total Points: 25||Grade:|