This week in Becoming a Better Teacher, chapter five discussed scoring rubrics.
Upon beginning a career in elementary, scoring rubrics were almost non-existent to me. When I went through university and did my practicums in High School English; my professors and mentor teachers both said the same thing to me: “you can just tell what grade a paper should get”. And they were right. Further, the more papers I marker, the more i just “knew” if they should get a 50% or a 95% and so on.
This doesn’t work so well in the elementary classroom. Not only are the kids not handing in papers, I’m also not only teaching one specific subject. Further, students need something to aspire to. They need to know what mark they’re supposed to hit so that they can do their best to actually hit it.
The book discusses the difference between holistic and analytic rubrics, which was the first time in my career I’ve come across the difference on paper and which helped me recognize the fact that my experience as a high school teacher had me using a holistic rubric while my elementary kids need a more black-and-white analytic rubric.
The arguments made for using rubrics indicate that they are beneficial for teachers, who know how to be explicit in giving instructions as they know exactly what they’re looking for through creating the rubric. Further, they allow students to grow and recognize where their work falls on the rubric and what they need to to to get it to the next level. Something I also find beneficial here is including examples of work at each different grade level (this may be difficult for teachers who are just starting out and don’t have student examples or who are pressed for time and cannot create examples for every assignment given, but it is something to strive for over time).
The chapter is nice in that it provides many examples of rubrics and also lays out helpful tips for involving students (and when you shouldn’t involve students) and great advice for creating rubrics for different types of projects and tasks.
If you are interested in buying the book, here’s the link to its page on Amazon!