Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Easier grading with rubrics

Anything that can make grading papers more efficient can lessen the stress level for teachers. Grading can be tedious process. Think rubrics! Rubrics are a list of items with points assigned for each one. Each part contributes points to the overall grade. On things like essays, projects, and portfolios, a rubric makes the grading much smoother.

How to make a rubric
You need to come up with a list of things that a student will need to have done to make their paper or project complete. Keep it to a few items, no more than 6 to 7. Write them all down.

You will now try and assign points for each part, with the total being a good number like 100. 100 makes percentages easy to calculate. It helps to write the list in some order. Either from the most important to the least, or the reverse. I like to go from the least important (or lowest points) to the most important.

Then a teacher simply has to decide how many points for each section. Keep an eye on the total up to 100. It may take a few tweaks to get the points distributed just right.

There you have it. An easy way to decide on points and a final grade. It is always a good idea to pass a copy of this rubric out to students so that they know exactly what is expected.

What makes a rubric a good way to grade is this. Let's say you assign an essay or project with no rubric. What determines and A? It becomes more of a judgment call on your part, leaving much to your feelings. That does not always give students a chance to pass. With a rubric, you lessen the student's stress by showing that all students can at least get a passing grade.

Here is a sample rubric for a report.

Title page, your name-5 points
Table of contents-5 points
Minimum 7 pages-5 points
Introduction paragraph-10 points
At least 2 illustrations-10points
Concluding summary paragraph-10 points
Reference page, at least 5 references-10points
Referenced all important points-10 points
Grammar, spelling, coherence-35
____________________________ 100 points total

Please note it is just a sample. The last points, the grammar, spelling, and coherence can be further broken down if you wish. Notice how the points add up to 65 before even reading the whole essay. This gives all students a chance to get a passing grade on the assignment. That is always beneficial to your students. It also cuts down on the students who always do an over-the-top job. You don't want those students to always be the ones to get A's. A rubric will make you a fairer grading teacher.

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