A rubric to grade? What’s that?
As I first glanced at my assignment this week I saw a rubric, which seemed logical in terms of the order of activities we have been creating in our technology class. But I was not looking forward to it because I assumed that we would be using Microsoft Excel. There isn’t anything wrong with that, except you have to build from the ground up. As building a bird house from one piece of wood, and having to cut and sand each piece. But a great website was offered to us called iRubric, which is part of the Rcampus website. This is like having a kit to make what you need for your birdhouse ready to take out of the box and just put it together. IRubric was better that I could have expected, there were elements that I could add rows and columns just as if it were an Excel project. The other great features were placing percentages and setting points, which in turn can be quickly clicked on in order to grade an assignment.
By now you’re probably wondering what the purpose is for using a rubric to grade projects. This type of assignment is considered hands-on and using alternative assessment is the preferred method for grading a project that is hands-on. In contrast some traditional assessments are usually the plan old tests that require just basic questions that have to be answered. This type of assessment evaluates the performance of students to follow directions and complete tasks. The hands-on activity allows for a broader spectrum of learners and a wider variety of results. The point of a rubric is to assess the core elements are completed and allows for the creative part to be endless. This type of assessment is usually given to students before they start the project so that they can center their work on what the overall goal is for completing the project, in the eyes of the teacher.
I started with adding enough rows and columns to accommodate what I needed to be assessed. I made categories with a weighted percentage that equals one hundred percent. The reason behind this was because it is common practice for grading scales to be based on a 0-100% scale. I chose the story map components and plot to be the most important so I weighted them the heaviest. I felt that without these goals being met a summary on a book just wouldn’t make sense. I chose sequence of events as an important concept because the summary needs to be in order to make sense. Also, students need to be accountable for their mastery of technology as another key category because the technology was taught to them and I needed show their abilities to use technology correctly. I finally felt as this was a language project that conventions needed to be correct in order to fit in the “well above average” category.
I then chose a 5 point scale across for each of the above categories to show their level of mastery. Since the percentages alone can be confusing to most. I decided that a completely correct project would be worth 25 points, which is the normal point value that I use for class work. The best part was that using the iRubric site I can just click and the score can be calculated in points and a percentage.
This project showed me how far Excel is away from some teacher made websites for rubrics. As I thought I was going to start from a blank Excel sheet, the iRubric site made my task much more productive and successful. As I went through and reviewed my rubric I felt that it was a bit overbearing but remembering the writing rubrics that we use I thought this made a clear picture to what I wanted students to accomplish. I felt by simply using the rubric an above average grade could be obtainable. I think that this clearly shows my expectations and will help students to maintain the quality of their project. I think some improvements on the rubric would be to downsize. I could use this project multiple times and focus on specific elements of the story. Instead of focusing on all elements I could assess which elements needed to be worked on by students and have students use Prezi to practice the skills that they needed work on. Overall I enjoyed the project and was pleased with the results.