Friday, April 15, 2011

AR #7 Scoring Rubric.

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.


  1. Hi,

    You did a really good job reflecting on the entire experience of creating your rubric. I liked the way you started with your comparison of building a bird house from scratch compared to having to build an assessment rubric. You made using iRubric sound pretty easy and I’ll have to check it out further.

    I also enjoyed how you explained the purpose for using a rubric to grade student projects. If I didn’t already know why it is important to use alternative assessment to grade hands-on projects, I do now due to your thorough explanation. I liked your statement which was, “The hands-on activity allows for a broader spectrum of learners and a wide variety of results.”

    Since you are creating a digital storytelling project I can see why you chose the specific components that you did for your rubric. You also did an excellent job explaining how you weighted the different elements on your rubric.

    You had a good idea of incorporating the 25-point value that your students are accustomed to. Continuity is good and makes students feel comfortable. I like the way iRubric calculates the score when you input the points.

    As you emphasized, rubrics give students a clear picture of what their teachers would like them to accomplish. You also make a very good point when you said, “I could use this project multiple times and focus on specific elements of the story.” Again that is another good example of continuity and familiarity that can help students feel confident with completing the projects they are assigned.

    It sounds like you clearly understand how rubrics should be created and used. I enjoyed reading your post, and best of luck in completing our course.

    :-) Ruth

  2. I also used iRubric and LOVED it! I too felt it was easy to add columns that I needed and insert the requirements for each point opportunity. Did you feel that creating this rubric really made you have to analyze your work and what you expected of students? I enjoy grading students using this type of alternative assessment. It allows students the opportunity to create and share their ideas while demonstrating their knowledge of a topic, which in return covers more standards than any pencil and paper assessment. This type of assessment ventures into real life experiences and essentially that is what we are training them for...real life.