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Assignment 1

Read Chapter 1, 2 and Chapter 3 (ATTACHED) Write your reflections by selecting an idea from the reading, describing your thoughts and feelings about it (Total of 1and 1/2 FULL Pages half-page per Chapter)

Assignment 2

Read Chapter 4, 5 and Chapter 6 (ATTACHED) Write your reflections by selecting an idea from the reading, describing your thoughts and feelings about it (Total of 1 and 1/2 FULL Pages half-page per Chapter)

Assignment 3

Read Chapter 7, 8 and Chapter 9 (ATTACHED) Write your reflections by selecting an idea from the reading, describing your thoughts and feelings about it (Total of 1 and 1/2 FULL Pages half-page per Chapter)

Assignment 4

Read Chapter 10 and Chapter 11 (ATTACHED) Write your reflections by selecting an idea from the reading, describing your thoughts and feelings about it (Total of 1 FULL Pages half-page per Chapter) 

                                       Book Reference:

Brookhart, S. M. (2013). How to create and use rubrics for formative assessment and grading. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

3

1
What Are Rubrics and

Why Are They Important?

The word rubric comes from the Latin word for red. The online Merriam‑Webster
dictionary lists the first meaning of rubric as “an authoritative rule” and the fourth
meaning as “a guide listing specific criteria for grading or scoring academic papers,
projects, or tests.” How did the name for a color come to mean a rule or guide? At least
as far back as the Middle Ages, the rules for the conduct of liturgical services—as
opposed to the actual spoken words of the liturgy—were often printed in red, so the
rules were “the red things” on the page.

In this book, I will show that rubrics for
classroom use are both more and less than the
dictionary definition suggests. They are more
because rubrics are good for much more than
just grading or scoring. They are less because
not just any set of rules or guides for student
work are rubrics. This first chapter lays out some
basic concepts about rubrics. Chapter 2 illus‑
trates common misconceptions about rubrics,
and Chapter 3 describes how to write or select effective rubrics.

Self-ReflectIon

What is your current view of rubrics? Write down

what you know about them and what experiences

you have had using them. Save this reflection to

compare with a similar reflection after you have

read this book.

Brookhart, S. M. (2013). How to create and use rubrics for formative assessment and grading. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
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4 | How to Create and Use Rubrics

What is a rubric?

A rubric is a coherent set of criteria for students’ work that includes descriptions of levels
of performance quality on the criteria. Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, this
definition of rubric is rarely demonstrated in practice. The Internet, for example, offers
many rubrics that do not, in fact, describe performance. I think I know why that might
be and will explain that in Chapter 2, but for now let’s start with the positive. It should be
clear from the definition that rubrics have two major aspects: coherent sets of criteria and
descriptions of levels of performance for these criteria.

The genius of rubrics is that they are descriptive and not evaluative. Of course,
rubrics can be used to evaluate, but the operating principle is you match the perfor‑
mance to the description rather than “judge” it. Thus rubrics are as good or bad as the
criteria selected and the descriptions of the levels of performance under each. Effective
rubrics have appropriate criteria and well‑written descriptions of performance.

What is the purpose of rubrics?

Like any other evaluation tool, rubrics are useful for certain purposes and not for
others. The main purpose of rubrics is to assess performances. For some performances,
you observe the student in the process of doing something, like using an electric drill or
discussing an issue. For other performances, you observe the product that is the result
of the student’s work, like a finished bookshelf or a written report. Figure 1.1 lists some
common kinds of school performances that can be assessed with rubrics. This list by no
means covers every possible school performance. It is just meant to help you think of
the types of performances you might assess with rubrics.

This list is not meant to suggest what your students should perform. State stan‑
dards, curriculum goals, and instructional goals and objectives are the sources for what
types of performances your students should be able to do. When the intended learning
outcomes are best indicated by performances—things students would do, make, say,
or write—then rubrics are the best way to assess them. Notice that the performances
themselves are not learning outcomes. They are indicators of learning outcomes. Except
in unusual cases, any one performance is just a sample of all the possible performances
that would indicate an intended learning outcome. Chapters 2 and 3 cover this point
in greater detail. For now, know that the purpose of the list in Figure 1.1 is to describe
some of these performances, so you can recognize them as performances and as

Brookhart, S. M. (2013). How to create and use rubrics for formative assessment and grading. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
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What Are Rubrics and Why Are They Important? | 5

suitable for using rubrics, when they are appropriate indicators of your goals for student
learning.

About the only kinds of schoolwork that do not function well with rubrics are ques‑
tions with right or wrong answers. Test items or oral questions in class that have one
clear correct answer are best assessed as right or wrong. However, even test items that
have degrees of quality of performance, where you want to observe how appropriately,
how completely, or how well a question was answered, can be assessed with rubrics.

Rubrics give structure to observations. Matching your observations of a student’s
work to the descriptions in the rubric averts the rush to judgment that can occur in
classroom evaluation situations. Instead of judging the performance, the rubric describes
the performance. The resulting judgment of quality based on a rubric therefore also
contains within it a description of performance that can be used for feedback and
teaching. This is different from a judgment of quality from a score or a grade arrived at
without a rubric. Judgments without descriptions stop the action in a classroom.

figure 1.1 types of Performances that can Be Assessed with Rubrics

Type of Performance Examples

Processes
• Physical skills
• Use of equipment
• Oral communication
• Work habits

• Playing a musical instrument
• Doing a forward roll
• Preparing a slide for the microscope
• Making a speech to the class
• Reading aloud
• Conversing in a foreign language
• Working independently

Products
• Constructed objects
• Written essays, themes, reports, term papers
• Other academic products that demonstrate

understanding of concepts

• Wooden bookshelf
• Set of welds
• Handmade apron
• Watercolor painting
• Laboratory report
• Term paper on theatrical conventions in

Shakespeare’s day
• Written analysis of the effects of the

Marshall Plan
• Model or diagram of a structure (atom,

flower, planetary system, etc.)
• Concept map

Brookhart, S. M. (2013). How to create and use rubrics for formative assessment and grading. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
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6 | How to Create and Use Rubrics

What are the advantages and
disadvantages of different types of rubrics?

Rubrics are usually categorized by two different aspects of their composition. One is
whether the rubric treats the criteria one at a time or together. The other is whether the
rubric is general and could be used with a family of similar tasks or is task‑specific and
only applicable to one assessment. Figure 1.2 describes the different types of rubrics
and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Analytic and holistic rubrics

Analytic rubrics describe work on each criterion separately. Holistic rubrics describe
the work by applying all the criteria at the same time and enabling an overall judgment
about the quality of the work. The top panel of Figure 1.2 defines analytic and holistic
rubrics and lists advantages and disadvantages for each.

For most classroom purposes, analytic rubrics are best. Focusing on the criteria one
at a time is better for instruction and better for formative assessment because students
can see what aspects of their work need what kind of attention. Focusing on the criteria
one at a time is good for any summative assessment (grading) that will also be used to
make decisions about the future—for example, decisions about how to follow up on a
unit or decisions about how to teach something next year.

One classroom purpose for which holistic rubrics are better than analytic rubrics
is the situation in which students will not see the results of a final summative assess‑
ment and you will not really use the information for anything except a grade. Some high
school final examinations fall into this category. Grading with rubrics is faster when
there is only one decision to make, rather than a separate decision for each criterion.

On balance, for most classroom purposes I recommend analytic rubrics. There‑
fore, most of the examples in this book will be analytic rubrics. Before we leave holistic
rubrics, however, I want to reemphasize the important point that all the criteria are used
in holistic rubrics. You consider them together, but you don’t boil down the evaluation to
the old “excellent‑good‑fair‑poor” kind of thinking along one general “judgment” dimen‑
sion. True holistic rubrics are still rubrics; that is, they are based on criteria for good
work and on observation of how the work meets those criteria.

Brookhart, S. M. (2013). How to create and use rubrics for formative assessment and grading. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
Created from amridge on 2022-02-20 04:59:11.

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What Are Rubrics and Why Are They Important? | 7

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co
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Brookhart, S. M. (2013). How to create and use rubrics for formative assessment and grading. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
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8 | How to Create and Use Rubrics

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Brookhart, S. M. (2013). How to create and use rubrics for formative assessment and grading. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
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What Are Rubrics and Why Are They Important? | 9

General and task-specific rubrics

General rubrics use criteria and descriptions of performance that generalize across
(hence the name general rubrics), or can be used with, different tasks. The tasks all have
to be instances of the same learning outcome—for example, writing or mathematics
problem solving. The criteria point to aspects of the learning outcome and not to fea‑
tures of any one specific task (for example, criteria list characteristics of good problem
solving and not features of the solution to a specific problem). The descriptions of per‑
formance are general, so students learn general qualities and not isolated, task‑specific
features (for example, the description might say all relevant information was used to
solve the problem, not that the numbers of knives, forks, spoons, and guests were used
to solve the problem). Task-specific rubrics are pretty well described by their name: They
are rubrics that are specific to the performance task with which they are used. Task‑
specific rubrics contain the answers to a problem, or explain the reasoning students
are supposed to use, or list facts and concepts students are supposed to mention. The
bottom panel of Figure 1.2 defines general and task‑specific rubrics and lists advantages
and disadvantages for each.

Why use general rubrics? General rubrics have several advantages over task‑
specific rubrics. General rubrics

• Can be shared with students at the beginning of an assignment, to help them plan
and monitor their own work.

• Can be used with many different tasks, focusing the students on the knowledge and
skills they are developing over time.

• Describe student performance in terms that allow for many different paths to
success.

• Focus the teacher on developing students’ learning of skills instead of task
completion.

• Do not need to be rewritten for every assignment.

Let’s look more closely at the first two advantages.
Can be shared with students at the beginning of an assignment. General rubrics do not

“give away answers” to questions. They do not contain any information that the stu‑
dents are supposed to be developing themselves. Instead, they contain descriptions like
“Explanation of reasoning is clear and supported with appropriate details.” Descriptions
like this focus students on what their learning target is supposed to be (for example,
explaining reasoning clearly, with appropriate supporting details). They clarify for

Brookhart, S. M. (2013). How to create and use rubrics for formative assessment and grading. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
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10 | How to Create and Use Rubrics

students how to approach the assignment (for example, in solving the problem posed,
I should make sure to explicitly focus on why I made the choices I did and be able to
explain that). Therefore, over time general rubrics help students build up a concept of
what it means to perform a skill well (for example, effective problem solving requires
clear reasoning that I can explain and support).

Can be used with many different tasks. Because general rubrics focus students on the
knowledge and skills they are learning rather than the particular task they are complet‑
ing, they offer the best method I know for preventing the problem of “empty rubrics”
that will be described in Chapter 2. Good general rubrics will, by definition, not be task
directions in disguise, or counts of surface features, or evaluative rating scales.

Because general rubrics focus students on the knowledge and skills they are sup‑
posed to be acquiring, they can and should be used with any task that belongs to the
whole domain of learning for those learning outcomes. Of course, you never have an
opportunity to give students all of the potential tasks in a domain—you can’t ask them to
write every possible essay about characterization, solve every possible problem involv‑
ing slope, design experiments involving every possible chemical solvent, or describe
every political takeover that was the result of a power vacuum.

These sets of tasks all indicate important knowledge and skills, however, and they
develop over time and with practice. Essay writing, problem solving, experimental design,
and the analysis of political systems are each important skills in their respective disci‑
plines. If the rubrics are the same each time a student does the same kind of work, the stu‑
dent will learn general qualities of good essay writing, problem solving, and so on. If the
rubrics are different each time the student does the same kind of work, the student will
not have an opportunity to see past the specific essay or problem. The general approach
encourages students to think about building up general knowledge and skills rather than
thinking about school learning in terms of getting individual assignments done.

Why use task-specific rubrics? Task‑specific rubrics function as “scoring direc‑
tions” for the person who is grading the work. Because they detail the elements to look
for in a student’s answer to a particular task, scoring students’ responses with task‑
specific rubrics is lower‑inference work than scoring students’ responses with general
rubrics. For this reason, it is faster to train raters to reach acceptable levels of scoring
reliability using task‑specific rubrics for large‑scale assessment. Similarly, it is easier for
teachers to apply task‑specific rubrics consistently with a minimum of practice. General
rubrics take longer to learn to apply well.

Brookhart, S. M. (2013). How to create and use rubrics for formative assessment and grading. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
Created from amridge on 2022-02-20 04:59:11.

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What Are Rubrics and Why Are They Important? | 11

However, the reliability advantage is temporary (one can learn to apply general
rubrics well), and it comes with a big downside. Obviously, task‑specific rubrics are use‑
ful only for scoring. If students can’t see the rubrics ahead of time, you can’t share them
with students, and therefore task‑specific rubrics are not useful for formative assess‑
ment. That in itself is one good reason not to use them except for special purposes. Task‑
specific rubrics do not take advantage of the most powerful aspects of rubrics—their
usefulness in helping students to conceptualize their learning targets and to monitor
their own progress.

Why are rubrics important?

Rubrics are important because they clarify for students the qualities their work
should have. This point is often expressed in terms of students understanding the learn‑
ing target and criteria for success. For this reason, rubrics help teachers teach, they help
coordinate instruction and assessment, and they help students learn.

Rubrics help teachers teach

To write or select rubrics, teachers need to focus on the criteria by which learning
will be assessed. This focus on what you intend students to learn rather than what you
intend to teach actually helps improve instruction. The common approach of “teaching
things,” as in “I taught the American Revolution” or “I taught factoring quadratic equa‑
tions,” is clear on content but not so clear on outcomes. Without clarity on outcomes,
it’s hard to know how much of various aspects of the content to teach. Rubrics help with
clarity of both content and outcomes.

Really good rubrics help teachers avoid confusing the task or activity with the
learning goal, and therefore confusing completion of the task with learning. Rubrics
help keep teachers focused on criteria, not tasks. I have already discussed this point in
the section about selecting criteria. Focusing rubrics on learning and not on tasks is the
most important concept in this book. I will return to it over and over. It seems to be a
difficult concept—or probably a more accurate statement is that focusing on tasks is so
easy and so seductive that it becomes the path many busy teachers take. Penny‑wise and
pound‑foolish, such an approach saves time in the short run by sacrificing learning in
the long run.

Brookhart, S. M. (2013). How to create and use rubrics for formative assessment and grading. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
Created from amridge on 2022-02-20 04:59:11.

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12 | How to Create and Use Rubrics

Rubrics help coordinate instruction and assessment

Most rubrics should be designed for repeated use, over time, on several tasks. Stu‑
dents are given a rubric at the beginning of a unit of instruction or an episode of work.
They tackle the work, receive feedback, practice, revise or do another task, continue to
practice, and ultimately receive a grade—all using the same rubric as their description
of the criteria and the quality levels that will demonstrate learning. This path to learning
is much more cohesive than a string of assignments with related but different criteria.

Rubrics help students learn

The criteria and performance‑level descriptions in rubrics help students understand
what the desired performance is and what it looks like. Effective rubrics show students
how they will kn

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