Purpose of a rubric
A rubric is a tabular set of criteria for assessing student knowledge, performance or products, informing the teaching and learning practice. Each line details criteria that are being assessed, each column the expected or achieved quality of learning (depth of understanding, extent of knowledge and sophistication of skill) by the student.
Rubrics are an assessment and reporting tool used to make expectations explicit to students, identify areas that require practice, and for self-assessment purposes (State of Victoria, Department of Education and Training, 2013). Rubrics are used to report learning outcomes to students, parents and carers, and can guide them towards flipped-classroom activities to improve individual results.
Key points in constructing a rubric
Formal grade achievements follow the five letter ratings, where ‘C’ indicates that a student is performing at the standard expected of students in that year group (ACARA, 2012).
Descriptors can be adapted and simplified for formative assessment purposes. The teacher selects aspects that are being assessed (criteria) and describes how achievements will be measured. ‘SMART’ criteria (O’Neill, 2000) (‘S’ – specific, ‘M’ – measurable, ‘A’ – attainable and agreed, ‘R’ – relevant to curriculum, ‘T’ – time-bound which means year-level appropriate) and Bloom’s taxonomy (Anderson, Krathwohl, & Bloom, 2001) can guide this process. Rubrics need to be designed and written in a language accessible to students, parents and carers.
This is an example for a 3-criteria, 3-descriptor rubric Year 6 lesson based on content descriptor ACMMG137 “solve problems involving the comparison of lengths and areas using appropriate units“. It is designed for formative teacher assessment, and to provide students with feedback on how they currently meet expectations and what differentiated homework tasks will help them to improve results.
|‘Area’ conceptual understanding||
Excellent understanding, demonstrated in designing tangram shapes of equal area
Homework: Solve expert puzzles
You can define and explain ‘area’ but need more practice in applying your knowledge
Homework: Watch tangram movie and play more tangram
Your understanding of area needs more practice
|‘Area’ problems with simple units||
You are fluent in generalising any tangram puzzle in terms of parts and multiples of units
Homework: Design a tangram puzzle for the class to solve next lesson
You competently calculate basic areas as parts or multiples of tangram triangles. Practice applying this understanding to more creative tangram figures
Homework: Create figures 1, 3 and 4 and write down the number of small triangles required for each animal head
You can describe the shapes but need more practice to calculate how they relate to each other in terms of ‘area’
Homework: Complete worksheet by writing down the number of small triangles required for each shape
|‘Area’ problems with metric units||
You are fluent in reframing geometric shapes in ways that allow you to calculate their area
Homework: Work on area calculations for more complex shapes in this worksheet
You can calculate areas of simple geometric forms by describing them as parts or multiples of rectangles. Work towards extending your understanding to complex shapes
Homework: Complete area calculation worksheet
You can measure the sides of geometric shapes but need more practice calculating their related ‘areas’
Structuring slides of associated lesson
- Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., & Bloom, B. S. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. Allyn & Bacon.
- Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2012). Australian Curriculum: Assessment & Reporting Information for Parents.
- Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2016). Home/ F-10 Curriculum/ Mathematics.
- Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority. (2016). Learning statement rubrics: Early Years Curriculum Guidelines.
- O’Neill, J. (2000). SMART goals, SMART schools. Educational Leadership, 57(5), 46-50.
- State of Victoria, Department of Education and Training. (2013). Using the Rubric Assessment Tool.