505 – Post #7-Rubrics

Scoring rubrics are descriptive scoring schemes that are developed by teachers or other evaluators to guide the analysis of the products and/or processes of students’ efforts (Brookhart, 1999; Moskal, 2000). Some controversy sourounds the use of rubrics in the classroom, however the majority of educators seem to believe that they are a valuable tool for assessment when designed correctly. Rubrics can be deemed successful when they are both valid and reliable. Validity is assessed by looking closely at content related evidence such as whether or not an assessment is accurately determining a students knowledge of a specific question, or does the question itself pose difficulties which would invalidate the degree to which it assess the students knowledge in that area. Construct related evidence gives an indication in assessment about the reasoning process of an individual when responding to evaluation. In order to be useful, a valid rubric must strive to identify the internal process a learner goes through when responding. “When the purpose of an assessment is to evaluate reasoning, both the product (i.e., the answer) and the process (i.e., the explanation) should be requested and examined” (Brookhart, 1999; Moskal, 2000). Criterion related evidence in rubrics works to assess learning in relation to external factors such as the application of knowledge in “real-world” settings. Like any well designed lesson, a rubric wiht a high validity level should start with clearly define objectives and each element of the assessment should work to define the level of learning within these objectives.
Another criteria for a useful rubric is its reliability. The scoring of a learner should potentially be consistent when applied at any time or by any evaluator. One suggested strategy for increasing reliability id the use of anchor papers which is a reference sheet for raters to use given a set of test responses prior to administering the assessment rubric. If discrepancies exist between responses and raters than the rubric should be revised. This process would be time consuming and perhaps impractical in a busy public school setting, but nonetheless, it would increase reliability.

Like any type of assessment rubrics have their drawbacks. Teachers are human beings and many times it is very difficult to be completely objective during evaluation. In Understanding Scoring Rubrics: A Guide for Teachers, Carol Boston outlines some factors that at play when scoring such as positive-negative leniency error where the evaluator tends to be too hard or too easy on everyone. Personal bias and teacher student relationships should not be a factor in assessment, but human nature is not so easily beaten. Other considerations outlined by Boston are being swayed by the appearance of a document at the expense of assess the content. Length, fatigue, and order effect can also be a factor in altering the validity of an assessment. A well designed rubric should work to eliminate many of these factors, however some detractors suggest that the rubric is too prescriptive and can reduce a process such as writing to something so mechanical and prescribed that it takes away from the process itself. Personally I have, and will continue to use rubrics, especially as a way to establish criteria for learners before they embark on the learning. One successful strategy I have used in the classroom has been to have the students develop the categories and criteria for an assessment part way through a unit once they have had an opportunity to understand some of the content in the area of study.

Here are some samples of the rubrics used in my classroom as created in the website Rubistar:

MyHero Presentation Rubric
MY HERO Project – Website Rubric
Video Production Rubric
Persuasive Writing Rubric
Blog/Discussion Rubric




Moskal, Barbara M. & Jon A. Leydens (2000). Scoring rubric development: validity and reliability. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(10). Retrieved November 1, 2011 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=7&n=10

Boston, Carol (2002). Understanding Scoring Rubrics: A Guide for Teachers. Eric Clearinghouse of Assessment and Evaluation, University of Maryland. College Park, MD.