By Teachers, For Teachers
Rubrics are a well-accepted, even transformative tool for assessing student knowledge over a breadth of criteria. Their deep granular detail enables students to quickly understand what is expected of them, teachers to receive critical feedback on student learning, and both sides to benefit from an agile yet objective tool for measuring workflow competency.
But they are not without their problems. The pre-online versions weren't dynamic or flexible, couldn't be reused, and few teachers had the time or energy to build these summative, purpose-built assessments.
That changed with online technology in the classroom rubrics. These webtools offer standard topical text that can be quickly personalized, saved for re-use in the future, and easily updated year-to-year to reflect changes in the technology in the classroom curriculum and desired learning outcomes.
There are many online rubric creators, each with a little different twist on the norm. Here are three that fill different needs. Decide which works the best for you.
Rubistar is the gold standard of online rubric creators. It lets teachers personalize categories and qualifications, save, and then edit for another class. You can use the site rubric templates or modify them to better serve your particular needs. Rubrics can be created in English or Spanish, in ten different subject areas, with ten or more skill categories (this varies depending upon the subject chosen).
Here's how it works:
Rubistar is invaluable in creating personalized, quick rubrics that are easily edited for varied needs. For registered users, there's a vast library of rubrics created by members that can be used. Teachers can also use the rubric to evaluate student performance. For example, if a third of students scored poorly on “Diagrams” in the math rubric, the teacher knows immediately this is an area that requires review.
The site is intuitive, clear, and virtually ad-free. This means students (grades 7+) can create their own rubrics to evaluate what they see as critical criteria in a project. But: There are no education accounts, so each student must create their own.
Quick Rubric is exactly what its name implies -- a quick, intuitive way to create rubrics on any subject. Every piece is customizable from the categories to the content to the scoring. Once created, they can be saved, printed, and edited with ease. There's virtually no learning curve: Quick Rubrics uses the same tools, toolbars, and functions most teachers I know are familiar with. Nothing new to learn. Just click, type, and finish.
Here's how it works:
If you're new to rubrics, Quick Rubrics includes tips on what exactly a rubric is and how to build them effectively. There just isn't an easier way to create a rubric.
By the time teachers have written the lesson plan, reviewed it with the grade-level team, and revised all the pieces that weren't quite right, all stakeholders have likely run out of energy. The thought of building a rubric -- though critical if students are to understand expectations -- is one step too many. With Quick Rubric, all you need to do is translate expectations to criteria and then record the evidence students are expected to provide in demonstrating their knowledge.
When a lesson plan changes, simply update the rubric. If you're teaching variations on one topic, copy the master rubric and tweak it. There's no limit to the number of rubrics that can be saved to a free account.
Best news: The easy-to-maneuver layout and clean design make this rubric creator fun to use.
Essay Tagger's Common Core Rubric Creation Tool is an easy way to create rubrics that address exactly the Common Core Standards important to you. You select the standards and let the predefined criteria (with adjustments you build in) evaluate and share the results in an easy-to-read format. It's completely web-based, no software install, which means it works on all platforms. When students submit their work, Essay Tagger adds them to your roster automatically in preparation to grading. The teacher dashboard includes all student essay submittals, graded assignments, and cumulative analytics showing the strengths and weaknesses based on criteria you establish.
Here's how it works:
This is the only webtool I found that enables teachers to not only create the rubric online, but use it digitally to assess student work. Since I try to model the paper-free environment I preach, this is a huge plus.
Essay Tagger not only evaluates student work based on pre-loaded categories and norms, but allows you to add comments and thoughts -- just as you would if you were hand-grading.
A few areas I wish Keith Mukai (the teacher-inventor of Essay Tagger) would change: The document can only include text (no images, links, or tables), and the only acceptable formats are .doc, .docx, and .txt.
Overall, Essay Tagger is a great approach to digitally-grading student work and quickly differentiating for varied needs.
There you have it -- three practical strategies to minimize your work while maximizing the agility of your classroom assessments. Which works best for you? Or -- if not these -- what do you use?
More on Assessment:
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.