Single-Point Rubrics = My New Obsession

Making a great rubric is hard, which is why I know many educators opt to find something pre-made they can change a bit to suit their needs or just try and use what they find as is. Rubrics require good backwards design skills and demand a teacher plans with intent, keeping the learner and focus of the learning in mind throughout the process. This means good rubric making, even if ripped from the internet, takes time, which can become disheartening the moment a teacher realizes the rubric falls short of his or her needs. Yet, a rubric can and should be a powerful feedback tool for student and teacher alike. The question, sometimes, is the juice worth the squeeze? How much time and energy can a teacher put into making (or finding) a great rubric? Recently, while on a mission to help my district’s career and technical education teachers with their rubric making, I came across the concept of the single-point rubric via Cult of Pedagogy contributor Jennifer Gonzalez while adventuring on Twitter. Truly, you can go to the link above and get all the information you need on what the rubric is and how you use it, so I will encourage you to visit Jennifer’s post directly.

I simply want to expand on its potential and specifically why this approach to making and using rubrics is powerful in our current standards-driven world of education.

Example of a Single-Point Rubric from Jennifer Gonzalez’s post in Cult of Pedagogy

The single-point rubric is particularly powerful for student goal-setting and self-reflection. As Jarene Fluckiger explains, “The single point rubric is an ethical tool to assist students with their responsibilities of goal setting and self-assessment of their own education.” The beauty lies in its simplicity and focus. Whereas holistic and analytical rubrics can be sprawling, jargon-filled, and light in feedback, the single-point rubric brings a student’s attention directly to what is classified as a proficient demonstration of knowledge or skill with room to provide feedback on where there is excellence and areas of growth. In essence this is easy to read and understand by both student and teacher, and more importantly it is a rubric a student can actually help create and self-monitor with.

Student goal setting is a powerful instructional practice that can feel elusive; I know it did for me at times. This style of rubric gives a practical and tangible means to have students set goals and track progress throughout any assignment in a class. For a teacher, it helps focus on the knowledge and skill needing to be assessed. While there is no limit to the number of criteria a teacher can include, the format of a single-point rubric tends to ask a teacher to be discerning about the criteria to be chosen.

The downside? Well, the rubric demands feedback and reflection, which certainly takes time to write and discuss. But really why even use a rubric if not to help aid and monitor the growth of knowledge and skills where feedback is imperative to achievement? Think of the power in students reflecting on their work using this style rubric paired with the regular feedback a teacher could provide leading up to a finished and revised products.

If I’ve piqued your interest and you want to dabble in using the single-point rubric, click on the link at the beginning for Jennifer’s post where she offers a few downloadable templates. This style of rubric is absolutely the one I will be introducing to the teachers I work with going forward. My hope is to write a follow up post with a genuine review of how the use of the single-point rubric has panned out in my teachers’ classrooms. If you decide to use it in your own classroom, share your story and tweet at me (@theprofjones) or comment on the blog!

Happy rubric making!

Summer PD Series: Collaborative Assessments and Better Rubric Making

My Post

My second round of leading professional development this summer centered on improving career and technical education (CTE) teachers’ approach to rubric creation for various projects and assignments in their classrooms. Today’s post maps out the lesson I used and much like the last post on building relationships with students, explains some of the ‘why’ behind my pedagogical moves.

This post will be of particular interest to anyone interested in accessing a plug-and-play rubric tool and gaining insight into improve a rubrics relevance and specificity to their classroom.

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Freebies!

Actual photo of my class in action. This was during our Summer Summit back in July.

This is a very quick post about a great starting place for project-based learning tools. The Buck Institute is a wonderful organization that has been on the forefront of PBL for quite a long time. I’ve had the privledge of working with a few of their associates in the past, and the link I am sharing today is a just a place to find some great freebies to get started in PBL or to even tweak what you’re already doing.

I was inspired to post this because of a colleague, whom I coach football with, is trying to inject some PBL into his fourth grade classroom. I immediately sent him this link that I’m sharing with you.

Click Here!

You’ll find rubrics, assessment guides, project calendars, task management forms, and plenty of advise!

On an unrelated note, has anyone seen the online tool Minecraft at work? I have a group of students using it currently for a project and I’m impressed with their use of it so far. I’ll be sharing soon what they’ve been up to and give you the skinny on this new, “simplistic” gaming tool in terms of project construction. Stay tuned!