The Rubric

Every assignment or activity you assign your students should have a DIRECT AND CLEAR link to an expectation listed in the course curriculum. You may be assessing a student’s ability to meet an overall or specific expectation under each strand. This is the basic requirement for all planning we do.

curriculm 1

This will bring us the to next point in our assessment: assessment by expectation. Our mark-books should have clear connections between a student’s success in individual expectations. A parent should be able to see that a student has difficulty with the skills strand History A1 but can meet the criteria to master expectations associated to B1, B2, C2, D2, etc. Many teachers aren’t doing this yet, but it’s coming.

Ideally, according to the Ministry of Education, students do not receive a letter or numerical grade for their work. Their achievement is based on their ability to meet a series of normative steps representing the ‘typical’ student. Growing Success identifies the following criteria in each level of achievement. These are then tied (in practice) to percentage equivalents (I have added these).

Levels of Achievement
The achievement chart also identifies four levels of achievement, defined as follows:

Level 1 (50 – 59 %) represents achievement that falls much below the provincial standard. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with limited effectiveness. Students must work at significantly improving learning in specific areas, as necessary, if they are to be successful in the next grade/course

Level 2(60 – 69 %)represents achievement that approaches the provincial standard. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with some effectiveness. Students performing at this level need to work on identified learning gaps to ensure future success.

Level 3(70 – 79 %) represents the provincial standard for achievement [emphasis added]. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with considerable effectiveness. Parents of students achieving at level 3 can be confident that their children will be prepared for work in subsequent grades/courses.

Level 4(80 – 100 %) identifies achievement that surpasses the provincial standard. The student demonstrates  the specified knowledge and skills with a high degree of effectiveness. However, achievement at level 4 does not mean that the student has achieved expectations beyond those specified for the grade/course.

Specific “qualifiers” are used with the descriptors in the achievement chart to describe student performance at each of the four levels of achievement – the qualifier limited is used for level 1; some for level 2; considerable for level 3; and a high degree of or thorough for level 4. Hence, achievement at level 3 in the Thinking category for the criterion “use of planning skills” would be described in the achievement chart as “[The student] uses planning skills with considerable effectiveness”. (p 18)

These levels then form the basis of the ALMIGHTY RUBRIC.

According to Growing Success, students are to be assessed on their mastery of a subject through a series of CATEGORIES OF KNOWLEDGE.

The categories, defined by clear criteria, represent four broad areas of knowledge and skills within which the expectations for any given subject/course can be organized.  (pg 17)

Your job, as the teacher, is to plan units, activities and assessments (over the duration of the course) connecting the curricular expectations to these categories of knowledge.  This can be accomplished through the rubric.

Steps for a good Rubric:

1) Identify your curricular expectations (you would have used these in planning the activity/assessment)

2) Select the most appropriate Category (or Categories) of Knowledge which suit the planned activity. Are your students demonstrating mastery of facts (K/U) or are they applying information to new contexts (Application).

3) Decide on how extensive your rubric must be. I consider the time it will take students to do the assessment and make the rubric a relative size (short = small rubric, massive assignment = giant rubric, etc).

That said, even though there may be mulitple stages to the task, perhaps you’re only going to assess the Thinking/Inquiry elements. Even though they used facts (K/U) and are orally presenting the information (Communication), you may be only interested in determining their mastery of the inquiry process or their creative thinking skills (T/I).

4) Create your table with the criteria for success on the left and the levels of achievement across the top.

The rubric above assesses achievement in both Knowledge/Understanding and Application. The author elected to avoid using written descriptions of the levels of achievement and opted for numbers to simply for the visuals for a grade 10 Applied History student.

The author of the rubric below used words to describe expectations.

Check out the examples in this document. Rubric Examples

Happy Building!


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