This a full-text article about scoring rubrics in an online journal called Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation. The article presents a brief bibliography with citations to some descriptive and instructional sources with the following uses 1) to assist teachers in understanding what scoring rubrics are, and 2) to assist teachers in constructing scoring rubrics for use in classroom assessment. The example provided was created to guide the evaluation of student writing samples in a college classroom. The manner in which this rubric is constructed is general enough that it can be applied to a variety of situations.
Type of Material:
For any teacher, preservice or inservice, who is interested in learning more about scoring rubrics. Instructors teaching about assessment will find this a useful online reference.
No special requirements.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
To learn about scoring different types of scoring rubrics, why they are useful, and how to develop them. The material is appropriate for educators who do not yet know much about rubrics. Links to a great variety of rubrics might be useful as a resource for more advanced research or assessment projects.
Target Student Population:
Students preparing to be teachers and inservice teachers would find this information useful. Faculty wanting a concise description and definition of rubrics might reference this article.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Only simple navigation skills are needed. This brief article is useful mainly to those who are new to scoring rubrics, so little prior knowledge is necessary.
Evaluation and Observation
The author describes scoring rubrics as a pre-defined scheme for the evaluation process that serves to convert the subjectivity involved in evaluating an essay into a more objective process. It describes how to add numerical weights to help teachers or investigators convert qualitative information into quantitative scores. The article explains why scoring rubrics are useful and provides a process for developing scoring rubrics. It suggests that two scorers be used to check and to improve the reliability of the rubric for determining scores. The paper concludes with a description of resources containing examples of the different types of scoring rubrics. These are its strengths. Additional strengths are the clarity of the explanations provided in this short paper, and the support of examples. For instance, the author explains the value of using rubrics over checklists for providing feedback to help students improve, explains some of the main differences between holistic and analytical scoring rubrics, and supports both of these explanations with clear, although brief, examples. Links to other articles by this author and to articles on rubrics and other forms of assessment in ERIC are provided at the top of the page. These links take the user to other well-written, though brief, essays on rubrics. The full citation to this online article is listed, which is a positive for students who may be doing research about rubrics and come upon this article. The concise nature of the content and the links to additional quality resources make this article useful.
This article is quite short and cannot provide the kind of information in detail or with multiple and specific examples for different disciplines that a book about rubrics could provide. Several of the links in the reference list are not working.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
By using this article as a introductory guide or tutorial, groups of teachers should be encouraged to critique or field test existing rubrics or begin to design their own descriptive rubrics based on samples of student work. The article might help students develop their abilities to identify important scoring categories and to recognize the need to work together to evaluate and improve a particular rubric for their scoring objectives. The information is accurate and useful as a brief introduction to scoring rubrics. However, the topic should be amplified by any instructor who assigns it to students. For example, an instructor would need to provide additional examples and information in class, and point students to the vast quantity of other online information about rubrics. Permission is granted to distribute this article for nonprofit, educational purposes if it is copied in its entirety and the journal is credited, which may be helpful to instructors.
While the information that is provided is accurate and useful, it is only an essay in an online journal, so it is therefore limited in its utility to those students who can learn about rubrics by reading about them. One suggestion for enhancing this site would be to change from the html to another file version that makes it easier to format the document for printing and distribution for students to use as a framework for further learning about rubrics. Students may not recognize the importance of the emphasis on transitions and flow of thought that appear in the holistic scale presented as an example. Novice teachers tend to use checklists or focus on isolated scoring categories, but individual category scores may fail to reflect poor over-all quality. Instructors will need to supplement this information for learners who do not learn effectively from text information,
and all learners will need to practice writing and using rubrics to truly understand how to use them effectively.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The concise nature of the content and the quality of the bibliography and the resources in the links makes this material easy to use. It is short enough to read online without having to print it out. There is a window at the top of the page that allows readers to search for titles, authors, key words, and descriptors in other volumes of this online journal. Also, the links to ERIC search engines in a box on the top, right side of the page is useful because keywords relating to scoring rubrics have already been entered and yield a lengthy list of other online resources related to this topic.
Since this article was published in 2000, several of the web links are no longer working. One of the links to an ERIC site yields nothing and appears not to be working.
Other Issues and Comments:
The concise nature of the content and the links to additional quality resources make this article useful. The author?s description of how to develop a rubric is quite clear, if rather generic.