Rubric, a teacher’s ultimate sidekick

Rubrics work well to ensure constructive feedback provided by students because they clarify expectations for both targets and quality with students and assist in three major teacher activities – improving output, grading assessments and communicating project requirements to the students.

A rubric has rows of criteria that clearly describe how students will be assessed on a particular project. And it has columns of scores and how those scores are assigned. A good rubric must have criteria that are uni-dimensional, so students and raters know exactly what the expectations are. One main benefit of aligning and clearly stating expectations is that it creates transparency in grading; grades will seem less arbitrary if students can see what grades are based upon especially important in peer grading.

The Robin to your Batman

This post is not about the importance of a rubric or how to make one – there are a lot of resources that are only a Google scholar search away. Instead, this post is taking the use of a rubric to the next level and making it your ultimate sidekick.

Using the rubric functionality within FeedbackFruits tools has the potential to drastically improve the way teachers organise and evaluate peer learning activities. Here are some compelling benefits of using them together:

  • Scalability of constructive feedback – A rubric that works has the potential to be reused for other courses, learning activities and assessments. FeedbackFruits tools allow such a rubric to be copied after necessary customisation. By doing this, a teacher is able to scale constructive feedback beyond just one assessment.
  • Combining qualitative with quantitative feedback – Rubrics as part of these tools give more than just quantitative feedback, which is generally what the rubric is designed for. By giving the teachers the option to force reviewers to justify the score with a mandatory comment, students are more likely to reflect on the rubric criteria supporting it with a qualitative example. 
  • Spot common errors or misconceptions through a “heatmap’ – One review based on the rubric criteria  shows how one peer has assessed another and the areas that need attention according to the reviewer. But when a teacher has an accumulated view on all reviews, that heat map enables them to spot patterns and trends in the class. By using this feature, the teacher can adjust their teaching methodologies and focus areas accordingly. 
  • Spot socially acceptable behaviour – A common by-product of peer to peer learning is the bias that comes with displaying socially acceptable behaviour – in other words, giving a higher score to not offend their peers. By having a heatmap of the entire class, the teacher is able to pin-point those students who are showing such behaviour based on obvious deviation from the class scores.

A compatible partnership

These features of using a rubric with the tools in our suite create the perfect partnership between the teacher and the students where together they are able to co-create knowledge.

We would love to hear about how you use rubrics in your courses – let us know in the comments below.

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