May 04, 2021
4 mins read
Who would have forgotten this young lady with her backpack? Dora the Explorer is one of the favorite cartoon characters of children. She is popular for bringing the audience with her adventure and consistently asking them on where to find this, or that. The Map, on the other hand, is her companion to guide Dora of the places they would go through. What do I need from this cartoon character? I will use this as an analogy to make things simpler.
In Pedagogy, Alternative Assessments are highly recommended for teachers as they can be simply aligned with the intended learning outcomes, emphasize the valued skills and quality of work and offer realistic setting for the performance of the students. However, how do we evaluate the students’ work? What tool do we need?
Of course, we need an Alternative Assessment tool which is known to be called as rubric. A rubric is a learning and assessment tool that articulates the expectations for assignments and performance tasks by listing criteria, and for each criteria, describing levels of quality from excellent to poor (Andrade, 2000; Arter & Chappuis, 2007; Stiggins, 2001: Stuyniski, 2015).
To develop an effective rubric, Donna Szpyrka and Ellyn B. Smith of Florida's Statewide Systemic Initiative, gives the following guidelines:
1. Determine which concepts, skills, or performance standards you are assessing.
2. List the concepts and rewrite them into statements that reflect both cognitive and performance components.
3. Identify the most important concepts or skills being assessed in the task.
4. On the basis of the purpose of the task, determine the number of points to be used for the rubric (example: 4-point scale or 6-point scale).
5. Starting with the desired performance, determine the description for each score, remembering to use the importance of each element of the task or performance to determine the score or level of the rubric.
6. Compare student work to the rubric. Record the elements that caused you to assign a given rating to the work.
7. Revise the rubric descriptions based on performance elements reflected by the student work that you did not capture in your draft rubric.
8. Rethink your scale: Does a [ ]-point scale differentiate enough between types of student work to satisfy you?
9. Adjust the scale if necessary. Reassess student work and score it against the developing rubric.
Assuming that we have followed the guidelines above in developing a rubric and we are able to produce one for a certain task, what do we do next? To answer the bubble thought “Would you give the map to Dora before or after the quest?” Unquestionably, we should hand the map before the quest to serve its purpose. What is the essence of giving it after? Now, let map stand as the rubric, do teachers give it prior to the activity? Or when the activity is already done? Because it happens. In my almost 15 years as a student there are teachers who presented the rubrics when everyone has already submitted their works--when it is time for checking. We, as students were unaware of the existence of this rubric so we did not know if we were able to follow it and not being given a chance to achieve the desired score. In which I believe this is fairly unacceptable.
While, there are also teachers who provide the rubrics to be used prior to the activity so we would know the do’s and don’ts to attain the highest possible grade indicated in the criteria. It serves as our guide on how we would do the activity in accordance with the rubrics. In relation to this, let us answer the other bubble thought “Would you still be lost despite having a map?”
Yes, there are still chances to be lost even though we have a map. However, regardless if we have lost along the way, the good thing is that, we can always go back and check if we follow the right direction and be redirected to the right path. Same goes with the rubrics, even though the teacher gave the rubrics beforehand, there are still instances that we overlooked some things while working on the activity. But, as we do rechecking before submitting, we have come to a realization that we have skipped something. So the tendency is that, we would make things right by fulfilling what we have neglected and ended with a great outcome because we know we have followed everything in the criteria.
Therefore, as teachers we have to make sure that rubrics are suitable for the activity so development is necessary. After developing the rubrics, let us see to it that the rubrics are handed over to the students together with their assigned task. Making it easier for them and for teachers as well. In fact, Stuyniski (2015) listed the benefits of rubrics to students: Clarify Expectations, Improve Learning and Encourage Feedback and Reflection. For teachers on the other hand, rubrics will be beneficial due to the following: Save Time, Provide Consistency among Multiple Graders, Reduce Bias, Justify Grading and Weigh Importance. Indeed, rubrics are a great assessment tool.
Center for Teaching and Learning. (2021) Using Alternative Assessments. Retrievedfrom: https://ctl.byu.edu/using-alternative-assessments
Smith, E. & Szpyrka, D. (n.d) Guidelines for Developing a Rubric. Statewide SystemicInitiative, Florida. Retrieved from: http://ete.cet.edu/gcc/?/pbl_developing/
Stuyniski, E. (23 June 2015). How Rubrics Help You and Your Students. Retrievedfrom:https://kb.ecampus.uconn.edu/2015/06/23/howrubricshelpyouandyourstudents-2/