What Is a Rubric?
These other types of writing include:. There is no single way to write well because there is no single kind of writing.
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Again, we have presented five rubrics that distinguish among seven levels of achievement on five aspects of a basic genre of paper—a thesis-driven analysis—which will be assigned in many of the courses you will take between now and graduation. These rubrics can be used to assess your own writing as well as the writing of others—including the writings in this reader.
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We have specified seven levels per trait to make explicit that the levels of intellectual achievement or mastery are not necessarily the same as the levels for particular grades. Some faculty might regard a rating of 5 as necessary for an A. In either case, however, just because a student earns an A does not mean that he or she has achieved the highest level that might be possible. Athletes understand that what constitutes the equivalent of a top grade changes as one enters at higher and higher levels of competition.
Each successive level requires increasingly sophisticated skills. In Little League, to hit a home run a player must hit the ball feet and clear a fence that is approximately four feet high. In each of the sample rubrics, the highest level points to an artistic understanding and performance of any trait, perhaps as Olympic records point to incomparable athletic achievements. Another question teachers get asked a lot is, "What is a rubric?
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A rubric is simply a sheet of paper that lets students know the following things about an assignment:. Rubrics are used for a few different reasons. Rubrics allow teachers to evaluate assignments like projects, essays, and group work where there are no "right or wrong" answers.
They also help teachers grade assignments with multiple components like a project with a presentation, an essay portion, and group work. It's easy to determine what an "A" is on a multiple-choice exam, but it's much more difficult to determine what an "A" is on a project with multiple facets.
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A rubric helps students and the teacher know exactly where to draw the line and assign points. Ordinarily, if a teacher is passing out the grading rubric which he or she should do , a student will get the rubric when the assignment is handed over.
Typically, a teacher will review both the assignment and the rubric, so students know the types of criteria that must be met and can ask questions if necessary. Since rubrics offer the exact specifications for an assignment, you'll always know which grade you'll get on the project.
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Simple rubrics may merely give you the letter grade with one or two items listed next to each grade:. More advanced rubrics will have multiple criteria for assessment.
Below is the "Use of Sources" portion of a rubric from a research paper assignment, which is clearly more involved. So, when a teacher grades the paper and sees that the student displayed an inconsistent or superficial level of skill for criteria 1, "Researched information appropriately documented," he or she would give that kid 2 points for that criteria. Then, he or she would move on to criteria 2 to determine if the student has enough outside info to represent a research process.