Sunday, 7 August 2016

Using a Rubric in the classroom

I recently started investigating the use of rubrics in my classroom and trying to figure out how best to start implementing one into my teaching and learning. I came across lots of useful websites such as Quickrubric which makes the design of these much quicker and easier.

I decided to create a Rubric for my 3th year Technical Graphics class and my learning intention was to give my student a better understanding of the process when they are answering a question for their examination. Before I began, I researched the marking scheme for the questions from examinations.ie. This gave me a breakdown of the marking process and marks allocated to each section. This informed my development of the below Rubric for the 2015 Technical Graphics Higher Level Question 6B. The below is an update version which I updated since.

I developed n introduction sheet with the question, solution and the learning intentions within the question which I wanted to focus o

The second sheet was the rubric for the question which student completed.

The exercise
Students completed the 2015 Higher Question 6B for homework and brought in their work. I decided to use peer assessment for this exercise. Each student swapped their homework exercise with the person behind them. As a class we discussed the rubric and how the exercise was going to work. Unfortunately our first attempt was not very successful, as it turned into a barrage of questions from student who were not fully sure about the marking process and how to use the rubric. This can often happen at the introduction of a new teaching strategy into the classroom.

I stepped back to the beginning again, stepped the students back through the process and procedures of the rubric but this time I felt it better to use the teaching strategy groupwork to aid the students. they worked in pairs to complete the rubric. In their groups they stepped there way through the rubric analysing the solutions and comparing to the rubric.

This worked very well. Students gained a very value understanding of how questions are scaffolded to allow student demonstrate their understanding of the principles involved in the question. One student pointed out that "If I make an attempt at all the parts of the question, finish it, heavy in the drawing neatly. I could have over half the marks". I found that the exercise actually broke down the question very well for student. Instead of them seeing it as one big question, they gained an appreciation of the question in its smaller parts. The rubric also refocused them on the use of correct constructions and application of correct principles in question - they could now see there value in marks. The final positive element of the rubric for student was the understanding of the importance of neatness and accuracy in the presentation of their final drawing for examination. Previously, it was me telling them of it. But in the rubric they could appreciate it much more.

Overall I feel that there is much more I could do with this rubric but the value of rubrics was very evident to me.  The one change I would make to the above rubric, I would remove the marks sections and just allow student to circle the relevant section. I feel that a rubric should not be seen a marking tool but a development tool for students understanding. There is a good bit of time required in the development of a rubric for an exercise but very worthwhile time I feel.

View my rubric here: http://www.quickrubric.com/r#/qr/liamfallon/2015-question-6--ellipse-–-parabola--question-marking-rubric