to Grade Student-Centered Assignments while Maintaining High
Kathie F. Nunley
of the big concerns with teachers beginning this type of teaching
is how to use this method without lowering their standards of
learning. The secret is of course, rubrics. (see also Starting
rubric is simply an outline of the criteria you look for in
grading an assignment. It is best to give the rubrics to the
students before they do the assignment so that everyone knows
what is expected on an assignment and how it will be graded.
you break your assignments down into basic "types",
you can write a criteria for each type. For instance, I use
about 12- 15 assignment types all year: posters, book work,
reports, videos, labs, etc. I set a certain number of points
possible for each assignment. A poster is worth up to 20 points.
All posters are worth this and the grading criteria remains
the same, only the topic of the poster changes.
I write the criteria I give it to the students. They now know
what is expected on each assignment, what I value and look for
and grading no longer is a surprise. Here are some of the rubrics
my students receive:
Criteria for General Biology
through Art (Poster: 20 points)
poster is on sturdy poster board. The illustration is an original
work showing a creative blend of several sources (listed on
back). Good use of white space, border and key ideas. Demonstrates
an understanding of the subject (can explain 5 things learned).
Creative, colorful, and well polished.
Poster is on sturdy poster board. Illustration is somewhat original
and based on one or more sources (list on back). Ideas may not
be as clear. Demonstrates partial understanding of the subject
(less than 5 things learned). May need some polish to be complete.
Poster reflects learning but is not an original work. Colorful
but may not be on sturdy poster board. Ideas clear.
Poster hastily done. Few ideas expressed. Not original work.
One color. Not suitable for display or does not indicate learning.
through Textbook Readings (Book work: 15 points)
Answers are clear and written in writer's own words. The question
may not be written, but is understood in the answer. Student
is comfortable explaining any question and can elaborate on
questions as needed.
Answers are written in writer's own words. Student can answer
at least half but not all questions in oral quiz. Not completely
confident in understanding of material.
Answers may not be in writer's own words. Student can answer
some (less than half) of the questions in oral quiz.
through Writing (Short answer assignments 10 points)
Writing is original and neat with few grammatical and spelling
errors. Ideas are clear and the writer is comfortable explaining
3 or 4 of the ideas written. If writing is not in English, the
writer has gotten written feedback on grammar and spelling from
someone fluent in that language.
Writing is somewhat original but contains grammatical and spelling
errors. Writer is comfortable explaining only 1 or 2 of the
ideas written. If writing is not in English, the writer is able
to translate any portion of the writing, verbally.
through Video (Video/Laser disk-watching assignments 15 points)
Students watched entire video, uninterrupted by other activities.
Notes were taken representing entire video. Students is able
to explain 5-7 ideas learned from the video and can answer 2/3
of the questions regarding it.
Student watched entire video, uninterrupted by other activities.
Notes may be sketchy. Student can explain 3 or 4 ideas learned
and can answer some (less than 2/3) questions regarding movie.
Student watched at least 75% of the video. Can explain 3 or
4 ideas learned but cannot answer more than one question regarding
through Technology (computer work 10 points)
Student has spent at least 30 minutes working through the program.
Student is able to explain 5 concepts learned and can answer
2/3 questions regarding program.
Student has spent at least 20 minutes working through the program
and can explain at least 3 concepts learned. Students answers
1/3 questions regarding program.
Science (lab work 15 points)
Question, Hypothesis, Procedure, Data, and Conclusion are clear,
and identified. Lab report is neat and well written. Procedure
is written with sufficient detail that lab could easily be replicated
by someone else. The lab is an original investigation, showing
creativity. Student is able to confidently describe what they
were looking for and what happened.
Question, Hypothesis, Procedure, Data, and Conclusion are all
in the lab report but may not be clear or identified. Procedure
is insufficient for replication (I wouldn't be able to repeat
you lab based on your procedure). Lab may not be original (your
idea came from a textbook or classmate) Student cannot answer
more than 2 questions about the lab.
Lab report missing sections. Poorly written. Lab not original
and student cannot answer more than one question about the lab.
about Science ("A" level assignments 20 points)
At least 3 recent (less than 5 years old) scientific-based journal
articles are attached to assignment. A thorough 3 sentence summary
of each article is included written in writer's own words. Video
presentation is 2 to 5 minutes. Presenter is comfortable with
the material, makes good eye contact with the camera. Opinions
are based on the research -- either the research is mentioned
in the report or ideas are clearly connected with the research.
At least 3 recent scientific-based journal articles are attached
to assignment. A thorough 3 sentence summary of each article
is included, written in writer's own words. Video presentation
is 2 to 5 minutes. Presenter does not seem comfortable with
the material, eye contact is lacking. Not all opinions are clearly
linked to the research.
At least 2 recent scientific-based journal articles are attached
to assignment. Sketchy summaries are included. Video may not
be 2-5 long (at least 1 minute). Presenter reads material. Not
all opinions are clearly linked to the research.
At least 2 recent scientific-based journal articles are attached
to assignment. Summaries included. No video presentation of
F. Nunley is an educational psychologist, author, researcher
and speaker living in southern New Hampshire. Developer of the
Layered Curriculum® method of instruction, Dr. Nunley has
authored several books and articles on teaching in mixed-ability
classrooms and other problems facing today's teachers. Full
references and additional teaching and parental tips are available
at: http://Help4Teachers.com Email her:
Kathie (at) brains.org
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