Rubrics Rock !!!

By Ann Catalano

My new best friend in ANGEL world is the RUBRIC.  Why? Because using rubrics has shaved hours off my grading time.  You might think that rubrics are only used for writing projects.  I am here to tell you that that is not the case. Rubrics can be used to grade any type of project. Let me explain.

The courses I teach, by their very nature, are project intensive – and therefore – grading intensive. For example,  I can spend upwards to an hour grading each student’s web pages.  Multiply that by 20 students times 4 projects a semester and you can see how much time is spent on this task.  And that’s just one of my courses.

You can imagine my delight when I discovered how using rubrics in ANGEL could save me time and frustration.  Granted, it takes a little up front work to get the rubric to do what you want it to do, but once the rubric is in place, you will get back hours of your time.

So how does this work? In my case, I develop the rubric based on the project requirements.  Then I decide how much weight to place on each requirement.  For instance, in a web design project I might weigh the accuracy of the coding more than uploading the files to the server.  Once you figure out what you want to use as the criteria and the achievement levels for each criteria, the task of grading each project becomes much less labor intensive.

Here’s what I used to do:

  • Open up project files.
  • Open up evaluation sheet.
  • Review each project requirement.
  • Check off each requirement on the Evaluation Sheet and write comments for each one
  • Look at the evaluation sheet and determine an overall grade.
  • Type the grade into the ANGEL drop box.
  • Upload the evaluation sheet to the ANGEL drop box.

Here’s what I do now:

  • Open up project.
  • Open up rubric.
  • Review each project requirement and select appropriate achievement level for each criterion on the rubric.
  • Click Save and the grade is automatically computed and entered into ANGEL.
  • Write any comments into Message box related to assignment.

I have found that if I have constructed the rubric accurately, the grades that are computed are fair and represent the student’s level of work.  I have to admit, this took a little tweaking to get the achievement levels right on their projects, without having to write the same comments over and over again.

I have been using Rubrics to grade projects in all of my classes this semester and I am finding that my grading goes much faster and is less stressful than in the past.  I actually think my grading is more accurate and objective. After 37 years of teaching, I have finally found a tool that really helps improve the process of grading, an often arduous and frustrating task.

I encourage you to give Rubrics a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Here is a link to one of the rubrics I use in my course. Asset 1 Rubric

About ncccelearning

I have been helping faculty Teach Well Online for 12 years. My online teaching experience includes both online at the undergraduate and graduate level and have created and delivered numerous workshops focusing on the pedagogy of teaching online and strategies to support student success. I hold an M.S. ED in Educational Computing and have proudly worked at SUNY-Niagara County Community College for the last 12 years.
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