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Scoring Rubrics - Definitions & Construction

A frequently asked question of:
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Example queries (all submitted by teachers):

What is a rubric?

Please provide guidelines for the use of performance rubrics in the classroom.

What instructions and/or models exist to guide me through the process of constructing a scoring rubric?

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Scoring rubrics have emerged as a highly-sought tool by teachers for use in the classroom to monitor students' performance and to support students' metacognition about their learning. The body of literature pertaining to scoring rubrics is yet small, but definite and steadily-growing. The scope of this bibliography is to provide citations to the most descriptive and instructional sources to assist teachers and other practitioners: 1) in understanding what scoring rubrics are, and 2) in constructing scoring rubrics for use in classroom assessment.

In Assessment of Student Achievement (6th ed., 1998), Norman Gronlund offers the most straightforward definition of the term that we have encountered. It is:

Scoring Rubric - A set of scoring guidelines that describes the characteristics of the different levels of performance used in scoring or judging a performance.

The following definition, taken from the glossary of Understanding Educational Measurement by Peter McDaniel (1994), also provides a good starting point:

Rubric - A scoring rubric is a set of ordered categories to which a given piece of work can be compared. Scoring rubrics specify the qualities or processes that must be exhibited in order for a performance to be assigned a particular evaluative rating.

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[Topical Overviews in Full-Text]

Implementing Performance Assessment in the Classroom [1998] - Amy Brualdi
Using Alternative Assessments To Improve the Teaching and Learning of History [1997] - Frederick D. Drake

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Dynamic (i.e., Live) Search of the ERIC Documents Database for Scoring Rubrics
This search option employs the electronic Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors as the search interface for the ERIC documents database. If you would like to ensure a current bibliography of ERIC documents for this topic, then we highly recommend that you pursue this option. Also, once you have selected this search option, you may edit the given strategy to introduce concepts into the search to accommodate your specific needs; or, you can build an entirely new search strategy in the ERIC Search Wizard. For a short, highly selective bibliography, please see the Selected ERIC Documents Citations below.

Selected ERIC Documents Citations for Constructing Scoring Rubrics
Although less current and less plentiful than the Dynamic Search option (above), this selective bibliography presents ERIC documents citations that have been preselected on the basis of the thoroughness and/or authority and/or uniqueness that they reflect.

Instructions for ERIC Documents Access

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[Check your local library or bookstore for access]

Airasian, P.W. (1997). Classroom Assessment (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Chapter 8 of Airasian's book cited above is entitled "Performance Assessment"
and offers narrative text and samples pertaining to the development of
scoring rubrics.

Danielson, C. (1997). A Collection of Performance Tasks and Rubrics:
     Middle School Mathematics. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.
Danielson, C. (1997). A Collection of Performance Tasks and Rubrics:
     Upper Elementary School Mathematics. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

Danielson, C. & Marquez, E. (1998). A Collection of Performance Tasks
     and Rubrics: High School Mathematics. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

Danielson, C. & Hansen,P. (1999). A Collection of Performance Tasks and Rubrics:
     Primary School Mathematics. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education

Johnson, B. (1996). The Performance Assessment Handbook: Designs from the Field
     and Guidelines for the Territory Ahead. Princeton, NJ: Eye on Education.

Each of the two volumes of Johnson's work cited above contains a chapter entitled
"Standards, Criteria, and Rubrics: Including Teachers and Students in the Search
for Quality", replete with detailed samples of rubrics for a variety of subjects.

Lazear, D. (1998). The Rubrics Way: Using MI to Assess Understanding. Tucscon,
     AZ: Zephyr Press.

Taggart, G.L., Phifer, S.J., Nixon, J., & Wood, M. (Eds.). (1998). Rubrics:
     A Handbook for Construction and Use. Lancaster, PA: Technomic Publishing.

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Scoring Rubrics - National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST)

Assessment Rubrics - from Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators

Language and Mathematics Rubrics - Toronto District School Board (Etobicoke) Research Department

Tasks [from the] Performance Assessment Links in Science [PALS]
The tasks are arranged by grade range and by subject area. Within each task, select the link to Rubric.

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Publication Notes:
Created: November 18, 1999
Last Revised: December 23, 1999

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