Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tuesday Tech Tip: 5 Additional Ways to Use Rubics in Schoology

*This was also cross-posted on Schoology's blog.

Rubrics can be very powerful instructional tools for providing criterion-referenced feedback, and in digital learning environments, they can also be a great data collection tools.  We get plenty of student data from external sources, like state or national assessments, but rubrics allow us to measure what we value.

In our district, we've seen digital rubrics being used most often in assessing electronically submitted written work, and the rubric feature in Schoology is a great fit for that.  However, in addition to that function, a digital rubric can be used in other ways as well.

1.  Performance Tasks, Visual Art Products, and Physical Models/Projects

Sample Debate Rubric on iOS
Just because Schoology's rubric is digital doesn't mean that the student work being assessed has to be digital.  In fact, a digital rubric can be a very handy way to assess work that's done offline.  Are your students doing speeches or debates?  Creating works of art?  Doing performances?  Use a Schoology rubric to provide digital feedback for students, even though they are not necessarily submitting work in Schoology at all.  

Tip: if you've got the Schoology app installed on a mobile device, you can assess work easily without having to have your computer in front of you.

2.  Weekly Point Collections

Sample weekly point collector using the rubric tool
As part of your classwork, you may have a daily assignment that is really more of a weekly collection of daily points.  Instead of creating a repeating assignment that you have to fill in every day, you can use the rubric tool to keep track of daily points but collect them in a single assignment.  This could work well for PE (where you may need to track if students dress out daily), citizenship or weekly participation points, or daily journal entries.  Use the criteria fields on the left for each day of the week and create a column (or several) for point totals for each day.  

Tip:  create a 4-day point collector as well, if you want to account for weeks where you may not see them each day.

3.  Offline Assessments for Tracking Mastery

Sample Data Collection for K-5 Math Pre-Assessment
If your students are doing an offline assessment but you still want to collect data based on standards or learning objectives, you could create a data collection tool with a Schoology rubric.  This is especially helpful when you have multiple questions that are aligned to the same standard and contain items that need to be in hard copy (like a math assessment where a student has to show work).  This allows you to track data for mastery without having to create an assessment and score each question individually.  (At the time of this post, Schoology assessments cannot be graded unless a student makes an online submission, which makes a rubric point collector a good alternative.)  

Tip:  Use a single column for the total points possible and type in the points received manually in the pts column.

4.  Checklists

Sample paragraph checklist
Sometimes you don't necessarily need different levels of achievement for criteria: sometimes it's just a yes or no situation -- either it was there or it wasn't.  This could helpful for project checklists, writing checklists, or notebook checks. While the Schoology rubric defaults to a 4 point scale when you create it, you can remove columns to give points for completion or the presence of a required element.

Tip:  If you want to gather data on the various checklist items, be sure to make them as custom learning objectives first. Anything you add to the rubric using the +Criteria option won't be tracked in your mastery reports (but it will still provide visual feedback to the learner).

5.  Notebook or Binder Checks

Collecting student binders or notebooks is a common method for assessing both notetaking skills and/or organizational skills.  Depending on access in the classroom, these notebooks may be digital or not.  Instead of giving holistic points for a notebook check, it might be a good idea to use a rubric so that a student can see which areas (if any) need some work in the binder. And, if the notebooks aren't digital and stay in the classroom, it can help parents keep better track of the notebook checks over time.

Tip:  if using achievement levels that cover different aspects (like the AVID notebook rubric below), use the rubric comment feature to let students know which specific element impacted the point score.

Sample AVID Notebook Rubric
Ultimately, rubric tools can be very flexible for looking at multiple elements for a single assignment.  Regardless of the whether or not you're grading digital work, you can still leverage a digital rubric for feedback, assessment, and data collection.

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