Lately I have been on a bit of a rubric rampage. I love rubrics for a lot of reasons. I think they make grading subjective work a lot easier. And they simultaneously help students differentiate between performance levels and work to improve. I like how creating a rubric really helps me think deeply about what I am expecting my students to know and be able to do and how I will determine the degree to which they can do it. I use a rubric for scoring the group work that my students do in the lab and another rubric for grading lab reports.
This week I worked for many hours on a rubric that our instructional coaches and administrators introduced to our staff for self-analysis of our station rotations. It took a lot of hours and talking for us to arrive at a good starting point, but I know I learned a lot in the process. Today I taught some Google PD at Lake Erie College and, as part of that, I found and experimented with a rubric add-on. Then later I tweeted about a rubric tool that is easy and fast to use. As long as I am thinking so much about rubrics this week, I felt like I should dedicate a post to them.
Orange Slice: Teacher Rubric
During the PD I led today, I described add-ons and gave some time to explore. While I was exploring add-ons, Orange Slice caught my eye. A quick read of the description and reviews and I installed it. I tried it out and liked it a bunch. After it’s installed, open a Google Doc and then run the add-on. If you have a ready-made rubric (like my lab report rubric) you can use it or Orange Slice helps you create one from scratch. Decide on some basic options (performance levels, grading categories), follow the prompts in the add-on pane and you will quickly have a rubric that pastes itself into the document. Keep working in the add-on pane and you will click your way toward grading the document. As you click, the rubric is highlighted to show the score in each level and a grade posts at the top of the page. Voil�! It’s awesome!
A couple other thoughts on this one. First, use Chrome. I tried it in Firefox and it sort of worked. But only sort of. Second, there is a teacher add-on and a student add-on. I didn’t try the student add-on, but this one is for peer edits. Many of my colleagues shun peer editing for a variety of reasons, but if you do it, maybe the student add-on would be helpful. It allows kids to score student work but then be overridden by the teacher score.
Storyboard That is a very cool and super-customizable tool that has an infinite number of uses in a classroom. The wizards behind Storyboard That have created two other equally cool tools, Photos for Class and Quick Rubric. There are so many things to like about Quick Rubric that it’s hard to know where to start, but one of the things I found most impressive was the amount of resources about rubrics that are found on their site. The resources include an introductory article about rubrics, tips to making a great rubric, and ways to use advanced formatting in rubrics with this tool. How cool is that that help is provided, that this tool is instructionally based with a little PD support? Click the giant orange button that says Create a Rubric and you are on your way. You start with a 3×3 rubric but it is easy to add rows and columns and move things around. Type in performance levels or stick with theirs (beginning, emerging, proficient) and criteria for grading. Typie in how many points the assignment is worth and the tool assigns point values to categories. Create an account to save your rubric or access rubrics you create.
Maybe part of the reason why some teachers don’t use rubrics is that they can be time-consuming to create and apply. With these two great tools, those excuses are gone!