As part of our effort to build world-class software for standards-based learning (SBL), we’ve added standards-based Rubrics to TeacherEase. This allows educators to break down standards (or learning targets) into smaller steps students pass through to reach mastery.
Adding rubrics does a few important things. First, it helps teachers think deeply about the learning process. To build a rubric, they need to consider the cognitive steps students pass through to reach mastery. This understanding leads to better instruction and assessment, especially for students who cannot make great intuitive leaps in understanding. Rubrics help create a path of small steps every student can follow to mastery.
For students, rubrics demystify the learning process and help them understand what it takes to reach proficiency. Students are more likely to engage in, and take ownership of, their learning when they better understand the process. This often helps develop intrinsic motivation for learning, one big benefit of SBL.
Rubrics improve feedback by creating a shared vocabulary and framework. Students can self-assess their progress, and teachers can reference rubrics (and student self-perceptions) in feedback. Increased specificity helps students make corrections and speed learning.
In addition to this news article, we also created a new product page for Standards-based Rubrics, feel free to check it out.
To use rubrics in TeacherEase, find the new “Rubrics” tab on “Course-Single View.” Here you can build rubrics for each learning target. There's also a UI available for individual instructors to modify rubrics on classes/sections (if permissions allow). For simplicity, rubrics are the same size as the standards-based grading scale (usually 4 levels), which needs setup first.
Admin Main > Courses > Course - Single View > Rubric (tab)
Instructor Main > Rubrics
Rubrics can be viewed by students and parents on the online portal. This allows them to understand the purpose of instruction. They can also follow the cognitive steps in the learning progression leading toward mastery.
Student/Parent Main > Targets and Rubrics
When learning targets are added to assignments, rubrics automatically follow along. If there are multiple learning targets on an assignment, there will be a grid of rubrics.
Instructor Main > Standards-based Scores > Create Assignment
For an assignment, teachers can ask students to complete a rubric-based self-assessment. This is configurable, if targets and rubrics have already been selected. Students can write descriptions of their performance, and select a level on the rubric.
Instructor Main > Standards-based Scores > Edit Assignment
Once configured, students are prompted to complete the self-assessment on the student/parent portal. Items are added to both the Newsfeed and Assignments page.
Parent Main > (look in Newsfeed)
Parent Main > Assignments & Lessons
After completing an assignment, students can self-assess their work based upon the rubric, and reflect on their learning with a free text description. Self-assessment is well-integrated with the TeacherEase student portal and works with both offline and online assignments.
Parent Main > Assess (click in Newsfeed)
Parent Main > Assignments & Lessons > Assess
Teachers can provide rich feedback based upon both the student work and their self-assessment. This includes both free text and choosing a level on the rubric to help students understand their current progress. Increased specificity of feedback helps students make corrections and speed learning.
Instructor Main > Standards-based Scores > (click on assignment)
Like learning targets, rubrics are yearly entities, and can be updated annually. Typically educators will want to improve their supporting materials every year based upon their classroom experience. There are permissions to control teachers’ ability to change rubrics per class/section (enabling organizations to enforce consistency between section and course rubrics, if desired). Since rubrics are being released mid-year, we defaulted the 2017-18 permissions to allow teacher modification. We expect most users to start writing course rubrics (as opposed to classes/sections) next academic year. For customers who want this consistency, admins will need to change rubric permissions for the next academic year after it has been created.
School District Admin Main > Options > School Permissions
Traditionally TeacherEase (gradebook, analytics, and report cards) has worked well for the most experienced SBL customers. We’ve been lucky to interact with very sophisticated SBL educators, and have learned greatly. We are in the process of making TeacherEase more useful earlier in the SBL process. Rubrics are intended to help address the needs of early-stage SBL implementations, and expect to deliver additional similar functionality soon.
We also have gotten requests to support student-constructed rubrics. While this is also not in the current release, it’s on our radar and should be delivered at a future time.
Please note that we didn't yet implement rubrics for use outside of the SBL context. While this future improvement would be useful to many educators, it hasn’t yet been scheduled for development. Feel free to make a feature request if you’d like it.