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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rubrics

I was giving my Algebra II class more details about the project they had just started working on. It’s an exploration of exponential and linear functions, with a story line for which I cannot take credit but which I’m happy to use. One student raised his hand. “Can we see a rubric for this project?” he asked.

Those of us who went to high school in the ’60s and ’70s never heard of rubrics until well into our teaching careers. If anyone used them when I was a student, I certainly never noticed. But now rubrics are not merely a common vehicle for assessment, they are a standard piece of standards-based education — so much so that it’s not unusual for students to ask for one, as happened in my class. That makes sense: isn’t it reasonable to expect to know the basis on which you will be graded? This story won’t sound at all remarkable to current students and younger teachers, but it represents quite a change in my history of learning and teaching.

So I quickly posted the rubric and put a link to it in the assignment.

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