Rubrics Across Disciplines at SLA.

My last post included the rubric for the Independent Reading Project — but there have been some requests for an overall discussion of rubrics at SLA.

This is what our online school handbook says about our rubric:

Students at SLA are assessed through a variety of means with a focus on project-based learning and our five core values of inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation, and reflection. Our students do not take the School District of Philadelphia benchmark exams; rather, they complete projects in every subject that are assessed based on the SLA rubric (see below). The descriptions in the empty boxes are filled in according to the subject and project nature.

And here’s the rubric outline, as it appears on posters throughout the school:

SLA Standard Rubric

 

There are a thousand directions I could go in discussion of this rubric — but I want to focus on formatting, and how that influences student understanding.

The categories ensure that teachers provide more than just a checklist for students. Specific items or tasks can be listed in each section of the rubric, but the categories ensure there is a deeper meaning to what’s being assessed, instead of just checking that everything is in place.

Sometimes, teachers follow the format completely. Take this rubric for a calculus benchmark, courtesy of Math Teacher Brad Latimer. His description of the project:

 For the project, students had to research applications of various types of derivative functions, and then design a webpage demonstrating derivative applications. Their page had to include original problems and solutions for each type of derivative function, as well as analysis of what each derivative function represents.

The languages shifts for each level of expectations, and he also included some clarification as to what will be graded in each category. (In my own experience, the difference between “design” and “presentation” can get fuzzy when you are writing these — here it is crystal clear.)

Calculus Second Quarter Benchmark                    Name: ________________________

Exceeds Expectations

20 – 19

Meet Expectations

18 – 16

Approaches Expectations

15 – 13

Does NOT

Meet Expectations

12 – 0

OVERALL

SCORE

Design

Design of website and original problems

Website flawlessly illustrates applications of derivative functions and demonstrates how to differentiate various types of specific functions; all 8 topics are included. website clearly illustrates applications of derivative functions and demonstrates how to differentiate various types of specific functions; 5 topics are covered and meet expectations. website mostly illustrates applications of derivative functions and demonstrates how to differentiate various types of specific functions; 1 topic is missing or not  covered; website approaches expectations. website does not demonstrate applications of derivative functions or how to differentiate types of functions; multiple topics are missing or incomplete.  
Knowledge

Using different rules and techniques to find derivative functions

All derivative functions are found flawlessly for all 8 types of functions; solutions and uses of different techniques exceed expectations (simplified completely). All derivative functions are found without error for 5 types of functions; solutions and uses of different techniques meet expectations. Most derivative functions are found for 4 types of functions; project contains 1-2 errors; solutions and uses of different techniques approach expectations. Project displays weak and minimal knowledge of derivative functions; derivative functions are missing, incomplete, or contain many errors.  
Application

Application of different techniques to find derivative functions

Flawless analysis of derivative functions for all 8 types of functions, including the process of finding the derivative and the meaning of the derivative for the specific problem. Accurate analysis of derivative functions for 5 types of functions, including the process of finding the derivative and the meaning of the derivative. Somewhat flawed analysis of derivative functions for 4 types of functions, including the process of finding the derivative and the meaning of the derivative. Explanations and/or analysis have one/two mistakes or one type of function is not included. Highly flawed or incomplete analysis of types of functions; techniques for finding derivatives are missing or incomplete, and not analyzed at all.  
Process

Completion of project

All parts of the project are completed on time and beyond the necessary requirements. All parts of the project are completed on time and meet the necessary requirements. Most parts of the project are completed on time and meet the necessary requirements. Many parts of the project were missing or incomplete.  
Presentation

Presentation of website

website is superbly written and polished; methods to find derivative functions are flawlessly demonstrated and presented; all aspects of the website exceed expectations. website is well constructed and polished; methods to find derivative functions are demonstrated and presented; all aspects of the website meet expectations. website is pretty well constructed with a few mistakes; methods to find derivative functions are demonstrated and presented with 1-2 mistakes/omissions; most aspects of the website meet expectations. website is not well composed with several mistakes; methods to find derivative functions are not demonstrated or presented;  almost all aspects of the website do not meet expectations.  

 

As with all templates, some tinkering does occur. One of the big things that teachers often change is not filling out the full rubric. (There’s debate as to whether you really need to describe what “does not meet expectations” after you’ve given clear instructions about what does.)

Here’s another example from Latimer’s classroom, where he chose only to detail the “process” section for every category.

For the project, students were partnered up, and each pair was given a different investment and credit situation. They then had to research five different options (bank, lenders, credit cards, etc) to deal with each situation. The final product was a detailed research paper which made a recommendation on the best option for their specific situation, and included mathematical justification (using exponential functions and compound interest formulas).

Algebra 2: Quarter 4 Benchmark Rubric- Applications of Exponential Functions

Name: ________________________________ Band: _____________  Partner: ____________

Exceeds Expectations

20 – 19

Meet Expectations

18 – 16

Approaches Expectations

15 – 13

Does NOT

Meet Expectations

12 – 0

 

SCORE

Design

Design of paper

  Paper is well designed; all required components/sections are complete; 5 different savings and 5 different credit options are covered, and all calculations and citations are included; individual work is also included.      
Knowledge

Knowledge of key concepts involving exponential growth and compound interest

  All mathematical calculations are correct and meet expectations for 5 investment and 5 credit options.      
Application

Application of knowledge of exponential functions

  Analysis section of paper clearly and accurately applies knowledge of exponential functions to specific situations; conclusions for your situations are clearly explained and justified using mathematics.      
Process

Project is complete and submitted on time; Use of in-class work periods

 

 

All parts of the project are completed on time and beyond the necessary requirements; excellent use of all in-class work periods All parts of the project are completed on time and meet the necessary requirements; all in-class work periods are used effectively Most parts of the project are completed on time and meet the necessary requirements; effective use of most in-class work periods Many parts of the project were missing or incomplete; ineffective use of in-class work periods.  
Presentation

Presentation of paper

  Final paper is polished and professional in appearance. There are no typos, and all required sections of the paper are included.      

I think it’s relevant that this is a 4th quarter project — at this point it should be clear to many students what the expectations of the class are, and to mentally fill out the details of what exceeds, and what does not meet, the expectations of the class.

Many thanks to Brad Latimer for sharing this content and making this post possible. Let me know if there are other disciplines you would like to see materials from.

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