Simplifying Rubrics

If you've looked at the resources in previous posts, you may have noticed that the rubrics I have constructed have seemed almost empty. This isn't a mistake, it's a deliberate omission. By dropping the levels from the rubric, I'm taking the cap off student achievement.

Let's look at some of the reasons you might want to follow suit:

1. It's significantly less up-front work...

I know sometimes it can take hours pondering the specific words to choose for your hand-crafted rubric. By dropping all but one level, you're almost taking the language level route: "barely", "average", "well", "exceptionally" - but keeping it simple, just one item per criteria.

2. It allows you to tailor feedback for students...

Because the rubric is, for the most part, blank - you have the opportunity to write feedback specific to the student's work or skills. Adding this to a routine of giving students point-of-need feedback on their work can be an effective way to track progress.  

3. It enables you to ask students for self and peer-assessment...

Using student friendly language when you create the rubric means that you can give multiple copies to different parties. Depending where your students are up to, you might ask them to give themselves a comment on their progress. Or to exchange rubrics with a peer and comment on their work, or skills.  

4. See where students are at with a glance...

With two of three columns blank, it's easy to see which students are excelling, and which students are struggling. This can be significant when you compare feedback from multiple sources - for example, you might notice a student who has given themselves harsh feedback where their peers and you are providing high level feedback, giving you the opportunity to talk to the student about their opinion of their work.

5. Come report time...

Stick with the simplified single-point rubric for a whole term and ask students to keep them in a folder, or hold on to them yourself. When report writing comes up, take comments that you, students, and their peers gave their work and skills to create a more authentic, EASIER report!

6. Stretch?

Co-construct the criteria for the single-point rubric with your students. Make sure that the criteria on the rubric are clear, and if you're using them, align with your learning intentions for the workshop or whole unit.

For an extra challenge, create rubrics that encompass learning goals (even based directly on content descriptions from the curriculum) WITH General Capabilities AND the 4C's. 


Combining simplified single-point rubrics as one assessment strategy, with formative assessments will help make assessment easier and more rewarding for you and your students. Couple this with other management strategies like eduScrum for cohesive visual management of classroom activities!

As always, best wishes,

Aidan. πŸ™

P.S. Don't just take it from me, stacks of other people have written about single-point rubrics and their variations.

Fluckiger, J. (2010). Single point rubric: A tool for responsible student self-assessment. The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin76(4), 18.