One of my kids is very outcome focused – less about the ‘journey’ and more about the ‘destination’. This can be a good and a bad thing – on the plus side, someone who is outcome focused simply gets on with tasks and gets things done. Mornings for this child are a breeze, as they tick off what they have to do to get out the door on time. However, the flip side is that when a task requires time for reflection, feedback and adjustment, it can be challenging.
A recent project that this child was given, required a detailed plan, testing of a design, feedback and then revisions to the plan. The usual ‘do the homework on the first night’ wasn’t going to cut it. Much to my child’s horror, the end design didn’t ‘work’ in the way that they’d anticipated and they were worried that they’d get a bad mark for the project. I explained that the point of the exercise was not to have a perfect working model but instead, to show how they had incorporated feedback and made adjustments to their design. And I knew this because of the rubric – very handy tools for students (and parents) in understanding their learning.
From Sally –
‘How do you kick a goal if there are no goal posts’? A quote that I have stolen from someone – my apologies to that person. However, it is very relevant in today’s education. Students need to know what they are learning and what good learning looks like.
At Kew Primary, we often talk about being explicit about teaching and learning. The younger years use the acronym W.A.L.T (What are we learning today?) and the older students use the language of ‘learning intentions‘. We believe that students need to be very clear about what they are learning to gauge whether they have made progress. This fits in with metacognition or thinking about, and being active in, their education.
This is where rubrics come in. They set out clearly all the elements required in small chunks, and indicate what quality outcomes look like. They are an instrument used to engage students in understanding their learning, and help them to work towards producing their very best. They provide clarity and direction for students allowing them to ‘see the goal posts’ and metaphorically ‘kick the goal.’
We use rubrics in a variety of ways in the senior school. Students can refer to a rubric that has been prepared by the teacher to ensure that they are on the right track and covering all aspects of the task or they can use the rubric to self assess their work, say a piece of writing or the debates for example. Sometimes, teachers will co-construct a rubric with the students as Andrew did recently, providing rich discussion and giving students a chance to have a say in what they think is important and is quality.
In short, rubrics give students a valuable visual in what is to be done to produce an excellent piece of work. They chunk the big picture learning into small parts and provide an easy reference to the task.
Andrew has provided us with a working example of a rubric –
During our recent focus on Discussion Writing in 6AW, students co-created a writing rubric with myself. I provided two criteria that we had learnt about this term (indicated in the blue cells) to start the rubric. Students then examined a range of writing resources, which they used to collectively create a list of writing features. From this list each student choose three further features they wanted me to look for in their finished discussion piece (indicated in the green cells). Once the writing has been finished, both the student and myself will complete the rubric.