Resources for Using Rubrics in the Middle Grades
Looking for help with rubrics? With a focus on the middle grades, we’ve compiled tips, sample rubrics, and resources to help you design and implement rubrics for assessment.
Designing and Using Rubrics
- How Do Rubrics Help? (Edutopia, 2008)
This article from Edutopia’s Assessment Professional Development Guide explains the benefits of using rubrics, describes different types of rubrics, and offers tips on getting started.
- Tame the Beast: Tips for Designing and Using Rubrics (Edutopia, 2013)
Blogger Andrew Miller shares his experiences and suggestions for creating and using rubrics that will make students' -- and teachers' -- lives much easier.
- Designing Rubrics (Teaching Channel, 2013)
Math teacher Lauren Hobbs describes factors to take into account in designing rubrics and the benefits of having students work together to do a mid-project rubric review, a strategy that can be useful for students in all grades.
- How to Create and Use Rubrics for Formative Assessment and Grading (ASCD, 2013)
In this book chapter, Susan M. Brookhart breaks down what rubrics can be used to assess, the advantages and disadvantages of different types of rubrics, and why rubrics are important. Tracey Muise’s review of Brookhart’s book on MiddleWeb includes specific takeaways for teachers of the middle grades.
- How to Create a Rubric That Does What You Want It To (TeachThought, 2013)
Grant Wiggins discusses the ins and outs of creating quality rubrics and suggests that while bad rubrics shut down creativity, good rubrics have the potential to free up student creativity and initiative.
- Know Your Terms: Holistic, Analytic, and Single-Point Rubrics (Cult of Pedagogy, 2014)
Jennifer Gonzalez has put together an illustrated guide to several different rubric types. For each type, she explains the basic structure, looks at the pros and cons, and offers a blank template that can be downloaded and customized.
Sample Rubrics from Schools that Work
- Middle School Digital-Storytelling Project Rubric (Edutopia, 2012)
Though originally used as part of an arts-integrated lesson for 8th-grade mathematics, this rubric could also be adapted for other grades and subjects. For more about arts integration at Bates Middle School, check out Edutopia's Schools that Work package on “Transformation Through Art Integration.”
- Middle School Writing Rubric (Edutopia, 2011)
The School of the Future in New York develops and uses its own assessment techniques, including unannounced assessments in order to measure student learning at regular intervals. For more insight into how this school uses authentic assessment to provide a window into student learning, check out the video on authentic assessment for humanities, featuring teacher Sarah Kaufmann’s 6th-grade class, and the video on authentic assessment for algebra, featuring teacher Ben Mook’s 7th-grade class.
- Socratic Seminar Rubric (Edutopia, 2011)
This Socratic Seminar Rubric from KIPP King High School includes standards of performance for inner circle and outer circle participants. For more about how KIPP King encourages the development of critical-thinking skills, see Edutopia's coverage in "The KIPP King Collegiate High School Story." Also, check out this resource from MiddleWeb, “Socratic Seminars in the Middle” for advice about how to implement Socratic Seminars at the middle school level.
- Middle School English Rubrics (Edutopia, 2009)
These rubrics, from an 8th-grade English class at YES Prep North Central, include criteria for evaluating different aspects of a student self-guided project on To Kill a Mockingbird. For more about this school and their mission to send every student to college, check out Edutopia's Schools that Work coverage in “College Bound Culture in Houston.”
Rubric Tips, Tricks, and Strategies
Though many of these tips, tricks, and strategies come from sources that mention high school contexts, the methods discussed are also relevant to middle school classrooms and teachers.
- Interactive Rubrics as Assessment for Learning (Edutopia, 2013)
Guest blogger Michelle Lampinen describes how she reverse-engineered a rubric for student assessment that includes links and QR codes.
- Speed Up Grading with Rubric Codes (Cult of Pedagogy, 2014)
Are you struggling to get through all of your grading? In the featured video, Jennifer Gonzalez explains how to use rubric codes to speed up the process of providing students with written feedback.
- Grading with Student-Created Assessments (Center for Teaching Quality, 2012)
Teacher Dave Orphal describes his experiences involving his students in the creation of their grading rubric -- the process, the results, and his reflections on the experience.
- Google & Doctopus…Say Huh?! (Discovery Education, 2014)
Jay Atwood has created a helpful walkthrough of Goobric, a Chrome extension that can be used in conjunction with Doctopus to facilitate the process of scoring student work with rubrics and sharing feedback via Google Drive.
Teacher Self-Evaluation With Rubrics
- How Can We Make Assessments Meaningful? (Edutopia, 2012)
Blogger and middle school teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron describes how she uses rubrics to help her determine whether or not her assessments are meaningful for students.
- Evaluating Myself with Rubrics (MiddleWeb, 2013)
Teacher Mary Tarashuk explains how she conducts self-evaluation using rubrics; to take a look at the rubrics she discusses, download "Teacher Evaluation Rubrics," from The Marshall Memo.
- Six-Step Rubric for Planning from King Middle School (Edutopia, 2010)
This list, developed by Expeditionary Learning and used at King Middle School, defines six areas of focus teachers can use to self-rate when planning project-based learning. For more about project-based learning at King Middle School and other schools, check out “Project-Based Learning in Maine” from Edutopia’s Schools that Work.
- Middle School Rubrics (Buck Institute for Education)
The Buck Institute for Education has a library of rubrics that can be used to assess project-based learning; they even have a rubric for rubrics that can help you avoid common pitfalls when creating rubrics.
- Measuring Growth, Part 1: Origin of the Self-Evaluation Rubrics (The Compass Project, 2012)
This post describes a series of rubrics inspired by Carol Dweck's research on growth mindsets, created by Jon Bender, a former middle school teacher. Take a look at his two status and progress rubrics, intended to help students measure personal learning progress and growth. The New Tech Network, a nonprofit that works with schools and districts to help reform learning through project-based learning, has also developed a middle school rubric for measuring student growth.
- Assessment and Rubrics (Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything)
Kathy Schrock has compiled a large number of links to rubrics that work for various types of assignments and projects; she also includes links to information about rubrics and rubric creation tools.
How do you use rubrics in your classroom? Are there other types of resources you'd like to see, or do you know of other useful resources? Please share your feedback in the comments.