How to Weight Rubrics:

Part four in a five-part series

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Why should students create their own rubrics?
Reading or listening to a teacher's expectations is very different for a student than creating and accomplishing his or her own goals. The purpose of inviting students to develop their own evaluation structure is to improve their motivation, interest, and performance in the project. As students' overall participation in school increases, they are likely to excel in it.

How can students create their own rubrics?
Students are motivated intrinsically to design their own assessment tool after experiencing project-based learning. Once students have invested a significant amount of time, effort, and energy into a project, they naturally want to participate in deciding how it will be evaluated. The knowledge gained through experience in a particular field of study provides the foundation for creating a useful rubric.

I decided to try out the possibility of student-created rubrics with my class when we did a project on bridges. The purpose of the project was for students to:

  • learn basic physics concepts.
  • apply fundamental mathematics principles.
  • develop technical reading and writing skills.

My third-grade class began the Bridge Project by poring through books, handouts, magazine articles, Internet sites, and pictures of bridges. The class was divided into four work groups of five students each. Each group decided on their own "Company Name" as well as who would fill the following department head positions: project director, architect, carpenter, transportation chief, and accountant. All students were required to help out in every department. Each group received $1.5 million (hypothetically) to purchase land and supplies.

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