Create an Original Rubric

Part two in a five-part series

Learning to create rubrics is like learning anything valuable. It takes an initial time investment. Once the task becomes second nature, it actually saves time while creating a higher quality student product. The following template will help you get started:

  • Determine the concepts to be taught. What are the essential learning objectives?
  • Choose the criteria to be evaluated. Name the evidence to be produced.
  • Develop a grid. Plug in the concepts and criteria.
  • Share the rubric with students before they begin writing.
  • Evaluate the end product. Compare individual students' work with the rubric to determine whether they have mastered the content.

Fiction-writing content rubric

Criteria 4 3 2 1
PLOT: "What" and "Why" Both plot parts are fully developed. One of the plot parts is fully developed and the less developed part is at least addressed. Both plot parts are addressed but not fully developed. Neither plot parts are fully developed.
SETTING: "When" and "Where" Both setting parts are fully developed. One of the setting parts is fully developed and the less developed part is at least addressed. Both setting parts of the story are addressed but not fully developed. Neither setting parts are developed.
CHARACTERS "Who" Described by behavior, appearance, personality, and character traits. The main characters are fully developed with much descriptive detail. The reader has a vivid image of the characters. The main characters are developed with some descriptive detail. The reader has a vague idea of the characters. The main characters are identified by name only. None of the characters are developed or named.

In the above example, the concepts include the plot, setting, and characters. The criteria are the who, what, where, when, and why parts of the story. The grid is the physical layout of the rubric. Sharing the rubric and going over it step-by-step is necessary so that students will understand the standards by which their work will be judged. The evaluation is the objective grade determined by the teacher.

The teacher determines the passing grade. For instance, if all three concepts were emphasized, a passing grade of 3 in all three concepts might be required. If any part of the story fell below a score of 3, then that particular concept would need to be re-taught and rewritten with specific teacher feedback.

In another example, suppose a teacher emphasized only one concept, such as character development. A passing grade of "3" in character development may constitute a passing grade for the whole project. The purpose in writing all three parts of the story would be to gain writing experience and get feedback for future work.

Share the rubric with students prior to starting the project. It should be visible at all times on a bulletin board or distributed in a handout. Rubrics help focus teaching and learning time by directing attention to the key concepts and standards that students must meet.

Rubrics: An Overview
Rubrics Part One: The Advantages of Rubrics
Rubrics Part Three: Analytic vs. Holistic Rubrics
Rubrics Part Four: How to Weight Rubrics
Rubrics Part Five: Student-Generated Rubrics

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