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middle school writing rubrics
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About this printout
This rubric delineates specific expectations about an essay assignment to students and provides a means of assessing completed student essays.
Teaching with this printout
More ideas to try.
Grading rubrics can be of great benefit to both you and your students. For you, a rubric saves time and decreases subjectivity. Specific criteria are explicitly stated, facilitating the grading process and increasing your objectivity. For students, the use of grading rubrics helps them to meet or exceed expectations, to view the grading process as being “fair,” and to set goals for future learning. In order to help your students meet or exceed expectations of the assignment, be sure to discuss the rubric with your students when you assign an essay. It is helpful to show them examples of written pieces that meet and do not meet the expectations. As an added benefit, because the criteria are explicitly stated, the use of the rubric decreases the likelihood that students will argue about the grade they receive. The explicitness of the expectations helps students know exactly why they lost points on the assignment and aids them in setting goals for future improvement.
- Routinely have students score peers’ essays using the rubric as the assessment tool. This increases their level of awareness of the traits that distinguish successful essays from those that fail to meet the criteria. Have peer editors use the Reviewer’s Comments section to add any praise, constructive criticism, or questions.
- Alter some expectations or add additional traits on the rubric as needed. Students’ needs may necessitate making more rigorous criteria for advanced learners or less stringent guidelines for younger or special needs students. Furthermore, the content area for which the essay is written may require some alterations to the rubric. In social studies, for example, an essay about geographical landforms and their effect on the culture of a region might necessitate additional criteria about the use of specific terminology.
- After you and your students have used the rubric, have them work in groups to make suggested alterations to the rubric to more precisely match their needs or the parameters of a particular writing assignment.
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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
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.
Blogger Andrew Miller shares his experiences and suggestions for creating and using rubrics that will make students' -- and teachers' -- lives much easier.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 .”
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.
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.
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.
Guest blogger Michelle Lampinen describes how she reverse-engineered a rubric for student assessment that includes links and QR codes.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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 .
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.