21st Century Learning
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8 Sites to Help Teachers Find and Create Rubrics

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Rubrics have been around for a long time and, while multiple choice and right or wrong answers are much easier to assess and mark, they are the assessment tool popular with the 21st century crowd. Once created, rubrics are a great way to demonstrate to students how they have achieved their marks and how they are being assessed. In other words, students know what constitutes a “5 out of 5” because all the descriptors are there describing to the student what they need to do to get that perfect score.

For teachers, even though rubrics are at the top of the assessment tool pyramid, they are, quite frankly not the easiest to create or manage. Creating them means a lot more work for the teacher as you have to fill out descriptors for each level and for the multiple areas you are assessing. A well-constructed rubric evaluates students’ knowledge and provides a teacher self- assessment by allowing the teacher to instruct the criteria or characteristics found in the rubric (Reeves & Stanford, 2009).

A good rubric has criteria that…

  • Are linked to standards and student objectives
  • Are logically ordered (if applicable)
  • Are written in clear, concise, student-friendly language
  • Are defined by levels of descriptors (Level 5 = exemplary, Level 3 = meeting the standard, Level 1 = Poor)

A good rubric has descriptors that

  • Are evenly graduated from the highest to the lowest level
  • Are measurable
  • Include elements that are present at all levels and in the same order
  • Can be used by teachers effectively and efficiently to assess student learning (From http://educ6040fall09.wikispaces.com/Rubrics)

In recent years a number of tools have become available online to help teachers create, manage and use rubrics more effectively and efficiently. I was reminded of this as I was playing around with the newest of these tool, ForAllRubrics, which I have listed below among some of the others I have used in the past. As I have learned over the years of being a teacher, why reinvent the wheel? If someone else has already created a rubric you can use, why spend the time doing it yourself? You may have to tweak it a little, but in the end, you have a great assessment document which took a lot less time to create. The trick is not to lose it! Some of these tools are also coming up with ways to integrate with the new wave of technology advances coming into the classroom including the iproducts.

So, below are 8 sites to help you find, create and manage your rubrics.

Rubrics4Teachers

Rubrics4Teachers offers a LOT of pre-made rubrics covering a variety of subjects that are available for your use. You can search by subject matter or by term. This is a great site with a lot of free content, though the focus is on already created rubrics, not make-your-own.

Rubistar

Rubistar is an easy to use online rubric makers that also offers accounts (so you can store and access the rubrics you make), templates, and pre-made rubrics for a variety of subjects. Everything on the site is free. Despite the retro look (Not a compliment! Editorial note: Many edtech sites are realizing that design is important to teachers who spend a lot of time using technology during the school day and especially after the school day is done. However, there are still lots out there who still seem to be enjoying the 90’s experience and don’t want to update. I’m talking about you, Rubistar!) This site is my first go-to site when looking for a rubric as it is probably the longest running aggregator of community created rubrics. Though you will find a lot of unfinished rubrics that people started to work on but then abandoned, you can usually find something you can at least adapt and use even it is just some of the wordage.

iRubric

iRubric is a pretty great tool. This is one of the rubric creators that have made the leap to the 21st century with it’s ability to be used on devices such as the iPad.  It offers rubric building tools, and a searchable database of pre-existing rubrics from other teachers. Some of the other features include (from the website), the ability to build a rubric in minutes using the Rubric Studio. Rubrics can be built from scratch or from exiting rubrics. You can assess rubrics in seconds. Student grades are automatically saved in the gradebook and a copy of the scored rubric with your notes is securely displayed to individual learners. Share rubrics with tens of thousands of other members in the rubric gallery. Find a rubric you like and re-purpose it for your use in a few clicks, and bookmark rubrics for future reference. Collaboratively assess rubrics with your groups, classes and other individuals. The site itself attempts to be clean and intuitive but it is a little overwhelming with information and tabs everywhere. However, it is one of the first to be more interactive and portable.

Rubrics and the Digital Taxonomy

The Digital Taxonomy site is a wiki with pdf’s of rubrics you can use to assess the various skills in integrating digital technology into the class. There are not many rubrics on the site but the ones that are there are well done and could help provide a springboard to creating your own. The rubrics available cover digital bookmarking, blogging, advanced search, threaded discussion, search, wiki editing, collaboration, using elluminate etc,Skype, IWB use, IWB taxonomy, collaborative editing using online WP, questioning, data analysis, blog commenting, podcasting, digital publishing and creating storyboards.

The Rubric Maker

Use the Rubric Maker to make customized assessments for student work. You can create rubrics for primary, elementary, middle, and high school. The default text has been written to be appropriate for each level. After choosing a title and grade level for the rubric, you will be able to choose and edit a variety of existing performances, as well as create performances specific to the content your class is studying. It has samples you can use for primary, elementary and secondary. Not a lot here but simple and straightforward.

Joyce Valenza’s Rubric Site

Looking for more? Well, Joyce Valenza’s Rubric site probably covers anything you could possibly want for a rubric. This site is more a aggregated list of sites with rubrics than anything. So, you will have to do your own searching through but it has lots of great resources for you to find as well as commentary on rubrics and their use in the classroom by some top educational thinkers including Larry Ferlazzo, Kathy Shrock and more!

Teach-nology Rubrics

http://www.teach-nology.com/web_tools/rubrics/

At the Teach-nology site dedicated to discussing rubrics, you will find tools that help guide you through the process of creating these assessment tools for evaluating student performance. You will also find over five hundred printable rubrics on the web site.

ForAllRubrics

I’ve saved the best one for last. ForAllRubrics allows you to easily create your own rubrics. However, the best thing is that you can complete rubrics on iPads, tablets or your phone and have it compute your scores automatically. So, not only can you have the rubrics stored on your computer or ipad anytime you want to use it but you can also use the rubric and score your students right within the app or website. Of course, you can always print the rubrics or save it as a PDF or spreadsheet! Don’t worry if you don’t have a connection. ForAllRubrics also allows you to collect data offline with no internet access. It also analyzes the data you collect giving you a look at student progress over time. They also have a bank of rubrics over users have created though it is small at this time. It has a more intuitive and thought through design for the site and is easier to use than iRubric, in my opinion.

Having looked at lots of rubric makers and rubric sites, I will be using ForAllRubrics this year in combination with Rubistar which has always been my go-to rubric maker of choice, though more for the rubrics others have made than for the ability to make a rubric. Rubistar has a great collection of user generated rubrics where you can usually find even the most niche of assessments for a project or something close enough that you can adapt. Once I have my rubric, I will put it in the ForAllRubrics so I can assess on the fly. Thinking about it more, this would be great for group work and participation assessments as you are wandering around watching your students work!