A more practical approach to self-assessment rubrics (?)

Self-assessment rubrics sound like a great idea in theory.  [My] thinking goes something like this… “I’ll have my students complete the rubric themselves first! It will make them reflect thoughtfully on their work and will save me some painful conversations about why a student scored poorly.” The rubric is distributed. Time is set aside in class or expected to be submitted along with the final product. And then the scores come in and oh-no…

This winter I’m trying something different with my adult learners. Using Google Forms, I created a self-assessment checklist of sorts, where students are more deliberately walked through the meta-cognitive work I previously imagined students would do, but often found myself completing anyway. The link to the original rubric is public and I’m interested in receiving feedback from other educators who have had their own experiences with this work and/or tried their own versions of what I’m calling a “scaffolded rubric.”


The header to my Online Participation Self-Assessment, viewable here.

This particular rubric focuses on “participation”, a score included in Standards Based Grading classrooms at their own peril, but a critical part of any online learning classroom like the ones I facilitate a few times a year. The rubric focuses on five participation components. Instead of having students simply read and score themselves outright on a full page rubric, students first work through a series of questions that require them to actively think about each component, such as contributions to the learning community, references to respected data or literature, and relevance to the questions being asked. Some questions ask them to look back on their work specifically and quote their text. Others simply have them consider simple yes/no questions. Each question is meant to have the student actively engage in thinking about the specific criteria to be scored before self-assessing and submitting their scores.


I have no illusions that this will satisfy every grading discrepancy to be encountered. Some students will continue to quick click and score themselves highly whether they are pressed for time or hedging that I will be too busy myself to reflect and construct counter-claims to their scores. But by asking the questions in this way I’m making my best effort to simulate the conversation a teacher might have with their students in a classroom setting before asking students to self-assess.

I’m very open to feedback on this process and will likely return to this post again in April after I’ve worked through a four week module using the new Google Form assessment. I’m also interested in hearing from teachers of younger students who have applied similar methods to their rubrics. Please share your thoughts, ideas, concerns, or links to your own such rubrics in the comments below!

About Sean Musselman

Teacher Dad and Burlington MA Schools K-5 Science and Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator. NSTA Professional Development facilitator and author of "Think Like a Scientist: Investigating Weather and Climate" NSTA Kids ebook.
This entry was posted in Digital Tools, Professional Reflections. Bookmark the permalink.

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