Rubrics! The mere word can inspire both excitement and dread in my teacher heart. Excitement because the rubric will "once and for all" help my students understand the expectations for successfully demonstrating their learning. Dread...because, well...sometimes rubrics actually make grading harder for me (I have to decide...is it a 3 or a 4? Maybe a 3.5? Oh no...).
Hear me out. Grading is a tricky subject to tackle. Many educators feel very passionately about how and why they grade the way that they do. Heck, there are Ed Codes written about grading. (You can read California's Ed Code on grading here if you are so inclined.)
I am NOT here to change your mind about what we grade and why. However, a few years ago I read an article from Jennifer Gonzalez on the Single Point Rubric. It seriously changed my grading for the better! You can read her blog post here, but basically, a single-point rubric (SPR) is a streamlined rubric that focuses on the criteria for learning in a single column.
I have used SPRs with both my middle school students, as well as my university graduate students. My top takeaways after using SPRs:
They helped me focus on what I really needed to assess from the project.
Allowed for focus on the expectation and standard for the learning, not "pretty points" (unless that was the expectation).
I had to re-examine my directions...how can I assess something that was ambiguous or not evident?
SPRs provided opportunities to give personalized feedback-both for "glows" and "grows." The student gets to see/read what they are doing well, as well as give the opportunity to review their work and possibly resubmit using the suggestions.
Reduces ambiguity in grading practices with parents and caregivers.
A huge bonus! Templates for SPRs are easy to make! There literally can be as many criteria in the center column as your project/assessment. Because SPRs are tailored to student learning outcomes, pre-made forms aren't always faster or easier. However, I do love a model or template to refer back to. I made this template as an example (and freebie) using Canva (bonus: Canva is free for K-12 verified educators).
You may notice that there are no set "points" assigned for the criteria column. This is intentional. As I mentioned above, grading can be very personal for educators. You can assign as many points for each criterion in the center column, however, it is wise to remember that this rubric also is a feedback form. The more streamlined and consistent the grading, the better. Personally, I have used any number of combinations of points assigned for the criteria, but keep the column consistent so that the student understands that there is equal value to each criterion.
You can make your own copy of the SPR template here! I would love to hear your experiences and feedback on using Single Point Rubrics with your students.