Project assessment. Long live the rubric!
Assessment is important, as we all know. Good assessment helps us to know if we’ve achieved our goals and what points we could improve. In fact, assessment is a great support in learning, for both the teacher and the pupil. So, when planning a project we must also include assessments from the start.
When working on eTwinning projects we usually work on more parts of the curriculum, as the tasks include, apart from the contents of the different areas, many basic skills, abilities and attitudes. While the contents can be assessed, e.g. with a written exam based on questions to assess the BC, skills and attitudes, it will be necessary to use other assessment tools. Apart from choosing the most appropriate assessment tool for what you want to assess, we must also take into account when to assess. There are usually time-consuming tasks in projects so it’s useful to assess before finishing the task, giving us the opportunity to correct and improve what’s been done so far.
In the project design it’s important to use assessment criteria related to our curriculum as the basis, because these enable us to make it operational and give it life.
So how do we produce the criteria and, in general, project Assessment?
As we started to say, there are many tools and methodologies to do this (forms, tests, portfolios,..). However, one that can provide great value and assist in common knowledge of the starting point and the end we want to achieve is the rubric.
We’d now like to consider what assessment with rubrics is, how to do it and the potential they can have. Before continuing we might ask ourselves: what is a rubric?
A rubric is a set of criteria and learning standards related to the learning objectives that help us to assess the level of performance or achievement of the tasks or projects proposed. It’s an assessment tool that provides transparency and simplifies the assessment.
For a rubric to be transparent and effective, it’s essential that it’s offered to pupils from the beginning. Pupils thereby know how to go on and feel guided throughout the process. In addition, it also helps participation significantly and gives a sense of “justice” to these assessments. It is therefore advisable to offer pupils the opportunity to participate in creating rubrics, thus ensuring that they understand and share them.
There are two types of rubrics: Holistic rubrics and analytic rubrics. In the case of quality criteria in an eTwinning project the type of rubric considered is usually holistic, i.e. an approach to achieve an overall assessment of the project and what we want to achieve with the group at the end.
Simplified rubric to assess eTwinning projects. For full rubric click here
We also have analytic rubrics to assess the project procedure, phases or tasks in more detail, thereby achieving specific, necessary information about certain content and skills we want our pupils to achieve.
Example of analytic rubric in group activity, building cardboard hotels over several weeks (in the eTwinning tourists in 5 star hotels project).
There are different types of assessment (depending on the time, according to the purpose, according to the agent..) that must be considered in the design of our project or activity to make a truly enriching and full assessment. We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that assessment is a process that involves all educators. And in this case, we do therefore propose the use of rubrics as a tool to involve the whole community, from the beginning and throughout the whole teaching and learning process.
In co-assessment, (consisting of peer assessment) thanks to the rubric we have a series of criteria defined by everyone, so that they can assess and receive feedback from their peers and knowing at all times what’s important to consider and how to improve it.
In self-assessment each pupil can assess their own performance, from the first moment, during the process and until the end.
Last but not least, hetero-assessment involves assessment between different levels, e.g. teachers by pupils (less usual) or pupils by teachers. The rubric becomes especially important here. What should pupils (and ourselves) consider to assess certain activities or projects? Whatever we get from this assessment of teachers by pupils (often forgotten) will help us, besides getting to know the difficulties of our pupils and how to improve the actual approach, to maintain the satisfaction and motivation of our students.
Example of a rubric for co- and self-assessment of teamwork in building a cardboard hotel over several weeks (eTwinning tourists in 5 star hotels project).
To put the use of these rubrics into a practical context for these assessments, after an activity we can consider the possibility of the pupil self-assessing their own activity, assessing the work of classmates (peer assessment) and assessing the actual activity designed by the teacher (hetero-assessment). By practicing the three types of assessment (not necessarily all in the same activity) pupils will learn that mistakes are an opportunity to learn rather than evidence of failure.
As we have seen, in such assessments, rubrics can provide a lot of information about how the work is going and the results achieved to track the entire process.
There are rubric banks open for use and modification, like the following ones, which can help you start using them:
We don’t want to finish without saying that, in addition to rubrics, there are other ways to assess and that, whenever they’re added, can greatly enrich our work. This involves designing what we want to achieve very clearly first and using all the assessment tools we have for this.
We hope this article has helped you to understand a little better what rubrics are and what they’re used for. We encourage you to try the rubric, and discover for yourselves all the possibilities they offer us. To the rubric!
Image Source: Openphoto: anarebolledok