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Avoiding FRACK-ing by Building Better Writing Rubrics

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A teaching demo/presentation by Adam Babcock for the University of Illinois Writing Project (uiwp) 2012 Summer Institute. Presented July 5, 2012.

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Avoiding FRACK-ing by Building Better Writing Rubrics

  1. 1. Let’s start today with…A reply toblog.adambabcok.com¡ What is the worst rubric-related situation you’ve ever been in?¡ Alternately, what’s been the best rubric-related situation you’ve been in? Keep this tab open… we will use my website in a little bit.
  2. 2. Avoiding FRACK-ing byBuilding Better Writing RubricsA teaching demo/presentation by Adam Babcock for theUniversity of Illinois Writing Project (uiwp) 2012 SummerInstitute. Presented July 5, 2012.
  3. 3. STUDENT: _____________________________ Danville New Tech B.o.B. Compare-Contrast EVALUATOR: ______________ DATE: _______ UNSATISFACTORY PROFICIENT ADVANCED CONTENT (Below Performance Standards) (Minimal Criteria) (Demonstrates Exceptional Performance)  Introduction is missing  An introduction paragraph In addition to meeting  the  PROFICIENT  criteria… Engl  Transitions between body paragraphs Content  There are less than four body  “Hooks”  the  audience  with  an  attention-getter paragraphs add to the flow of the entire essay. See resources in Echo. (75pts)  Conclusion is missing  Has a clear thesis / purpose statement  Does not follow suggested  Four body paragraphs in TEEL-Con format format  First body paragraph compares similarities between the branches  Three body paragraphs contrast the branches  A concluding paragraph sums up the inter-connectedness of the three branches 0- - - - - - - - 22 - - - - - - - 45 52 - - - - - - - - - - - - 58 - - - - - - - - - - - - 65 68 - - - - - - - - - - - - 72 - - - - - - - - - - - - 75  Essay shows weak  Similarities paragraph makes three/3 specific references to In  addition  to  meeting  the  PROFICIENT  criteria… Gov understanding of the function, similarities in how the branches embody the six principles of  Paper illustrates an in-depth knowledge Content powers or branches of government and understanding of each branch of government (75pts) government  Contrast body paragraphs each make two/2 specific references to power, job requirements, representation, etc differences in each body paragraphs  A concluding paragraph sums up the inter-connectedness of the three branches 0- - - - - - - - 22 - - - - - - - 45 52 - - - - - - - - - - - - 58 - - - - - - - - - - - - 65 68 - - - - - - - - - - - - 72 - - - - - - - - - - - - 75 TOTAL CONTENT_____________/150:  Spelling errors distracts the  Sentence-ending punctuation is perfect In  addition  to  meeting  the  PROFICIENT  criteria  …Grammar / reader from the content of  Spelling errors do not distract reader from the content  Spelling is perfect WC the essay  Sentences show varied structure  All proper nouns are properly capitalized  Grammatical errors distract  Verbs agree with their subjects the reader from the content  Sentences are complete; no fragments (25pts) of the essay 0 - - - - - - - - - 8 - - - - - - - 16 17 - - - - - - - - - - - - 19 - - - - - - - - - - - - 21 23 - - - - - - - - - - - -24 - - - - - - - - - - - - 25   1”  margins  all  aroundMLA Format In addition to meeting the PROFICIENT criteria  First-page heading … / WC  Subsequent pages are numbered with last name preceding.  Spelling is perfect (25pts)  Double-spaced throughout  A creative title hints at the purpose of the  Times New Roman font throughout essay but does not use the words “compare”  or  “contrast” 0 - - - - - - - - - 8 - - - - - - - 16 17 - - - - - - - - - - - - 19 - - - - - - - - - - - - 21 23 - - - - - - - - - - - -24 - - - - - - - - - - - - 25 TOTAL Written Comm_____________/150:
  4. 4. Q2 PBL Process + Writing¡  Introduce “Entry Document” / “Event” ¡  Know & Need-to-Know group/class discussion¡  Begin prelim research/scaffolding activities¡  Introduce Rubric ¡  Know & Need-to-Know group/class discussion¡  Continue research/scaffolding activities¡  Modeling TEEL-Con + in-class writing time¡  Draft body paragraphs due ¡  Some written notes¡  “Top 5” notes from across the drafts presented to class¡  Model intro and conclusion paragraphs¡  Final draft with write-ups…and they get tossed.
  5. 5. STUDENT: _____________________________ Danville New Tech | MBL Cause-Effect Essay EVALUATOR: ______________ DATE: _______ CONTENT UNSATISFACTORY PROFICIENT ADVANCED o Introduction is missing o An introduction paragraph In  addition  to  meeting  the  PROFICIENT  criteria… Paper o Transitions between body paragraphs add to theComposition o There are less than three body o “Hooks”  the  audience  with  an  attention-getter (a quote, cited flow of the entire essay paragraphs statistic, anecdote, shocking statement, etc) (75pts o Conclusion is missing o Author  avoids  any  “pointing”  language  in  his/her   o Has a clear thesis / purpose statement writing (In  this  essay…This  is  because…etc) Content) o Does not follow suggested format, which in turn detracts o At least three/3 body paragraphs in TEEL-Con format o Extra body paragraphs add depth to the from the understanding of the o A concluding paragraph sums and gives final thoughts on the causes discussion of causes and effects essay and effects of gang activity/involvement o Author  does  not  use  the  first  person  /  “I” voice in his/her writing 0- - - - - - - - 22 - - - - - - - 45 46 - - - - - - - - - - - - 58 - - - - - - - - - - - - 67 68 - - - - - - - - - - - - 72 - - - - - - - - - - - - 75 o Essay shows weak o The Example/Evidence sentences of the TEEL-Con use two/2 specific In  addition  to  meeting  the  PROFICIENT  criteria… Research & o Paper illustrates an in-depth knowledge andMLA Citations understanding of the and cited references to either My Bloody Life, episodes of Gangland or function, powers or other research understanding of the causes and effects of branches of government gang activity/involvement. (75pts o TEEL-Con Links tie the Example/Evidence back to the Cause/Effect o The paper may make references to sociological Content) o A Works Cited page in MLA format has the following: theories, etc o The paper makes references to The o Works Cited as the title of the page Interrupters or research produced by Ceasefire (the group in charge of The Interrupters) o At least four/4 sources sorted alphabetically and with information required to easily find the source/publication/article o Lines  after  the  first  of  the  entry  are  “hanging” 0- - - - - - - - 22 - - - - - - - 45 46 - - - - - - - - - - - - 58 - - - - - - - - - - - - 67 68 - - - - - - - - - - - - 72 - - - - - - - - - - - - 75 TOTAL Content_____________/150: o Spelling errors distracts the o Sentence-ending punctuation is perfect / Spelling errors do not distract Grammar In  addition  to  meeting  the  PROFICIENT  criteria  … reader from the content of reader from the content / All proper nouns are properly capitalized o Spelling is perfect the essay (25pts WC) o Verbs agree with their subjects o Sentences show varied structure o Semicolons are used in sentences that have a o Grammatical errors distract o Sentences are complete; no fragments relationship the reader from the content of the essay o There are no run-ons or “half-fixed”  comma  splices 0 - - - - - - - - - 8 - - - - - - - 15 16 - - - - - - - - - - - - 19 - - - - - - - - - - - - 22 23 - - - - - - - - - - - -24 - - - - - - - - - - - - 25 o Margins, line spacing or o 1”  margins;;  all  text  is  left-aligned; 12pt Times New Roman font; andMLA Format In  addition  to  meeting  the  PROFICIENT  criteria  … alignment are not per MLA lines are double-spaced throughout paper specifications o A creative title hints at the purpose of the essay (25pts WC) o First-page heading includes name of student; name of teacher; course name; and due date but  does  not  use  the  words  “cause”  or  “effect” o A title is centered beneath the heading o Repeating, right-aligned header includes last name and page number o If GoogleDocs was used, none of the page bottoms were cut off because student/author used Download As > PDF to render the essay 0 - - - - - - - - - 8 - - - - - - - 15 16 - - - - - - - - - - - - 19 - - - - - - - - - - - - 22 23 - - - - - - - - - - - -24 - - - - - - - - - - - - 25 TOTAL Written Comm_____________/50:
  6. 6. Q3 PBL Process + Writing¡  Introduce “Entry Document” / “Event” ¡  Know & Need-to-Know group/class discussion¡  Begin prelim research/scaffolding activities¡  Introduce Rubric ¡  Know & Need-to-Know group/class discussion¡  Continue research/scaffolding activities¡  Modeling TEEL-Con + in-class writing time¡  Draft intro + concl. paragraphs due ¡  GoogleDocs comment feedback to guide revision¡  “Top 5” notes from across the drafts as guide to revision¡  Model intro and conclusion paragraphs¡  Final draft with write-ups…and they get tossed
  7. 7. Is it a problem with my rubrics?In a school culture with a rubric for everything…¡  What do I want to measure with the scales (3-col. vs 4-col.)? ¡  What categories or learning outcomes do I have available?¡  When do we give the rubric in the writing process?¡  What activities can it be useful for? (Beyond goal-setting, etc?)¡  How can rubrics look more like a tool for feedback not just evaluation?¡  What can technology do to help in any of these processes?
  8. 8. Concept for my videoF=formulaicR=requirementsA=andC=creativityK=kill-ing rubrics
  9. 9. The scholars weigh in:9 Rights of Every Writer¡  Right to be assessed well ¡  “Rubrics mirror what we value, so it is important that we not leave out what we care about” (p.101)¡  Right to go beyond formula ¡  “Counting is simple. Thinking is hard -- hard to achieve and, consequently, hard to assess. Formula lets us off the hook... ‘Let me do the hard thinking for you -- and you just fill in the blanks.’”p.121
  10. 10. The scholars weigh inSupporters/Users¡  “Ultimately, we do not fail to reward risk taking because a rubric tells us we should. We fail to reward risk taking because we do not value it enough-yet. It isnt rubrics pushing us around but our own lack of courage, our unwillingness to let go of tired formulas and embrace the complexity of truly fine writing…A rubric is ultimately a two-way commitment, a reader-writer contract that says, ‘If you write with thought and with heart, I will understand, and I will hear you...I will allow you [the student] to teach me.’” ~ Vicki Spandell (p. 21) “In Defense of Rubrics”¡  “[A] rubric is a tool…The law of distal diminishment says that any educational tool becomes less instructionally useful and more potentially damaging to educational integrity-the farther away from the classroom it originates or travels.” (p. 87-88) ~ Eric D. Turley and Chris W. Gallagher “On the Uses of Rubrics: Reframing the Great Rubric Debate”¡  “Instructional rubrics can provide the scaffolding that students need to become self-regulated writers…. Teachers commonly use assessment rubrics to score and grade student work, but instructional rubrics also serve another, arguably more important, role: They teach as well as evaluate.” (p. 49) ~Bruce Saddler & Heidi Andrade “The Writing Rubric: Instructional rubrics can help students become self-regularted writers”
  11. 11. The scholars weigh inThe “Hate”¡  “Encouraged by the performance levels on the rubric to rank students against an external standard, our readings of student work are based firmly in a deficit model. We look for mistakes, inconsistences and unclear thinking to justify which square in the matrix we will circle.” (p. 30)¡  “When I go to write something, I think of the mind as a harp I’ve got to learn how to play…When I write well, you can hear this music…Throw a rubric on the table, and I’m writing for a piece of paper. This piece of paper has no life experience to mix up with mine.” (p. 52)¡  “When tell him… his essay will be outsourced to a paid reader…The student understands, without knowing the jargon, that the rhetorical context of the writing prompt has been lost.” (p. 76)~ Maja Wilson in Rethinking Rubrics
  12. 12. Contentions:¡  Good rubrics can only support writing prompts that ask students to inquire or connect their writing back to driving/essential questions.¡  Rubrics communicate the values of the evaluator, so they should be localized to the immediate writing community in the classroom through collaboration and other forms of “talk”.¡  “Talk” about rubrics (before, during and after the writing process) and guided choice in writing risks can be leveraged to act on critical thinking.
  13. 13. Good rubric or“developing” rubric?¡ Do you value “counting” in a writing class?¡ Are your students going to write for timed, A.P. this year?¡ What would you rather your students be thinking and making decisions about?
  14. 14. …and any ”Jane SchafferApproach” to teaching writing!
  15. 15. Good rubric or“developing” rubric?¡ Is it “accessible” to all of your students?¡ Does is encourage critical thinking about writing process and the choices in writing?¡ Do the points “make sense” and translate to your gradebook?¡ Is it “instructional”?
  16. 16. F I G U R E 1 4th Grade Rubric for a Mock Interview of a Person f r o r r) History 4 3 2 1Content My essay includes My essay includes 1 answered the 1 have too few answers to all the answers to all the required questions tions, or my qu required questions and required questions. but made up fewer are trivial or irr to at least five ques- including five of my than five of my own. The answers 1 tions of my own. My own, but some answers Some answers are are mostly inco answers are complete are incomplete, 1 have a incomplete or incorrect. or incorrect. and factual- [ have a bibliography. My bibliography is bibliography. incomplete.Organization My first paragraph 1 have an introduction. The questions and The questions a introduces the person a body, and a conclu- answers are in order. answers are ou interviewed and gives sion, but the introduc- but my paper has no logical sequenc highlights of the inter- tion (or conclusion) is introduction, no paper has no in view. The body of my too brief or incomplete. conclusion, and no tion, no conclu essay answers the main idea. and no main id questions in a logical order, 1 have a conclu- sion that gives a wrap-up.Word Choice 1 use a variety of 1 use a variety of words 1 do not use a variety 1 repeat simple sophisticated words- correctly. of words, but 1 use 1 use big word
  17. 17. Collaborative Activity“Better Rubrics” (20 mins + 5 min. share-out)¡  Group formation: Divide into groups based on birth season (spring, summer, fall, winter)¡  Resources: from blog.adambabcok.com > hover over Extras > Building Better Rubrics > password = uiwp2012 > download both resources¡  Task: From the view that students should be producing writing that teaches… improve the “underdeveloped” rubrics into a scale that encourages active thinking about writers’ choices and effects. ¡  Spring > narrative ¡  Summer> explanatory/informative ¡  Fall > argumentative ¡  Winter> Paragraph-level¡  You group is driven by the question: How can we, as teachers, build rubrics that reflect critical thinking that we expect using Bloom’s taxonomy or other rubrics for critical thinking?
  18. 18. Continue the discussion¡  When you get a chance today, I’d appreciate a response to some of the discussion / wrap-up discussion questions I’ve posted on my blog… J
  19. 19. Light at the end of Q4…¡  Release of new 4-cilumn rubrics has made assessment a little clearer¡  More frequent writing tasks (that ask for creativity)¡  Building graphic organizers into the entire presentation of the project launch and rubric¡  Prompts that “sit and question”, but rubrics that don’t
  20. 20. Conceptualizing the“Discovery Rubric” Scoring Rubric for Informational or Explanatory Template Tasks Scoring( Not(Yet( Approaches(Expectations( Meets(Expectations( Advanced( Elements( 1( ( 2( ( 3( ( 4( Addresses all aspects of prompt Attempts to address prompt, Addresses prompt appropriately, Addresses prompt appropriately andFocus( ( ( ( appropriately and maintains a strongly but lacks focus or is off-task.( but with a weak or uneven focus.( maintains a clear, steady focus.( developed focus.( Attempts to include disciplinary Briefly notes disciplinary content Accurately presents disciplinary content in explanations, but relevant to the prompt; shows basic Integrates relevant and accurate disciplinaryContent content relevant to the prompt with understanding of content is ( or uneven understanding of ( ( content with thorough explanations thatUnderstanding( sufficient explanations that weak; content is irrelevant, content; minor errors in demonstrate in-depth understanding.( demonstrate understanding.( inappropriate, or inaccurate.( explanation.( Demonstrates a command of standard Demonstrates and maintains a well- Attempts to demonstrate Demonstrates an uneven command English conventions and cohesion, developed command of standard English standard English conventions, of standard English conventions and with few errors. Response includes conventions and cohesion, with few errors. but lacks cohesion and control cohesion. Uses language and tone language and tone appropriate to the Response includes language and toneConventions( ( ( ( of grammar, usage, and with some inaccurate, audience, purpose, and specific consistently appropriate to the audience, mechanics. Sources are used inappropriate, or uneven features. requirements of the prompt. Cites purpose, and specific requirements of the without citation.( Inconsistently cites sources. sources using an appropriate format prompt. Consistently cites sources using an with only minor errors.( appropriate format.( Good writers value RISK-TAKING; sometimes, to keep your audience interested, you try a new approach. Here are some risks you could try out on this task/paper. Pick AT LEAST ONE risks to try below. Not(Yet Approaches(Expectations Meets(Expectations Advanced Consistently organizes paragraphs by one of the following organizational patterns: Some lapses in coherence or awkward Attempts to organize ideas, but use of the organizational structure • Description(Organization / lacks control of structural chosen. Organizational choice takes • Sequence( Author annotatesLayout( choice.( away from the information required of • Comparison( the paper in order the prompt.( • Cause>Effect( to provide reasons • Problem>Solution( for/against using a Attempts(perspective,(but(no( Perspective(is(inconsistent(or(awkward( Explain the information from a perspective different than your own or particularPerspective( information(required(of(the( and(distracts(the(reader(away(from(the( different from the third person – perhaps another person or an prompt(is(presented.( information(required(of(the(prompt.( object. How does he/she/it see or experience the event/process/info?( approach, noting Author(combines(information(with(a(story(or(voices(to(make(a(new( the intended piece:( and/or unintended Genre(collision(is(consistent(or( effects on the Alternative(genre(does(not(fit( • come(up(with(a(product(advertisement,(public(service( awkward(and(distracts(the(reader(away( audience.Genre(Collision( with(the(information(required(of( announcement(or(press(release( from(the(information(required(of(the( the(prompt.( • try(detective(fiction(or(sciJfi( prompt(rather(than(supports.( • write(a(company(brochure(about(how(they(go(about(making(this( product/chemical( Write your own risk here:Student- Choice is not executed. Choice detracts from the prompt. (Suggested
  21. 21. Engaging students withrubrics¡  (“Checklist” for completion)¡  Link (annotated?) mentor texts, how-tos and other resources to the electronic rubric categories¡  Grading mentor texts to “anchor” the standards¡  If electronic, tools of Adobe Acrobat ¡  Make PDFs of your rubric, and save a new one for each student with highlighting or audio feedback¡  Reflection
  22. 22. Personal goals for 2012-2013¡  Front-loading informative, argumentative and narrative terminology and identification activities at the beginning of the year¡  Scaffolding paragraph-writing only as claim, evidence and relevance¡  Regular Literacy Tasks (using only 3 rubric criteria) each week.¡  Attempting audio feedback for drafts when one-on-one is not feasible (still continuing “Top 5”)¡  Community-developed rubrics¡  Establishing more authentic audiences (letter-writing to Danville prison, writing kids’ books for elementary students?)¡  Students annotate their final GDoc products per Christina’s demo suggestion¡  At the end of each quarter, students develop a small portfolio and then revise one of the smaller Literacy Tasks using the “Discovery Rubric”.
  23. 23. Interested in learning moreabout PBL?Much of what I consider my tacit knowledge aboutrubrics now originally came from these greatorganizations:¡  Buck Institute for Education http://www.bie.org/¡  New Tech Network http://www.newtechnetwork.org/
  24. 24. References¡  Saddler, B., & Andrade, H. (2004). The writing rubric: Instructional rubrics can help students become self-regulated writers. Educational Leadership, 62(2), 48-52.¡  McGlothlin, D. Rubrics: How do you know a really good one when you see it?. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from Educational Service Center of Central Ohio website: http://www.escco.org¡  Popham, W. (2011). Classroom assessment : what teachers need to know. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.¡  Spandel, V. (2006, September). In Defense of Rubrics. English Journal. pp. 19-22.¡  Turley, E. D., & Gallagher, C. W. (2008). On the Uses of Rubrics: Refraining the Great Rubric Debate. English Journal, 97(4), 87-92.¡  Wilson, Maja. (2006) Rethinking rubrics in writing assessment / Portsmouth, NH : Heinemann.

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