Creating Kid-Friendly Rubrics

Phase 4 Rubric

Assessing student work with rubrics has become commonplace for many teachers. For those who need a little encouragement or a couple suggestions as to how to improve their classroom rubrics, let me give you some thoughts to ponder.

When building a rubric for a writing assignment or upcoming project, consider building it with your students. Often teachers make a rubric on their own and then "go over" it with the kids. With this approach, students have very little ownership and may not even understand some of the language within the rubric. The power of a rubric built with the students is that it’s kid-friendly because it is written using their own words and language. It also tends to make peer and self-assessment much more effective.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Starting with the description of a “good” piece, work together to list the criteria you want to assess and describe the qualities of this "good" one.
  2. Then, move onto the description of a “pretty good” piece. Be sure to parallel the same ingredients or components from the "good" one in the "pretty good" one.
  3. Continue through this process for at least three levels, including as many as you want.

You might go back and label the different levels with grades, or points, or simply label them Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, etc.

Maureen Scane, Sunman Elementary Maureen created this kid-friendly rubric with her fourth graders before the students created their Indiana History Timelines.

Content Literacy