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Analytical, Holistic & Developmental Rubrics

Instructor: Jennifer Carnevale

Jennifer has a dual master's in English literature/teaching and is currently a high school English teacher. She teaches college classes on the side.

There are many types of assignments a teacher can use to assess student growth, but what about the way in which we assess those assessments? In this lesson we will learn about different rubric types and the pros and cons of each.

Assessing Our Assessments

As teachers, our job is to teach and assess based on what we hope our students have learned from our lessons. But what is the best way to assess?

One of the most utilized assessment tools is called a rubric. A rubric is a document that explains the expectations of a student on an assignment or project. The rubric can analyze the skill, content knowledge, or behavior of a student and provide a graded outcome. There are many different types of rubrics, all of which can be customized for each assignment.

In this lesson, we will learn about different types of rubrics and how to format them for your individual needs.

Analytical Rubrics

An analytical rubric is used to assess different types of skills based on the student's level of mastery. In an analytical rubric, teachers will create a scale that rates the student's work. For example, one scale could create categories like Not Meeting Criteria, Needs Improvement, Satisfactory, and/or Exemplary. This rubric is set up like a grid. It has a point system on the top and criteria information on the left side. The terms are subject to change, but the overall intention is to assess a student's skill level.

Analytical rubrics answer such questions as: Where are my students in the learning process, and what do they need to work on? An analytical rubric will point the teacher in the direction of where a student is succeeding and where they are not meeting standards.

Pros and Cons

Ultimately, an analytical rubric assesses a student's strengths and weaknesses. The great part about using an analytical rubric is that you can weight each skill based on importance. For example, while evaluating a research paper, the weight of citations could be worth 50 points, while grammar and spelling could be worth 10, depending on your individual intention.

While this type of rubric can offer many positives in regards to grading and assessing skill, the rubric can take a lot of time to create, since it is so personalized to a specific assignment. You wouldn't be able to use the same rubric for an English paper as you would for science since the expectations are vastly different. On top of that, each teacher may interpret the contents of the analytical rubric differently. Therefore, an assignment may be evaluated differently by different teachers.

Developmental Rubrics

Developmental rubrics are closely related to analytical rubrics insofar as they also measure skill based on a weighted system. However, developmental rubrics are not looking at a finished product or end result like analytical rubrics. They are geared toward assessing student weakness, connecting to the idea of, ''what are my students not taking away from my lessons?'' This type of rubric has a smaller scope in terms of what it is assessing, whereas the analytical rubric is looking at an entire assignment.

Pros and Cons

The advantage of the developmental rubric is there is not a grade attached to the assignment, and students don't have to complete an assignment to use it. The teacher can use this rubric to see where a student is at without having students panic over the grade. Developmental rubrics can help focus the attention of the student and the teacher back on the skills at hand and not the end resulting grade.

For example, a teacher could use this rubric to assess interpersonal and intrapersonal skills and a student's cognitive functioning. The rubric is used to assess progress and give feedback based on what is observed.

However, this type of rubric can be difficult to design because it relies heavily on the developmental theories behind the skills and content being learned, such as cognitive functioning, behaviors, etc. The time and effort needed to understand the essential theories behind the rubric can be consuming.

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