Thursday, January 17, 2013

Checking and assessing learning with rubrics

When you create assessment or learning rubrics, you make it clear in your mind what acceptable work or excellent work looks like. This information is also helpful to your learners as they can see what they need to do to make the push for excellence. It can also be used for self-assessment or peer assessment.
A good starting point for creating your own rubrics is The University of Wisconsin's rubrics page. This site has example rubrics for the technology-led classroom: how to assess podcasts, mindmaps, eportfolios, blogs etc.
I have encouraged various organisations to use rubrics as part of their quality process to improve the learner's awareness of their own learning and to ensure the tutor is clear on his/her objectives. Ian Cooling of Sparsholt College (@iancooling) was inspired by this idea to create the following handout to use in class.

What's clever about his approach is that he clearly shows to the learner that what they think they know, and what they do know, are two different things. The handout is used while Ian plays a YouTube video in sections. Learners are shown some of the video and then tick to indicate their level of confidence in the topic. They then try to answer the question to prove what they know. This is where the learner is made aware of their misperception, if any, of their grasp of the knowledge or concepts.This awareness of learning is a powerful tool - one that we perhaps do not invoke often enough in our learners.

It's not the technology that is sophisticated in this example - it's the level of learning invoked by a simple handout, used with a video that could be accessed by learners in their own time. Almost all our technology-inspired teaching and learning could be improved further if we only make the learners aware of the process of learning. And that can be done simply with paper and pen :-)
Sammy of BLHairdressing Training is going to ask learners to add captions to YouTube videos - this is again an example of a learner 'proving' that they understand something. How Sammy can help these learners to feel confident that they are putting in quality captions or annotations to the videos, is to provide them with a rubric that clearly shows them how to reach excellence. When a learner has provided captions for the video, what does an excellent version look like?

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