When developing a STEM unit, it’s important to put a lot of time into the planning of the unit so that students will have the structure (although sometimes it is unseen) to be successful and so that you can spend your time working with students and facilitating student progress.
Now that you have a plan and have thought about the different kinds of assessments that will take place throughout the unit, it is time to consider how you will evaluate the product that students will produce (keeping in mind that your product could take the form of a presentation, portfolio, an actual product, etc.). The rubric will help you, as the teacher, identify what skills, knowledge and outcome you are looking for and will also outline for students how to be successful.
There are many different ways to write a rubric. The best is to establish a list of target statements that address key facets of the product and relevant curriculum standards. This rubric can also include criteria like teamwork and performance (aka time on task).
Next, determine your scale. For younger students, sometimes the scale is in words rather than numbers. For example: Superior, Accomplished Capable, Developing. For older students, a scale of 1-4 or 1-5 is generally used with the highest number representing the most accomplished.
(If you would like your rubric to be more specific, select your criteria and write descriptors for each one. Descriptors should each be one “step” apart and should represent gradations of quality for each criteria. Be thoughtful when writing your rubric to make sure that it represents a successful project and reflects your selected standards.)
Once you have created your rubric, you will want to present it to your students after you introduce the challenge. If possible, show both good and bad examples to model for students how to assess these examples using the rubric. This will teach students how to use a rubric and also how to self-assess their projects in different stages.
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Lane specializes in STEM education, curriculum design and professional development and makes teachers’ lives easier through innovative, standards-based STEM lessons.