April 1, 2017

Use the rubric and improve your grade!

When a teacher passes out a rubric, many students’ first instinct is to tuck it away in a folder and never look at it again. But rubrics are an invaluable resource, with many different functions that can support your child’s work before, during, and after a project gets underway. Read on for the three best ways to use a rubric to support executive function skills, then suggest a few of these strategies to your child at home.

Use a rubric…

  • As an Outlining Template: Reading through a rubric or prompt can often provide directions and structure to help students initiate work on the assignment at hand. For example, a rubric for a history paper might list a “model” assignment as including discussion of political, social, and economic factors. In the brainstorming and outlining phases, students can use the requirements from the rubric as headings, listing ideas and details under the broad heading categories. This strategy ensures that the assignment begins with the end in mind, making sure that all requirements are accounted for, even before work begins!   
  • As a Checklist: Once your child transitions from the brainstorming and organizing phase into the work itself, he can use his rubric as a self-monitoring tool. Writing or working without a way of checking progress can lead students off topic or away from their requirements. However, checking in with a rubric frequently can alert students when they have lost their way and help to get them back on track quickly and painlessly, long before they might need to scrap their work and start over. Physically checking off requirements as they are met can also give your child a feeling of accomplishment that will motivate him to complete his work.
  • As a Reflection Tool: When your child’s work is complete, returning to the rubric one last time can help your child to spot any lingering errors or areas of improvement. Your child might notice that, despite his careful outlining and checklisting, he overlooked a detail and needs to do some revision. To determine if he has done his best work, your child can even grade himself, using the rubric to award points. If he can check off the boxes awarding him full credit for all categories of work, then he knows he will receive similarly high marks from his teacher.

Rubrics have many creative uses beyond their function as grading tools for teachers. Students equipped with strategies to use their rubrics flexibly and often can not only work efficiently and comfortably, but also produce their best and most thorough work on a regular basis. Encourage your child to try one or more of the above methods and watch him flourish!