Jill Ostrow on Using Rubrics to Self-Assess

I am Dr. Jill Ostrow, an Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum at the University of Missouri. I coordinate and teach a yearlong online capstone graduate course titled, Classroom Research. The first half of the course is devoted to learning about Classroom Research: developing the question, collecting data, and beginning to write the literature review. The second half of the course is mainly devoted to writing the paper. The students write the paper in sections and receive many comments on each draft they submit. Their final paper is assessed on a rubric that was developed long before I arrived at the university, and as all rubrics, has been modified, updated, and tweaked in the years since it’s creation. I have found the following useful when using such a rubric with my graduate students:

Hot Tip: Make sure to rewrite the highest section (if you use points) of the rubric word-for-word directly into the instructions for each given section of the paper. That way, the student will know what to expect right at the start of the writing process.

Hot Tip: After the student has written the final draft of each section of the paper, send along just that section of the rubric. I cut and paste the individual sections right into a Word Doc. Ask the student to do a self-assessment using that section of the rubric. Once you receive the students’ self-assessment, compare yours against it. Often, I find this is where confusions and misconceptions hide between student and teacher.

Hot Tip: Often with rubrics, students fall into the middle two categories. I often highlight words and/or phrases of one box in a scoring category and words and/or phrases from another.  If relying on points, this can become difficult to score, but again, this is where negotiation between student and teacher is important.

Hot Tip: On the final assessment, it is important to write comments and not just fill out the rubric. But it is also useful to note some of the comments the student wrote on the self-assessments if you found them to be thoughtful and constructive.

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4 thoughts on “Jill Ostrow on Using Rubrics to Self-Assess”

  1. Great post. I too would like to see your rubric…and, if you have a real example you can share of how you do the comparison, that would be great too.

    I am at suegriffey AT gmail (dot) com

  2. I’m happy to read this post. I am a big fan of Rubrics. When they were initially presented to me, they seemed a little overbearing…like I would loose some of my ability to truly assesses my students. I’ve realized, however, they help me provide an objective assessment of my students’ work while providing focused feedback for them.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Angie,
    The rubric I wrote about has a lot of history attached to it. (And, it is still a work in progress.) But I’d be happy to share it. If you don’t want to post your email address, perhaps AEA365 can connect us.

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