[Math]odology Monthly Message
VOL. 8
How will we know if they learn it?

Four Critical Questions-Richard DuFour

What data have we collected in answering this question? Do we have evidence that a student can consecutively demonstrate understanding of a concept at a particular level?

Let’s compare and contrast a traditional rubric for data collection and student feedback. Further, we will examine how best to alter the rubric such that it is more effective in identifying success around the learning of a particular unit of study.
Rubric 1| Sample Kindergarten Rubric for one standard- Downloaded from the Internet
Rubric 2| Kindergarten rubric for one standard - Developing Roots Kindergarten Program
Rubric 3| Example of a Fraction Rubric- Downloaded from the Internet
Rubric 4| Example of a Fraction Rubric- Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics
Not only do rubrics 1 and 3 fail to provide feedback that is applicable to the student, but the results of using this rubric had little effect on student behavior. Notice how rubric 4 is more visual and easier for students to understand. There is a reduction in language so that students and teachers can better understand the differences between and among levels. The ability to convey to students exactly where they are in the learning cycle is critical for self-assessment. Students no longer have an opinion of where they are, rather they have evidence to support their opinion. Rubric 2 gives the teacher a clear picture of what should be documented and when is the best time to listen to the student's math language.
No matter if the assessment is formative or summative, the focus needs to center around communication. This type of communication informs the learning process both formally and informally. Where am I as a student in this process? As a teacher, what can I do to help move the student to the next level of understanding? Students can use the information to inform their learning by having a clear picture of what comes next. This format allows the student to see subtopics of larger categories and not a single component in isolation. Dr. Peter Liljedahl reminds us that "in order for someone to navigate, by land or sea, they need two pieces of information-where they are and where they are going." Notice how these rubrics allow the student to understand not only what they currently know but also where they need to go.

Join us this month as we look at how rubrics can be used as both a formative and summative assessment tool in a thinking classroom.
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