The ASMS Portal has a Rubric Builder available under My Resources on a teacher’s homepage. If we could get this to work I see lots of advantages, and the main one being a reduction in doubling up on work.

Currently teachers use paper rubrics to assess work and write a comment back to students. This year we have been asked to also write a comment into the Portal when I enter a grade, so this has involved typing up the handwritten comments from the paper rubrics and then cutting and pasting these into the Portal, There is a level of double handling of information.

Jason has trialled using the Rubric Builder in the Portal and it has the facility to automatically transfer a teacher’s written comment, and a grade allocated, from the electronic rubric to the Assessment Console – saving double handling. I love the idea.

As part of my Action Research project this year I decided to trial the Rubric Builder. I interviewed two focus groups of students (about 20 in all) about their use of rubrics. Students spoke strongly about the great support rubrics give their learning and ability to achieve well. I was surprised that all students in the focus groups said that they saw the importance of the assessment rubrics. Some said that they has ignored the rubrics at first, and simply did what they thought was required by an assignment. They said that they quickly learned the importance of rubrics by receiving lower grades than they expected. The rubrics showed them where they had gone wrong, and so they learned the hard way about the importance of using the rubric before they submit an assignment.

Some students said that they read the rubric carefully before beginning an assignment, others said that they complete an assignment and then review the rubric to see if they have hit each of the sections of the rubric. They will then edit their assignment to make it a better fit to the rubric.

Students also said that they appreciate it when teachers spend time focusing on aspects of an assessment rubric, so that they learn to understand it better. This reminded me of some teaching strategies I have used in the past, but had wondered if the students really wanted my focus on rubrics. Apparently they do.

I also interviewed Jason about his trial of the Portal Rubric Builder. In its current form the Portal Rubric Builder has limited functionality, and Jason and I developed a wish list of functions we would like to see in future versions of the Portal. This list of improvement for the Portal Rubric Builder was sent to the Scholaris development team so that the next round of the Portal can have a better, more improved Rubric Builder. Hopefully these improvements will be available in the near future.