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Single-Point

 

The practice of using single point rubrics is slowly but surely catching on. The simplicity of these rubrics — with just a single column of criteria, rather than a full menu of performance levels — offers a whole host of benefits:

Want to Learn More?

I first talked about this type of rubric in an earlier post (Know Your Terms: Holistic, Analytic, and Single-Point Rubrics), and again in a post I wrote for Brilliant or Insane (Your Rubric is a Hot Mess; Here’s How to Fix It). If this is the first time you’ve encountered this type of rubric, reading both of these will give you some background knowledge on all the different types of rubrics and why the single-point deserves world domination.

Show Us Your Rubrics!

I urge you to take one of your most convoluted rubrics and make a single-point version of it. Then show it to the world, so other teachers can learn: Take a screenshot of it and post the picture on Twitter with the hashtag #singlepointrubric. If you aren’t on Twitter or don’t feel like doing this, just put a link to your rubric in the comments below. Help us start a movement to rid the world of ineffective rubrics!


Another Variation (Added in 2017)

After considering some of the limitations of this format, I played around with the rubric a bit more and came up with this variation:

The original version of the single point rubric allowed no space for actually pointing out when the student hit the standard, apart from maybe circling or highlighting the middle column. With this format, teachers can pinpoint where the student is on each descriptor, then offer feedback, either constructive, positive, or both.

To grab a copy of this for your own modification, click here.


Need Ready-Made Rubrics?

My Rubric Pack gives you four different designs in Microsoft Word and Google Docs formats. It also comes with video tutorials to show you how to customize them for any need, plus a Teacher’s Manual to help you understand the pros and cons of each style. Check it out here:


 

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28 Comments

  1. Mrs.D says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    I am new to your website and I am loving it! Thank you for posting this article. The idea of a single point rubrics is revolutionary and new to me; just reading about it makes me feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I have often wondered how much my second graders are really absorbing when we go over the rubrics I provide them with. Despite my best attempts to make them child friendly they seem wordy and overwhelming. I have also often questioned why I provide students with ‘markers for failure’ instead of wholly focusing their attention on what I want them to strive for and attain. I love the open-ended areas provided to comment on areas of concern and areas where a child has excelled. Using regular rubrics, I find that often I am trying to jam in comments regarding a student’s’ performance that are not outlined in my rigid prescribed rubrics; the single point rubrics provides me with open-ended areas to comment on these clearly and without limiting by thoughts to items only described in the rubrics. The single point rubrics is definitely a tool that I will be implementing in my classroom. Thank you again!
    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle!
      You know what? I forgot all about jamming comments into the fuller rubrics. I did the exact same thing. Ridiculous! That’s such a huge sign of the rubric language being insufficient for giving feedback. Why have it there in the first place if we feel the need to explain anyway? I’m so glad you like this idea. I would love to see a copy of your first attempt!

  2. exarizm says:

    How do you grade it?

    • Thanks for the question!

      I think this kind of rubric works best for ongoing assessment, for assignments where students have the opportunity to re-submit with improvements. If you needed to justify a point score, though, you could add a range of points to each column. So for a 100 point assignment, the top of the center column could say something like “85-94 points,” the left could say “0-84 points,” and the right could say “95-105 points” or something in those ranges. I would probably add an extra row right underneath the top row that contained those ranges.

      Then when you grade an assignment, if you end up writing a whole lot of comments in that left column, then the score would be lower in that 0-84 range, whereas if there was just one minor comment, it would be about an 83 or 84. Similarly, if there’s a lot in the right-hand column, the score would be at or slightly above 100. The goal would be to get every student to 84 or above — within target range or better — and so in the best of cases, the student would use the “needs improvement” feedback to actually make improvements. Does that sound like it would work?

  3. I developed this ‘anti-rubric’ for many of the same reasons you share here. I wrote a blog post about it as well. It’s more of a checklist, but the columns are there for feedback, and also for fixing anything that needs fixing, by whom, by when, etc, to be used mainly for accountability in group projects.

    It is meant to be used electronically in google environments, so all you need to do is make a copy for yourself and adapt it.

    http://acoecore.org/2015/01/30/how-to-ensure-quality-pbl-products/
    and below a link to the actual tool.
    https://docs.google.com/a/acoe.org/document/d/1YCFs6zv1SyJX5saHalj0N73xp_wC3S4KmtzDvwVUz6Y/edit

  4. Jennifer says:

    I saw a mention of your single point rubric via Twitter and edcampKY. I think this might be a game changer for me. I’ve been working on how to provide better feedback to AP students on writing FRQs and DBQs. Using your template I think I’ve got a rubric I can work with in the fall.

    • Fantastic! I would love to see it. Some people have actually posted pictures of theirs on Twitter with the #singlepointrubric hashtag. If you were so inclined, it would be wonderful. I think the more often people see examples, the better they can imagine doing the same for themselves. Thanks for letting me know!

  5. Hi,
    I’m a teacher and App developer. I’ve developed an Android app called Rubric Scorer, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apps.ips.rubricscorer. I really liked readying about single point rubrics and was wondering if there were any online scoring programs to support single point rubrics. I was thinking I may develop an Android App for scoring and giving feedback for single point rubrics, but thought I’d see what the interest would be in this. Thanks.

  6. Hello all.
    I (and many of my fellow teachers) have been eagerly using the single-point-rubric in our classrooms. It has improved the communication with students about their progress. As our district looks ahead to standards based assessment (non number/letter grading), we have been doing a lot of research around methods to evaluate student learning. Using this sort of tool, allows for a more substantial understanding of how students are progressing with the standards and their goals. Attaching a number/letter grade to this type of assessment seems to miss the point. It is a tool I use to show growth and achievement of goals.

    One evolution to consider for the single-point rubric is to not have the advanced/exceeding column. The idea comes via Rick Wormeli. I learned from his work that once a student “masters” a standard (the center point/column in the rubric), they should move on to another standard or a more complex variation of the same standard. The right column could therefore be the teacher’s or student’s reflection on how they met the standard or their next steps and possible goals. Being “advanced” or “excelling” at a standard is just an unnecessary evaluation; the student met the standard, that should be good enough.

    If anyone is considering a move toward standards based assessment, you should read “On Your Mark: Challenging the Conventions of Grading and Reporting” by Thomas R. Guskey. He uses data and analysis to discuss how grades (numbers, letters and even rubrics) are subjective and even harmful. It is an amazing, eye-opening book. Also, check out the “Cult of Pedagogy” podcast episode 13.
    I would love to hear other’s experiences and thoughts. Thank you Jennifer for this great site.

    • Nate, thank you for this insight. The idea of removing an “exceeds standards” category is kind of revolutionary, but I get it. Do you have any models or samples you might share of what it looks like when a student moves on to a more complex variation of the same standard? Is there any documentation that accompanies that progression…? Some sort of goal-setting or description of how the student plans to push past the standard? Is it discussed between student and teacher? I would like more information on the nuts and bolts of this variation.

      • Melanie says:

        This is really interesting, thank you for sharing ideas. At first, I was thinking that instead of say using a “column 3” for a rubric for midpoint that I would use “exceeds” as the criteria. (setting high expectations tends to allow students to rise to the occasion IMO) However, after reading responses, I had the idea that maybe sticking with the mid-range critera, but expressing to students that we’re never really “done.” Explain to students that there will always be feedback and always be room for improvement or taking the learning one step further. Be sure to specifically praise criteria that has been done well, but including next steps (as others have mentioned) in feedback for everyone. Feedback would include suggestions for those that may not have met criteria, and “exceeds” criteria could be used as suggestions for extensions for those that need it. I feel like this could eliminate the “it’s good enough”. Furthermore, in this manner you are differentiating for each student, but no one is really ever done…until the final due date. It certainly would look different depending on the subject, but I think true extensions of work for higher level thinkers is often overlooked and this could be a way to incorporate it without falling into the adding additional work trap. I welcome everyone’s thoughts on this 🙂

    • Nate,

      Thank you for your comments about the exceeds category. I have also contemplated this part of my rubrics. What I like about this category is that students are reinforced for the exemplary skills they are using. They may not meet the exemplary status on all skills within a writing assignment. However, I think there is power in reinforcing the positive skills that writers are using. Having a column for that is necessary. Since the standards progress from grade level to grade level, would you have an entirely different middle category for some students? I’m also interesting in seeing how this would look. Have you found any examples?

  7. I’ve been using single-point rubrics with my adult ESL learners for a while now and polishing them a bit. I love them and my students love them. I used to work for a school that used extremely dense rubrics–at advanced levels they might have 6 or 7 areas of assessment and 5 grade levels. With 30 boxes, to look at students’ eyes went straight to the final grade. I also had some very clever students who would add up points to figure out how to do the minimum to get an acceptable grade. For example, they’d see that they could miss the length requirement by quite a bit and do a 2 sentence conclusion, as long as they had perfect spelling and grammar. Now my rubrics don’t tell them how to squeak by.

    I did put a few templates, including some sample rubrics for essays aligned to the CEFR standards for ESL, up at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Single-Point-Rubric-Grading-Bundle-2243910 I don’t know if I’ve done anything overly revolutionary with it except added directions so students know exactly how the system works.

    People did ask about how to grade with it and I like your solution of a range. What I like to do is assign points to each area of assessment and tell students that they get 80% of the points if they meet the standard. That leaves me room to reward advanced students and take points off for students who need more work. It’s not a perfect system, but students seem to like it.

    • How cool! I’m excited to see you have really run with this idea and that it’s working well for you. I never thought about students trying to “game the system” by looking at where they can slack on a rubric, but it’s an excellent point. Thanks for sharing, Walton.

  8. Hi everyone. Debbie suggested I add my version of a single point rubric here. I got to help some new psychology teachers at a career academy design a way to provide feedback to students on their research projects. These were big. semester long projects, and this feedback form worked well I think. Thanks for the single point rubric idea! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NSdWARGAiP2it1Eb6toIrM65s6dpvq4NQW8bq45VKZo/edit?usp=sharing

  9. Has anyone found an efficient way to fill out a single-point rubric online and return it to students?

    • Marlene, the best way I can think of would be through Google Classroom; it allows teachers to create a single document, then distribute copies to the whole class at once. When that’s set up, you can then go into every student’s individual file and enter your feedback into their rubric.

  10. Abigail Hatch says:

    This is a great idea! Thank you!!! I’m teaching at the college level, and created a rubric to evaluate my students’ presentations. I can already see that it will work much better as single-point. Simpler for me AND students will get more specific, detailed feedback. Hooray!

  11. Deb says:

    I like, however, to give mine a WOW category: show them ways to go over-and-above the requirements (mine almost always says “Use humor” as at least one of the choices) so I might add that at the bottom…..

  12. Shelley Stein says:

    Hi,
    I had never heard of a single-point rubric until I read your article. I’m trying it for my French AP class. Students do many short (5 minute) presentations in target language. I include my attempt at a single-point rubric here in French with English translation on the back (I have it as a Google slide – two in a row in French then two in English for the printout). Comments welcome! I just need to assign points…

    https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1S35H1jtLMZbuEiME0Gy46HQ7sfEcvkNT2ADwukWfc0Y/edit?usp=sharing

  13. Ariel Voorhees says:

    I’m an English teacher in an independent high school. I’ve been using a much more basic version of this rubric for years– I’ve always hated the grid! But I like your columns for “concerns” and “advanced,” plus the opportunity to be clear about whether students actually met the standard. Below is my hybrid, which I’m going to use in a two-draft assignment in which the first draft is an in-class diagnostic essay and the second draft is a take-home revision of that essay.

    an example of the old version: https://docs.google.com/document/d/106M0BC5UDq4CHLSUgo5rRKF4J8RkW8JtyTGJj-9Ycfw/edit?usp=sharing

    new version:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1v-epAcAQT4ypUP3siswVOUtAF_U1sf3-WDZWL1hXNOs/edit?usp=sharing

  14. La MisEducada says:

    Thank you so much for these ideas! I’ve been using the single point rubric since I found it last spring. One of the things I loved about the single point rubric was the visual of being below, at or above standard. I love your variation because it does address some of the limits of the original SPR, but I missed the visual of being above or below. So I adapted a version with the criteria descriptors being in between the 1, 2 and 3, 4 with room for feedback! I’m excited to use it!

    Here’s the link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nMR9ghojUgk0wqmZg5v0XJySa9SSkxaYNfe3_KEltz0/edit

    • Jillian says:

      I like your variation – I had the same thought on the revised version shared here, as it makes sense to do it that way but it didn’t quite have the ‘beauty’ of the original!

  15. Carin says:

    I’ve been using something similar for years but didn’t know it was a “thing”. I really hate wordy rubrics or scales from 1-10. Leaves too much room for interpretation. I find the more basic and black and white approach works well with my jr. high kids. Even with a much less wordy rubric, I have to point out that they need to READ it when it is returned to them.

  16. Love it! I read your original post and have been talking about it whenever a conversation on rubrics comes up!
    I love the original, I circle the middle column of fully achieved, if achieved but with slight concerns I can underline the parts that require more work and add into the improvements box. I understand the attempt to improve and if it works better for you then that’s great, but I’ll stick with your original for now, I am still very much in love with it!
    Thank you for the excellent blog!
    Regards
    Lee

  17. Zoe Roles says:

    Hi thanks for getting me to think about rubric. They are something that I am still getting my head around as my experience with them has so far not been that purposeful. I teach in KG so this year my mission is to make them purposeful for the children and engaging. Any ideas please share fellow teachers!

  18. Mary Ellen Wessels says:

    Brilliant! Really, I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this until now. It solves so much of what I hated about creating rubrics. Thanks for such a clear explanation of it. World domination indeed!! 😀

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