Journal for Effective Schools
Volume 11, Number 1
Chapter 7: Checklists and Rating Scales: Not Rubrics, but in the Family This chapter distinguishes checklists and rating scales from rubrics, with which they are often confused (hint: checklists and rating scales lack descriptions of performance quality), and describes some situations when checklists and rating scales can be useful. Suitable examples and comparisons help describe the reasoning. Advocating for increased student learning over teacher expediency, Brookhart discourages the use of quality ratings (Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor) because they provide a verdict without describing the evidence, do not provide information that will move learning forward, yet lure teachers into thinking that they do. Chapter 8: More Examples Closing this section are more samples of rubrics in a variety of content areas and grade levels: elementary reading, middle school science, and high school technology. Offering instances of how rubrics can improve teaching and learning, the chapter argues that even when a student does not meet the criteria, rubrics are beneficial because they give the information necessary for the student’s next steps. Part 2. How to Use Rubrics Chapter 9: Rubrics and Formative Assessment: Sharing Learning Targets with Students Sharing learning targets and criteria for success with students is the first and most basic strategy for effective teaching – especially when the learning targets are complex or when several qualities must occur at the same time. This chapter presents a range of formative assessment strategies to make this happen. It defines the difference between “instructional objectives” – written for teachers – and “learning targets” which are written for students. Also, the chapter shows teachers, step-by-step, how to make their instructional activities “performances of understanding” that show students what they are supposed to learn, develop that learning through the students’ experience doing the work, and give evidence of students’ learning by providing work that is available for inspection – and assessment – by both teacher and student. Chapter 10: Rubrics and Formative Assessment: Feedback and Student Self-Assessment Declaring that “formative assessment is about forming learning,” the chapter begins by explaining formative assessment as an ongoing, systematic process of gathering evidence of learning to improve student achievement. It goes on to describe how to use rubrics to give students feedback that moves them forward, supports selfassessment and goal setting, and helps them ask effective questions about their work. Likewise, it presents several strategies and invites readers to devise others that fit their students, content, and grade levels.