My Experience with the Single-Point Rubric

After talking with my good friend Danah Hashem, reading her excellent NCTE article, and reading Jennifer Gonzalez‘s blog post, I decided to give the single-point rubric a try.

If you’ve never heard of the rubric, don’t worry; I hadn’t heard of it until this summer! The two posts I linked above give excellent explanations of them, so I would highly recommend checking them out. For a very brief description, however, the single-point rubric explains the expectations for an assessment and provides spaces for teacher comments on areas in which students need work and areas in which students excel.

My school has pre-made rubrics for most of our assessments; however, creative writing is one assessment for which teachers can create their own. With this freedom, I decided the short story creative assignments for my senior classes were the perfect opportunity to try the single-point rubric!

My Single-Point Rubrics

(Inspired by rubrics Jennifer Gonzalez created on her blog)

You can scroll through each embedded document; if you’re on a mobile device, please feel free to click on the link below to view the Google Doc.

To view the Google Doc, please click here.

To view the Google Doc, please click here.

If you’d like an explanation of why I included each category, I’m happy to write a post about that as well!

When I first started thinking about using the single-point rubric, I had to determine how I would translate my feedback into grades. To make it easier to understand for myself and my students, I explained that the column labeled “criteria” would be in the B range, “advanced” A range, and so on. For a more detailed description of this, check the bottom of the rubric.

My Experience

Spoiler alert: I thoroughly enjoyed using the single-point rubric!

What I found was that the marginal feedback and the end “letters” I would normally give students were easily integrated into the spaces provided in the rubric. Not only did I not feel like I was doing any extra work, but I also felt like the work I was doing was better organized and better focused. Moreover, I felt like writing in the category boxes made it easier for students to understand how my feedback translates to their grade, so instead of seeing a marginal comment of “check date format” or an end not reading “plot structure wasn’t clear,” students saw it in the categories and the grade breakdown in the rubric. This made it easier for students to clearly see the areas my feedback suggested they need the most practice in.

Freeing up the marginal space of assessment feedback, I was able to use marginal comments to respond as a reader. Because these were creative short stories, I wanted to give students feedback on how I, as their audience, experienced their creative piece. Rather than my experience being overshadowed by marginal feedback, it was the central focus. I found myself commenting things like “Glad the character said this because I was thinking it!” and “I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING” and “haha! This character’s amazing.” I was able to comment on their short story like I might in person or how I might with a friend. This was incredibly freeing for me, and I think comments like this can only help to improve students’ confidence in their writing!

I’d love to hear your thoughts about or experiences with the single-point rubric in the comments!

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