As a parent, you'll pick up on numerous skills (buffing up on time management, for sure!), as well as dusting cobwebs off of previously acquired knowledge and undoubtedly learning something(s) new as well. I assumed I would develop a system of grading on an as-needed basis. When he reached the age/level/subject where I felt grading would a beneficial to his education, I would likely have a few ideas as to how to go about that.
Surprise! I'm now homeschooling my 8th grade step-daughter. Fresh out of public school, her normally very pleasant, respectful, and compliant demeanor has been peppered with bouts of rebelliousness. She needs to have her assignments graded. The accountability is necessary and the feedback promotes opportunity to see areas of strengths and weaknesses. Plus, next year she'll be in 9th grade, and then (from my limited understanding), record-keeping really needs to step it up a notch so that we are able to write a thorough and accurate H.S. transcript when the day comes. Oh joy. So much for procrastination.
Thankfully, I came across an intriguing statement in the beginning pages of my Teacher's Guide for History, which turned out to be the first step in the right direction. Here's the statement:
It has horrified me that so many teachers have no idea what an assessment key is, and are marking a student's assignment more on the basis of how recently they had a good meal and a cup of coffee, than on the basis of an unchangeable set of criteria.
Before I go any farther, I will explain that a rubric is a guideline, a chart or list, of criteria which must be met to receive a set number of points. It is broken into individual portions/aspects of the assignment, which I can see as being very useful when trying to remain objective. Imagine receiving a 10th grader's paper containing 3 paragraphs, wherein more than 2 dozen common 5-6 letter words are misspelled. Considering the expectations, I would suspect it may cross many teachers' minds to simply fail the paper. But is that fair?
A sample rubric was provided, which encouraged me to search online for other publicly available rubrics. From these examples, I was able to construct my own rubrics. I plan to continue to create these as needed and save them as they can be used time and time again. It's important to note that I always try create the rubric BEFORE going over the final report that was turned in or BEFORE the presentation is set to occur. I don't want my opinion of the completed assignment to interfere with creating my expectations. I am human. I am flawed. I don't want the glare that I received every time a student looked up from reading a paper to affect said student's grade. I want to be just.
Here is one site providing links to .pdf rubrics for a variety of writing assignments (descriptive essays, narratives, expository, persuasive, research, reflective). I found these, coupled with the rubric published in my Teacher's Guide, to be very beneficial in considering what to include in my own personalized rubrics for our homeschool.
Finally, last but not least, here are my own rubrics that I have developed, available for you to download as .pdfs and use if you'd like:
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