EDU 645: Learning & Assessment for the 21st Century
When we look at both the Exemplars Math Rubric and the Exemplars Reading Rubric, we see two models that opt to make use of the “top-down” approach in assessing students. This style is about the students first being able to witness the “big picture” about a subject and then through immersion, they can be placed squarely inside of that “big picture” without necessarily needing to see the smaller facets that are used to create that picture. However, once the pieces that make up the big picture are addressed, it is through a gradual process which may be easier for students. Both rubrics make use of this approach and heavily rely on being deductive over inductive while using a series of guidelines that are build on the foundation of sound conceptual framework. This framework analyzes different levels of student performance and act as the criteria for the qualifications of understanding the “big picture.” (Brookhart, 2013)
The Exemplar standard base primarily includes problem-solving, using reasoning and proof, communication (student to instructor, peer to peer), making tangible connections, and the representation of material learned. These criteria can guide the practitioner and assist in giving reports. In addition to meeting these criteria, the rubrics can start from a novice level of performance (novice being the lowest performance level available) and build on advancement of skills and learning to advance to higher levels of competency. This is certainly the case with the exemplary rubric for reading in which there are four levels of competency: novice, apprentice, practitioner, and expert. In knowing what level, a student falls in, educators can know what category their students fall into before and after submissions are completed.
The Exemplars Reading Rubric and Exemplars Math Rubric both offer a level of detailed performance evaluation based on their level and marks criteria based on the results of the analysis. Math and reading differ in the criteria that is marked to the extent that there is some level of subdivision within the context of the lesson, choosing to reward students for objectives achieved that fall in a subset and not necessarily in the “big picture”. In example, novice students will not provide detailed responses based on evidence. This differs from the “expert” in that, they would be able to organize their thoughts, strategize and visual their response, and provide proof of evidence with their answer. The difference in these levels of performance are concerned with how students process the content and analyze the subject matter they have learned.
These rubrics are supportive of students and the learning process. They give students and instructors the tools to help with detailed thinking skills and they assist the student in being able to master the content. They help the student in analyzing their ability to compare, classify, analyze data and errors, devise support and interpret intent. They also help students learn to make decisions and investigate material. They are all working to the benefit of the student and the instructor, especially when it comes to grading and understanding how a student arrives at the answer they do.