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Rubrics for Classroom Science Assessment

Rubrics with Science Assessments

Three Dimensions of Standards and AssessmentAs Wisconsin works toward new three-dimensional standards and assessments, educators will need to develop a clear picture of what proficient student performance looks like throughout the three dimensions. Several types of rubrics can be effective tools for mapping out what students should know and be able to do. 

Rubrics Resources and Examples

  • Article on typical problems with rubrics - too often rubrics rely on gradations such as 1-2 examples, 3-4 examples, and 5-6 examples, or never, sometimes, and always. These language tricks rarely show what a real progression of learning looks like.
  • Article on creating 3D rubrics linked to a formative assessment task
  • Article by J. Thompson, et al. on Productively Reviewing Student Work - for rubrics to be valid teachers must collaboratively review student work in relation to the rubric scale and set anchor papers as reference points throughout that scale. This article further provides ideas for a "What-How-Why" Rubric that shows a continuum of students' explanations - from "what happened" to "why it happened."
  • Evidence Statements of the NGSS - these evidence statements provide a detailed look at what student proficiency means in relation to particular science and engineering practices in a specific context. 
  • NGSS Practices Progression - these progressions detail what students at K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 should be able to do in the realm of particular science and engineering practices. They can form the basis of specific sub-skills seen in a rubric and support a progression of those skills. 
  • NGSS Disciplinary Core Idea Matrix - it's useful to see the continuum of understanding of a particular topic to ensure rubrics focus on grade-level content. 
  • Stanford SCALE Quality Rubric Webinar and Resources - while not all science specific this Google folder includes a recording of the creating rubrics webinar, a science and engineering practices rubric, a Scientific Literacy Rubric  (focuses on arguing with evidence, and a crosscutting concepts rubric. 
  • Science Practices Leadership - this group has rubrics for the practices from the perspective of observing them in the classroom as well as using them for instruction. They also have great supports for observing teachers such as video-based case studies where they analyze use of the science practices.