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Authentic Assessment. Using Rubrics to Evaluate Project-Based Learning. Curriculum content created and presented by Dr. Alexandra Leavell Associate Professor of Teacher Education University of North Texas. Module Objectives. List and explain the characteristics of a rubric.

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Authentic assessment

Authentic Assessment

Using Rubrics

to Evaluate

Project-Based Learning

Curriculum content created and presented by Dr. Alexandra Leavell

Associate Professor of Teacher Education

University of North Texas

Module objectives
Module Objectives

  • List and explain the characteristics of a rubric.

  • Enumerate the benefits of rubrics to teachers and students.

  • Describe the criteria of an effective rubric.

Essential questions
Essential Questions

  • How will the use of PBL and authentic assessments help me meet the needs of learners with different abilities?

  • How will using rubrics help me meet curricular goals?

  • How do rubrics help my students become better learners?

  • How will rubrics improve my teaching?

The cookie dilemma
The Cookie Dilemma

Which chocolate chip cookie would you want to eat?

The cookie dilemma1
The Cookie Dilemma

  • Cookie elements or dimensions:

    • Overall Taste

    • Texture

    • Color

    • Number of chocolate chips

    • Richness

The cookie dilemma2
The Cookie Dilemma

  • Range of “performance” for a chocolate chip cookie:

    • Delicious (7-8)

    • Tasty (5-6)

    • Edible (3-4)

    • Yuck! (1-2)

Cookie rubric1
Cookie Rubric

  • View a web page or download a printable version of the completed cookie rubric which appears on the next slide from the Resources page.

Characteristics of a rubric
Characteristicsof a Rubric

A scoring guide which:

  • Directly examines learner performance on “worthy intellectual tasks” (Wiggins)

Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. (1998) Understanding by Design.

Characteristics of a rubric1
Characteristicsof a Rubric

A scoring guide which:

  • Describes different performance criteria

  • Defines precise requirements

Characteristics of a rubric2
Characteristicsof a Rubric

  • Type of authentic assessment

  • Allows for varying levels of expertise

  • Gives a range or continuum of performance levels

Characteristics of a rubric3
Characteristicsof a Rubric

  • Scaffolds learner improvement

    • Benchmark descriptions define task competencies or criteria

    • Helps teachers identify areas each student needs to improve

    • Allows students to understand how to improve projects and get a better grade

Characteristics of a rubric4
Characteristicsof a Rubric

  • Both a formative and a summative assessment

    • Formative assessment because it defines criteria for student performance in advance

    • Summative assessment because it will be the basis for determining a grade for the project

Why use rubrics
Why Use Rubrics?

  • Rubrics can be an integral part of the teaching and learning process

    • Give students a basis for self-assessment

    • Promote independent learning

    • Eliminate vague assessment criteria and overly subjective performance behavior

Teachers use rubrics to












Teachers Use Rubrics to…

  • Answer the question “Why did you give me a D?”

  • Define expectations for learners and for themselves by clearly showing students how their work will be evaluated

  • Link assignments clearly to curricular goals

Teachers use rubrics to1
Teachers Use Rubrics to…

  • Inform instruction as criteria are defined

  • Provide an effective means to evaluate skills and processes, especially those (like PBL) which don’t lend themselves to a simple objective assessment approach

Teachers use rubrics to2
Teachers Use Rubrics to…

  • Communicate specific information to parents and other stakeholders about student performance and learning objectives

  • Provide helpful feedback regarding the effectiveness of instruction

  • Provide benchmarks for evaluating student progress

Students use rubrics to












Students UseRubrics to…

  • Answer the question “Why did I get a D?”

  • Take more responsibility for their learning

  • Increase independence

  • Lower anxiety about assignments and projects

Students use rubrics to1
Students UseRubrics to…

  • Get involved in the teaching/learning process through self and peer evaluation

  • Heighten awareness regarding concepts and learning processes (by constructing their own rubrics)

When should i use a rubric
When Should I Use a Rubric?

  • “Real life learning”

  • To address complex and subjective criteria

  • For non-objective types of assignments

When should i use a rubric1
When Should I Use a Rubric?

  • When the nature of the learning is not cut and dried, i.e. there is no “right” answer and no “wrong” answer

  • Technical projects

  • Project-based learning

Holistic rubrics
Holistic Rubrics

  • Evaluate students’ work as a whole

  • See Resources for an example of a holistic rubric.

Analytic rubrics
Analytic Rubrics

  • Assesses components of the project in progress and when finished.

  • One example would be the chocolate chip cookie rubric.

  • See another example in Resources.


This module covers:

  • Characteristics of rubrics

  • How rubrics can guide learners

  • How rubrics help teachers adjust instruction

  • Types of tasks that are appropriate for the use of rubrics


Before watching the next ADAM,read more about authentic assessments and rubrics from the Resources web page.

In the next module, creating rubrics will be discussed.