Your Rubric is a Hot Mess

By Jennifer Gonzalez

See Mrs. Jones. She has a fantastic idea for a new assignment. It’s going to be challenging and engaging and fun. Before she can give this assignment to her students, Mrs. Jones needs to get a few things on paper. She starts by writing up a prompt. See Mrs. Jones smile as her fingers fly across the keyboard, crafting the language that describes what students will do.

Then it’s time to build a rubric. Watch as Mrs. Jones creates an empty table with four columns – one for each level of proficiency – and five rows that break down the areas that will be assessed. Four rows, five columns. Mrs. Jones prepares to fill all twenty cells.

See Mrs. Jones slump down in her chair.


If you’re like Mrs. Jones, you rely on densely packed analytic rubrics to assess student work. But creating these rubrics – trying to imagine every possible scenario that will result in an assignment being labeled as a 1, 2, 3 or 4, or whatever terminology might stand for those numbers – can be both soul-crushing and time-consuming.


LINK: Brilliant or Insane. Education on the Edge

How Making an Impact on the World Motivates Students


Many schools are moving to project-based learning as a way to help students make meaning about content in deeper and more lasting ways than a lecture can provide. While those goals are clear to educators, and inspiring examples of schools successfully implementing the pedagogy exist, it can still be a challenging shift for many teachers. It is difficult to design projects that both help students learn required content and that genuinely interest them. Some educators are finding that connecting projects to a global community is a powerful way to make a project feel meaningful to students.


LINK: MindShift