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Use of Language

Page history last edited by LCI, Ltd. 14 years, 5 months ago

What does the use of language look like in a quality rubric?


The use of language is often what separates quality rubrics from those that may need some refinement. 


1. The rubric uses language that students will understand. Since a quality rubric is designed for the students completing the task (which often means the rubric has to be revised from year to year) or hopefully, with the students, it should be free from jargon or "teacher-speak".


2. The rubric is descriptive and specific, rather than evaluative. A quality rubric is given to students before they begin work, used a reference while they are working, and used as a tool for evaluating the final product - but evaluation is not the goal of the rubric. Since students are still learning while designing or working on their product, it is easier for them to see descriptions of what you are looking for with specific examples and details.


Example of rubric that is evaluative

Example of rubric that is descriptive and specific


3. When quantitative terms are used, they are supported with quality attributes. We sometimes need to communicate what we're looking for by using quantitative terms (i.e. some, many, few, lots). However, a quality rubric explains what quality traits go along with that quantity. Three adjectives isn't the difference between a good and great piece of writing; the difference between showing and telling is. Helping students see why the quality of a dimension matters can help them improve their work and meet your expectations.


Example of rubric that relies on quantitative terms

Example of rubric that supports quantitative terms with quality attributes


4. When adjectives are used, they are defined with specific descriptors. Adjectives can help convey what we're looking for but more often, they act as a short cut that doesn't help a student improve their work or clearly understand your expectations. Asking for "great" examples doesn't help a student self-assess their work.


Cupcake example

Example of rubric that relies on adjectives

Example of rubric that defines adjectives with specific descriptors


5. There is consistency in the language used. As no teacher can stand next to all of his or her students as they work, a rubric can serve as a reference tool for students to self- or peer-assess as they work. To that end, the language in the rubric needs to be consistent throughout the entire document. 



Example of rubric with inconsistent language

Example of rubric with consistent language


Explore other attributes of a quality rubric through the components below

Content Dimensions Levels Layout



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