Multimedia projects can be a fun and engaging way to learn new content. In addition, they can serve as evidence for Program Reviews, help bring the 21st Century Skills of creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration to your classroom, and meet a number of ISTE’s Technology Standards for Students. Perhaps most importantly, student created multimedia projects serve as an alternative assessment for student learning. For class projects to meet any of these goals, however, the teacher must have the end in mind and develop one or more rubrics before the project is begun.
Well-designed rubrics are critical to a successful project because they serve as a guide for both the teacher and the students. In developing rubrics in advance, the teacher makes explicit what criteria within the project will serve as evidence of student learning and creates a record of his or her expectations that can be revised to meet the realities of the class environment. Having the rubric in advance also helps students because it allows them to assume responsibility for their own learning and makes formative assessment and self-evaluation a natural part of instruction.
Five Tips for Creating Rubrics
- Make sure you feel comfortable determining whether students have met the criteria used in the rubric. For example, creativity is a desirable quality, but it is hard to quantify. In contrast, you may feel more comfortable determining whether a central theme or approach is original. 2
- Be as specific as possible. For example, “no more than three major grammatical errors” is much easier to score than “uses appropriate grammatical conventions.”
- Look at some other examples of rubrics, but always tailor the rubric to meet your expectations of student learning and behavior.
- Consider creating more than one rubric for an assignment. For example, you can create one rubric that addresses the content you would like students to learn and one for the use of technology to create the project. You might also consider a separate rubric for group work. The students receive a grade for each rubric, clarifying where they were successful and where they need improvement.
- Finally, be patient with the process of trying something new. Whenever you assign a project to students you learn more about what guidance and structure is needed for students to be successful. The next time you assign the project, this new understanding can be incorporated into your rubric.
For more guidance and for sample rubrics, visit the Buck Institute for Education’s rubric page.