I had a moment with traditional-analytic rubrics. I felt that traditional rubrics were unfitting for my unconventional classroom. How do I rate or number the work of a growing artist? It felt wrong. What type of message was this system sending to my students? I realized it was not one I wanted in my class. So, I threw them all away and searched for an alternative. I stumbled across the idea of single-point rubrics. Single-point rubrics present only the proficient criteria to students. Instead of using a rating system, students write responses to each measure explaining their areas of concern (or improvements) and exceeding achievements. A single-point rubric is a qualitative approach allowing the students to truly reflect on their work.
Unconventional classrooms require nontraditional assessments.
Simple & Flexible
Single point rubrics only present the highest criteria for students. There is no guessing what it means to be partially proficient or unsatisfactory. This makes creating single-point rubrics straightforward, and flexible. I found that I could create a single-point rubric by using the Studio Habits of Mind, themes, standards, or materials. There are endless possibilities. I tend to use the Studio Habits of Mind because my curriculum and standards are based on them. Plus, students feel more confident when they see that there are no categories or ratings. They will only focus on achieving the only expectation presented.
Reflection & Specific Feedback
When I was using traditional rubrics, I frequently watched my students rush through by circling numbers and not reading a word! I will admit that I would grade them by doing the same. It was a meaningless assessment. When I introduced students to single point rubrics, I observed my students slowing down and thinking about their responses. Single point rubrics allow students to be reflective, rather than placing themselves in a category or number.
It allows the students to discuss what they did great and/or what they can improve. I found that this enables me to give them specific feedback based on their responses. It creates meaning and purpose to what students are doing while personalizing the process.
Setting Goals & Growth
Traditional rubrics don’t allow students to acknowledge their potential. I noticed that when I transitioned to Teaching for Artistic Behavior(TAB) philosophy, students need to acquire reflection tools and skills that are authentic to artistic practices. Traditional rubrics implicated that a particular set of skills were completed or finished. Single-point rubrics tell students that skills are continuous. Our new unconventional classroom allowed them to work as long as they wanted to on a set of skills. This perspective gave students a growth mindset. Students can identify goals for themselves. I have kept students’ rubrics for them to revisit later to check on their progress. It is incredible to see how they feel.
I found a picture of the first single-point rubrics that my students used. They were very lengthy! This version might be more appropriate for high school students. I will only use two criteria for fourth and fifth-grade students. I also created these on Google Slides to post in Google Classroom for students. (Below is a digital version in Google Slides that a student completed.)
Single-Point Rubric Resources
A place where I keep all of my thoughts on teaching an elementary Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) classroom.
TAB Teacher Blogs