Here at Aii, we are no stranger to professional development training and workshops. Every term, we have numerous pieces of training for new teachers as well as veteran teachers.

Today’s New Teacher training was on the topic of Rubrics. If you are not familiar with rubrics, they are tools a teacher uses to relay the expectations of the assignment to the students. A rubric is one of the most important tools a teacher has in their toolset. They are directly related to low scores, sponsorships, inadequate understanding of the concepts, and child psychology to name a few.


Child psychology is the point I would like to discuss in today’s article.


When a student looks at a rubric, it only takes one second for a student’s mindstate to go from zero to hero, but that is only when the rubric is done correctly. When a rubric has been assembled without critical thinking, it can have numerous negative effects on the mental state of the student. Let me explain.


As an adult, when our boss gives us a task to do, we need to know a few things to be able to do that task correctly. This is no different for a student. A student needs to know the objective, the work instructions, and they need to know the expectations. When a rubric is “vague” or speaks in unspecified terms, how can a student give the teacher what is expected of them? The point of the assignment is to show what we have learned. The expectations need to be clear and concise, and to the point.


There have been numerous studies and research experiments that prove just how important a rubric is. They have determined that if a rubric looks too wordy, or uses complicated and vague language, most students will not even read it. A student would rather “wing” it and hope for the best. Some students might even look at it and say to themselves, “I am not going to do good on this assignment.”


If the rubric was done correctly, which means giving the students the expectations of the assignment clearly, the results can be tremendous for a student. A good rubric will lift the spirits of a student. They will look at it, and it will be easy on the eyes. It will be readable in the appropriate language of their level, and it will transform their mindstate to, ”I can do this!” A good rubric will not only boost the confidence of a student, it will actually give them the feeling that they can achieve success in the assignment.


In addition, a good rubric will also be a way for students to self-assess their work. They will know if they did good or bad before they even submit the assignment. It won’t be a mystery.


For example, a teacher gives the students a writing assignment. They are grade 6 level students. This academic year, they learned how to outline an essay, write thesis statements, topic sentences, organize the intro/body/conclusion, and how to put paragraphs in logical order. The assignment is to write an essay about the life they want to live in the future.


The first thing the teacher should do is give the students the objective of this assignment. What is the purpose of it? Let’s say the purpose is to show logical order and paragraph organization skills. Before students leave the classroom, the teacher needs to give the students clear work instructions and discuss the grading criteria on the rubric. What might this look like?

The instructions might say something like this:

The assignment for today is to write a 3-paragraph essay, using the organization skills we just learned in this lesson. Please make sure to use logical order, and the essay format we have learned in this chapter. Choose 3 points of discussion and make sure to include your thesis statement and topic sentences. Create a Microsoft Word document using Times New Roman 12-point font with a 350-word minimum. Include at least 1 quote in MLA format.

The Rubric expectations should look like this:


  • 3 or more body paragraphs 15 points (5 points for each body paragraph)
  • The correct essay format 15 points (5 points for each of the 3 main sections)
  • Logical order of paragraphs 10 points
  • 3 points of discussion 15 points (5 points for each point)
  • Thesis statement 5 points
  • Topic Sentences for ea. paragraph 5 points (1 point for each required)
  • Times New Roman 12-point font 10 points
  • 350-word minimum 10 points
  • Microsoft document 5 points
  • 1 quote with MLA format 10 points

If we add up the points, it equals 100 points. With these expectations, a student can see what is expected of them, and they will know what their score will be if they are missing some of the criteria. There is no mystery, and the students will most likely deliver what is expected.

In conclusion, we need to use logical reasoning and critical thinking when giving out assignments and scoring assignments. A child’s mind is easily affected, and at this point in their lives, the damage can be irreversible. Students need to be guided and positively motivated while learning. It is our duty to give them the tools they need to achieve success. Be clear and to the point with writing assignments. Let them show you what they learned. Set realistic expectations. We are not here to fail them or cause a long-lasting negative impact on their life. We are training them to succeed. Rubrics are the way!


By Daryl Koschak