Reflection: Performance Tasks Culminating Project 1: Stop-Animation Video (Day 5 of Project) - Section 4: Final Student Work and Rubrics

 

I remember developing a rubric for an element poster project that I had my 9th grade Integrated Coordinated Science class do during my first year of teaching.  Developing rubrics was actually an assignment in one of my District Intern Teacher Training classes, so it was a required assignment for me.  It felt tedious and afterwards I contemplated whether it actually provided enough guidance (and incentive) for students to create a successful end product.  Most of my students that year (and in subsequent years when I taught that particular course) met the 2's or 3's on the rubrics (graded 1-4), many did not mind earning 1's, but rare was the student who set out and strived to achieve 4's.

When I started implementing projects in my chemistry classes, I worried that working on a great rubric would not necessarily result in successful end products from my students.  I thought that perhaps a checklist would be enough.  The first time that I assigned this video project five years ago, I only provided my students with a checklist of requirements and parameters.  I found that students needed to ask so many clarifying questions because they cared about what the end product would look like and they wanted to do a good job.  These students were taking pride in their work!  Perhaps it was because they were more mature than the 9th grade science students I had been working with.  In fact, many of those same chemistry students were in my 9th grade class just two years earlier!  Something had, in fact, changed.  

While that second year of doing the project I did provide a final project rubric, I decided in the third year that a final rubric did not provide a checkpoint grade that I wanted students to have.  Final products were turned in without a built-in opportunity for students to receive feedback.  Students were free to seek my feedback, and I solicited groups to offer my feedback, but I wanted something more concrete.  

Having a Preproduction grade and a Final Product grade allows a set, quantifiable checkpoint for my students and I have seen a definitive increase in the overall quality of final product I get since implementing the Preproduction rubric.

There is also value in teaching students how to evaluate themselves.  As adults, we can often be our own harshest critics.  I have found that adolescents, however, tend to think that they are doing better than they actually are.  I believe this discrepancy is not because they have difficulty assessing personal work, but rather, I think they are not taught how to critically and neutrally look at their work and see what I see.  Students know what their personal intentions are and they know what they were thinking, but they do not often see a difference between what they mean and what they communicate.  Having students do the Preproduction Rubric within their groups to self-analyze their progress is a tool I use for teaching students this skill.  Once students sit with a rubric and are asked to honestly look at the work they are doing, they typically begin to understand my grading process and in the end our Preproduction Rubric totals often are within 1-2 points of each other.

  The Value of Rubrics for Projects
  Performance Tasks: The Value of Rubrics for Projects
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Culminating Project 1: Stop-Animation Video (Day 5 of Project)

Unit 3: Chemical Reactions and Stoichiometry
Lesson 14 of 14

Objective: SWBAT create a stop-animation video that shows what happens on the molecular level during a simple chemical reaction.

Big Idea: Bonds are broken and atoms are rearranged before forming new bonds during a chemical reaction; Matter is conserved.

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