Six Ways to use Rubrics as Teaching Tools

I just completed teaching an online university course offered in the Spring semester.  One of the assessments included grading student participation in terms of their online postings each week.  A rubric was provided for this assessment so instead of just using it myself, I thought it would be useful for students to use this rubric as a self-assessment tool. For the most part, students graded themselves lower than I did.  Just a few students had what I thought were unrealistic and over-exaggerated beliefs of their participation (the online platform logs the number of visits by each student) so it is hard to argue with those numbers!  Many students actually thanked me for the opportunity to self-assess!

Getting back to rubrics…Rubrics may not be the most exciting topic in English teaching but I suspect that most teachers use them.  In Canada, rubrics are used as early as primary school.  Did you know that the word rubric comes from the...

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Assessment: That Time of Year!

This week, I decided to write about assessment. Many of you are preparing your students for final exams/end-of-semester tests or are already marking piles of assessments. It is a stressful time of year for both teachers and students.

This semester, I am teaching an online course on Assessment as part of a TESL Certificate program at a local college in Canada. Teaching this course reminds me of how challenging and difficult it can be to design good tests and assessments for our students. I was trying to remember how I learned to design tests/assessments because it was not part of my TESL program 20 years ago. Like many aspects of teaching, we often learn these new skills as we go which is another reason why having a mentor is beneficial.

If you are new to writing tests, here is a brief overview/refresher for writing multiple choice questions (MCQ).

MCQs are probably the most commonly used format for tests.  Although these questions are harder to write than T/F, it does become...

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