Scoring rubrics can be holistic or analytical. In holistic scoring rubrics, general descriptions of performance are made and a single overall score is obtained. An example from grade 2 language arts in Los Angeles Unified School District classifies responses into four levels: not proficient, partially proficient, proficient and advanced is on Table 39.
Analytical rubrics provide descriptions of levels of student performance on a variety of characteristics. For example, six characteristics used for assessing writing developed by the Northwest Regional Education Laboratory (NWREL) are:
- ideas and content
- word choice
- sentence fluency
Holistic rubrics have the advantages that they can be developed more quickly than analytical rubrics. They are also faster to use as there is only one dimension to examine. However, they do not provide students feedback about which aspects of the response are strong and which aspects need improvement (Linn & Miller, 2005). This means they are less useful for assessment for learning. An important use of rubrics is to use them as teaching tools and provide them to students before the assessment so they know what knowledge and skills are expected.
- This strategy of assessment for learning should be more effective if the teacher:
(a) emphasizes to students why using accurate terminology is important when learning science rather than how to get a good grade on the test (we provide more details about this in the section on motivation later in this chapter)
(b) provides an exemplary response so students can see a model
(c) emphasizes that the goal is student improvement on this skill not ranking students.
Seifert, K. and Sutton, R. (2009). Educational Psychology. Saylor Foundation. (Chapter 11) Retrieved from open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/BookDetail.aspx?bookId=153 (CC BY)