The Single-Point Rubric – Simple Feedback For Your Science Class

July 13, 2023 No Comments

We know that providing students with targeted and timely feedback is one of the most effective ways to improve student performance. But, it’s also incredibly time-consuming. So, how do science teachers find a balance between providing feedback and maintaining a sustainable workload? The single-point rubric is a great solution!

I learned about this type of rubric reading a post on Cult of Pedagogy. If you are interested in reading more about single point rubrics, be sure to check out the references below for a link to this blog post.

In this blog post, I’ll focus on how this type of rubric can be used in your science classroom. And, I’ll use a claim-evidence-reasoning rubric as an example.

What is a single-point rubric?

Unlike a traditional rubric, the single-point rubric is a simplified list of criteria. On each side of the criteria, there is space to provide written feedback to the student. So, this type of rubric emphasizes feedback.

Image of sample single point rubric with three colums.  the first says grows, second criteria and third says glows.

Here is an example of a single-point rubric that I use to grade my CERs.

The criteria are listed in the center. On the left side, there is a space for suggestions for how the student can improve. On the right is a space to note how a student has exceeded expectations.

Why use a single-point rubric instead of a traditional rubric?

You’ve probably used a traditional rubric in your classroom. If so, you know some of the challenges that come with using and creating them.

Benefits of a Single Point Rubric:- Take less time to create - Easy to read, simple to use-ideal for peer to peer feedback- plenty of space for feedback

Here are just a few :

  • They take a long time to create.
  • It’s difficult to distinguish between one level and the next.
  • They are visually overwhelming for students.
  • Students don’t fully read them.
  • They don’t leave much space for targeted feedback.

Personally, my biggest struggle is creating rubrics. It is difficult to anticipate how students will struggle with an assignment, especially if I have never done it with a class before. I find myself spending WAY too much time creating a rubric. Then, when I go to use it, I find that wording I have used doesn’t really help me assess students.

Gradually, over time, my rubrics get better. But, because they aren’t really read by students, I don’t think they are worth the time invested in creating them.

Advantages of a Single-Point Rubric

There are several advantages of a single point rubric. To begin, they take me way less time to create. Instead of coming up for separate criteria for each level of student work, I am able to focus on the criteria I expect for standards mastery.

Also, the single point rubric is much more visually clear. This makes it far more likely that students will read the requirements listed in the rubric. And, the single point rubric is so simple to use, that its fantastic to use for peer feedback.

Finally, the single point rubric allocates most of the space for feedback. Feedback is essential so that students understand what they did well and what they need to do in order to improve.

How do you grade a single-point rubric?

Before I answer this question, I encourage you to consider if it is necessary to provide an actual grade for an assignment. Ideally, your class focuses more on feedback and learning than it does on grades.

Just in case you need it, I encourage you to grade less. Instead, focus on providing your students with meaningful feedback.

How to Assign a Grade for a Single-Point Rubric

There are many ways to convert the rubric score to a grade. I’m going to discuss the one I like best. But, ultimately, the benefit of the single point rubric is that it is so flexible that you can adjust it to meet your needs.

First, consider your list of criteria. Then, determine how much criteria must be met in order to meet various levels of standards mastery. For example, maybe you expect students to meet 8/10 criteria in order to demonstrate mastery. So, if students met 9/10 criteria, they have exceeded standards. Or, if they have met 7/10 criteria, they’ve nearly met standards.

Generally, I like to use the terms exceeded, met, nearly met and did not meet to describe student performance. If necessary, I assign each of these a grade level. For example, a student who exceeds standards earns an A, while a student who nearly meets standards receives a C. Also, it’s easy to shift these letter grades or performance descriptors into point values if necessary. See the example below.

What are some ways to use a single-point rubric in a science class?

This type of rubric is easy to use in a variety of scenarios. Even students find them easy to use.

Peer-to-peer assessment

This is a great tool for students to use for peer assessments. Ask students to check off the criteria that their peers have met in the middle column. Then ask them to provide extra detail on the outside columns.

I use peer-to-peer assessment so that students get basic feedback on their work before they officially turn it in. This strategy catches a lot of simple mistakes. Therefore, I am able to spend time providing students with specific feedback.

Feedback on the SEPs and CCCs

Its easy to adapt the single point rubric to make them three-dimensional. Under the criteria category, break the section up into different dimensions. Below, I’ve created an example outline to use if you are assessing all dimensions. But, its okay to assess one or two dimensions at a time as well.

title: Three dimensional single point rubrics three columns: grows, criteria, glowsunder criteria there are three sections: SEP, DCI and CCC.

Resources and References

If you are interested in learning more about single point rubrics, check out these resources:

Erin Sadler

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