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Standards-Based Rubric for Publications

Standards-based grading is nothing new, but in the past few months, I have had quite a few questions come in asking for guidance and/or a rubric. As always – your wish is my command! 


This is an editable Google Sheet.
When you click to download, you will be prompted to make a copy into your own Google Drive.
Select cells A1-23K and go to File > Print. Use the following settings:
Print: Selection
Paper Size: Letter
Page Orientation: Portrait
Scale: Fit to Height
Margins: Narrow
Uncheck “Show Gridlines”
Eenter grade values into Column J, and the total will be calculated into cell 23J.

It seems that many school districts are adopting this methodology of grading where they can. I don’t think it’s perfect for every subject. (My husband is a Geometry teacher and feels numerical grades make more sense for math. Hard agree.) But for journalism and school publications, I think standards-based grading makes a lot of sense. 

Generally, a standards-based rubric is a comprehensive and systematic approach to evaluating and measure student performance. Using a rubric provides a clear and objective framework for assessing a wide range of skills, competencies, and knowledge within the specified domain.

Key Features:

  1. Alignment with Standards: The rubric is carefully aligned with relevant educational standards (JEA, SPJ, Common Core, TEKS, etc.), ensuring that the assessment criteria directly correspond to the expected learning outcomes. This alignment enhances the validity and reliability of the assessment process.
  2. Holistic Approach: Taking a holistic approach to evaluation, the rubric encompasses multiple dimensions of performance, offering a comprehensive view of the student’s mastery of the subject. This approach allows for a nuanced understanding of strengths and areas for improvement. This part is what I especially love in relation to publications – as the assignment will eventually “meet standard” if it ends up being published. Using a rubric like this lets you easily show progress during the production process.
  3. Weighted Values: Each standard is scored on a point scale, with a total of 100 points for Excellent work. Some standards are worth more points than others, and each standard receives 0 points for incomplete work.
  4. Clear Descriptors: The rubric includes detailed descriptors for each performance level, providing clarity on the expectations for proficiency at different stages. These descriptors guide both educators and learners in understanding the specific criteria and criteria-specific indicators.
  5. Adaptability: Recognizing the diverse nature of students and journalism programs, the rubric is designed to be adaptable. It can be customized to suit different levels of expertise, grade levels, or specific learning objectives, making it a versatile tool for a variety of educational settings. Feel free to edit the standards, the weight of the point values, etc. Make it make the most sense for your program.
  6. Objective and Consistent Evaluation: By utilizing a standardized set of criteria, the rubric promotes objectivity and consistency in the assessment process. This ensures fair evaluation across different assessors and over time. For instance, let your editors get some practice evaluating their peer’s work and discuss their decision making process.
  7. Feedback Enhancement: The rubric serves as an effective tool for providing constructive feedback. Assessors can use the rubric to offer specific comments on areas of strength and areas that need improvement, facilitating targeted and actionable feedback for learners.
  8. Facilitation of Goal Setting: As an integral part of the assessment process, the rubric can be utilized to set clear performance goals. By referencing the rubric, staff members can identify specific areas for growth and work towards achieving higher levels of proficiency.
  9. Continuous Improvement: The rubric supports a continuous improvement cycle by allowing for ongoing reflection and adjustment. Advisers can use the assessment data to inform instructional practices and adapt teaching strategies to better meet the needs of learners.

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