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Showing posts with the label SmartRubric

Why rubrics?

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The run-up to the holidays is often the toughest term of the school year. It's often the longest, it's dark when you leave and dark when you get home, and the honeymoon period of good behaviour in your lessons has worn off. You might be looking down the barrel of mid-year mock exam preparation (and marking!) and the reality that the coursework your KS4 groups were meant to have finished last year hasn't even been started, let alone marked.

But there's good news too. Now's a great time to make some changes to your assessment practice that'll pay off big time down the line in terms of impact and time saved.

I give you... the humble rubric. You can either print these out and use them as a pro-forma (good), or you can sign up for SmartRubric and use an interactive rubric to mark (better).

First, I'll explain what a rubric is, how to make them, and how to use them effectively. Then, I'll give you three really good reasons why you should be using them for al…

UPDATED: Integrate your School Data with SmartRubric

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We are now ready to connect your MIS to SmartRubric via Assembly! Email data@smartrubric.com to get set up. Over the next week or so I'll publish some more guidance on how this works, as well as tutorials for those of you who have already connected your systems. 



I'm really excited to announce that beginning in September, we plan for SmartRubric to be able to integrate with some school management systems -- SIMS, ScholarPack, Bromcom, RM Integris, Arbor and Advanced. 

That means that if you connect SmartRubric to your school MIS via Assembly, you and your department will be able to log in and get marking -- no need to set up classes and students!

The integration won't cost you anything if you have 15 or more teachers using SmartRubric, otherwise, SmartRubric will levy a £6/month flat charge. If you would like to start using SmartRubric in your department(s) starting from September with an MIS integration, I'd be happy to offer you a totally free trial with support f…

Matching a specification in SmartRubric - Weighting Assessment Objectives

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As exam season approaches, ensuring that you are providing accurate grades for mock exams and practice questions is really important. In this post, I'm going to explain the tools available to you in SmartRubric for setting up correctly weighted assessment objectives. 
SmartRubric is a GIGO system -- if you set up a good rubric, your marking experience will be smooth, accurate and painless. If you set up an awkward or incorrect rubric, you will not get the most out of SmartRubric. But don't worry -- I'm here to help! You can always email caroline@smartrubric.com to get personal help. 

Typically, exam specifications will give you guidance about how much each assessment objective is worth, but it isn't always clear how best to represent that in SmartRubric. I'm going to go through an example where some assessment objectives are weighted more heavily (worth more) than others. I'll break down the mark scheme, and then build it in SmartRubric.
EXAMPLE:  OCR A-Level …

What is SmartRubric?

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If you're just coming across SmartRubric, and would like to know a little more about what it is and why I think it's a game changer for teacher workload and formative assessment, read on.


SmartRubric is a formative assessment app designed to ease teacher workload while at the same time improving the quality and usefulness of student progress data for schools.

I developed the initial prototype of SmartRubric while I was an English teacher in a secondary school in London. English teachers reading this will know -- my marking workload was very intense. My colleagues and I would spend hundreds of hours every year marking open-ended essays and projects; providing extensive detailed handwritten formative assessment feedback for our students. And rightly so! High quality formative feedback is an essential part of facilitating student learning.

But, the way we were (and most teachers are) marking is broken for two reasons:

It is inefficient. Because we mark against a criteria; an asses…

New feature: Gap Analysis Gradebook

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I've added another high level report to SmartRubric. Now, if you would like to see how students in your class have performed by strand across all of your assessments, you can!

This is going to be super useful for exam preparation, because you'll be able to spot trends and weak spots at a glance. 
To access your Gap Analysis Gradebook, just go into your normal gradebook (Classes > {your class}), and click on the 'Gap Analysis View' link next to the gradebook title: 

This will take you into the Gap Analysis gradebook, and you can do all of the usual things, like showing and hiding columns and exporting to CSV. 



How to: Customising a rubric for your specific class

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The whole point of SmartRubric is to make feedback more targeted and helpful for students, and to make your marking workload smaller and more manageable. If you aren't customising rubrics you might be making your life and the lives of your darling students much more difficult and confusing.

Don't worry, it's easy. I'll walk you through it. Here's a scenario for you:

You are a KS3 teacher. Your department has a big 'master rubric', which contains all of the strands that are assessed in your subject, and all of the possible levels a student could be at for years 7, 8 and 9. That means, maybe, 12 or thirteen levels and ten strands or so per core skill on multiple tabs. It's colossal, but really useful because it contextualises and maps out pretty much the entire curriculum. If you are sharing rubrics across a department, I highly recommend having one of these. Email me if you want help building one.

So, the beauty of having one of these is that you, as, sa…

Managing rubrics for a wide range of abilities

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Or, 'Help my rubric is enormous and my AFL sheets look terrible!'

With the addition of the ability to create multiple assessments across different classes, a new and exciting issue has cropped up. Since your 'multiple assessments' all need to use the same rubric, you'll probably end up needing one that covers a much broader range of abilities (this advice applies to single assessments for mixed-ability groups, too).

Sometimes, this means you end up with a rubric that has upwards of eight or nine bands! This causes some issues with formatting your AFL sheets, because SmartRubric tries to cram all of your bands onto a single sheet of paper for your student.

I'm working on a smarter, more comprehensive fix, but until that's ready, I've made you a special 'giant rubric' AFL template. From now on, if you try to download your whole class AFL sheets on one of these giant rubrics, you'll get a little alert showing up, like this:

You can throw cautio…

Get organised now!

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Hello teacher friends! I hope your summer holidays have been both restful and restorative.

Since it's the beginning of the year, now would be a great time to take advantage of the many organisational tools that SmartRubric offers to help you conquer your marking before it turns into a giant snowball/hamster wheel of doom. But first, some housekeeping:

For those of you who are setting up SmartRubric for the first time, please check out our series of helpful tutorials and videos to help you make the most of your new SmartRubric account:

How to set up your account and start marking in less than 10 minutes (<-- start with this one)How to set up your account - more detail and resourcesHow to set up a classHow to create a smart rubricHow to feed back to students Once you have your account set up, you might be interested in some of the more advanced features of SmartRubric. You can find a list of relevant tutorials here
If you are an old hat at SmartRubric and have set up classes befo…

New Feature: Tracker

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So, a few weeks ago I hinted in this post at some brand new features that come out of the ability to set up assessments for multiple classes at once. Well, here's one for you!

This feature is available to teachers and administrators who belong to a department or school SmartRubric account (Sorry, solo teachers! You can upgrade for as little as 10 GBP/month).

The Departmental Spreadsheetwill be a familiar beast to most of you, and, to be completely honest, it isn't something that SmartRubric has been able to replace...until now.

Now that you can create linked assessments for a bunch of classes at once (this post tells you how), you are probably going to want to look at a nice, friendly, top level overview of how all of the students are doing on these linked assessments. You probably want something that looks like this:
Just imaginethe efficiency. You, as department administrator, can set up all of your formal assessments for the whole year (if you want!), make a tracker like the…

How to roll up your cohorts up in SmartRubric

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If you are a department administrator or a single teacher (you don't share your SmartRubric account without other teachers at your school), you're probably going to want to roll up your cohorts for the start of the 2017/18 school year. That way, your dear little year 7s will become cheeky year 8s, your 8s will become sulky 9s and so on. Graduating students get sorted into an alumni group, and a new incoming class is created.*
*Before you do this, make sure the list of year groups accurately reflects your school's intake. So, if you are a secondary school, you should have a Year 7 group even if you don't have any students in it. Otherwise it'll snarl up the magic. 

The more eagle-eyed amongst you may have already noticed that there is (for a limited time only) a great big button to help you do this. The button appears in the summer, and lasts for three months into the school year. If you miss the window, don't panic. Just drop an email to support@smartrubric.com

New Feature: Multi-class assessments

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As a department lead, you may wish to schedule formal assessments for your entire department in advance. 
So, for example, you know that the top three year 10 English sets are going to sit a partial mock exam just before Christmas. As long as all of the assessments use the same rubric, you can link them together by creating a multiple class assessment. All you need to do is click on the yellow 'New multiple class assessment' button on your dashboard, or select 'Assessments > New Multi-Class Assessment' from the navigation menu. 

The process of creating a multiple class assessment is identical to creating a regular assessment, except instead of selecting a single class from the drop down, you can select as many as you like. 
When you create a master assessment in this way, a new assessment for each class you select is added. These new assessments behave exactly like any other assessment -- they show up in the to-do list and gradebook of the responsible teacher. 
Why i…

How to Feed Back to Students

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You've marked an entire set of books (or just one student) using SmartRubric, and now you would like to pass that feedback on to your students. Great! Here's how you do it. 

(If you would rather watch a one-minute video demonstration, you can do that here)
Option 1: I want to print (or save a PDF) a feedback sheet for a single student:When you have finished marking a piece of student work, you will see something like this: 
Click 'Go to detailed student report'. This brings you to the report for that student. Scan it over, make sure you like what it says, and then go ahead and click the print icon in the top right corner of the report:

Now, if you want to print it out right then and there, you can go ahead and do that. You might need to mess around with the layout (change from portrait to landscape or vice versa depending on your particular printer/browser configurations). If you print in colour, you'll get snazzy colour blocks to help students see what their progress …

Set up your account and start marking in less than 10 minutes

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Set up your SmartRubric account, add a class full of students, build a custom rubric and create an assessment in less time than you think.


I know that as a teacher, your time is really precious. Perhaps you've been putting off getting to grips with SmartRubric because you're swamped with work. I know how it goes. But, did you know that you can completely set up your account, create a custom rubric and start marking real student work in less than ten minutes?

For a time investment of just ten minutes, you could be saving hours on time spent marking this term!
I recorded a real-time video as I set up a brand new SmartRubric account. I made a rubric for an in-class English Literature assessment, but you could evaluate anything you like.

All you need to get started is a SmartRubric account (get one for free here), a list of the students in the class that you would like to asses, and a clear idea of the skills or objectives for your assessment.

If you haven't already, please l…

New Feature: User submitted rubrics in the Template Library

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We've made it even easier to get high quality rubrics to use with your classes by making some major improvements to the Template Library. Now, not only is it easier to find what you are looking for (rubrics are now grouped by subject and searchable by Key Stage/Grade), but all users can publish rubrics that they have created to the Template library. Hooray!

In this post, I'll cover the features of the new Template library and how to publish your lovely rubrics to it.

Part the first: The new Template Library

The new template library has a subject menu, so you can zero in on the rubrics that are likely to be most useful for you. The badge icon lets you know how many rubrics are tagged with that subject. Help us fill them up!

To get a closer look at a specific rubric, just click on it. A detail window will pop up, and from there you can preview the full rubric, copy it into your library or rate it.

The green checkmark means that the rubric has been validated. That just means that …

Awesome new progress reports!

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The final feature that we planned to implement before the launch (!) at Bett 2017 is complete, and I am maybe even more excited about it than I was about moderation.

You now have access to a fully featured query engine that lets you drill down into specific student groups and track progress. You want to compare how Year 11 is performing compared to year 7 versus the whole school? Easy peasy, lemon etc:
 You want to compare how year 7 EAL history students are progressing against literacy objectives with how they are doing in science? You only need to think it and it is so! What's that you say? You want a nice line graph that maps it all out for you against a baseline? Why certainly! Your assistant head prefers raw data so she can make her own infographics? We have you covered.

The query engine means you can filter student progress by a whole range of student, subject and skill characteristics. So, if a key group for you is lower income white boys, or G&T bengali speakers in yea…