Article: Rubric Assessment in Google Classroom

How I use Google Sheets as my Rubric in Google Classroom
Copy Rubric

John Alesch

Introduction

I assign a lot of digital work. Actually, 100% of it. For some time I struggled with assessment of digital work. Not so much with what I was grading, or the skills and knowledge I was assessing, but with physically having digital work to assess on my computer and needing to give the student a grade and feedback. I especially struggled when having/wanting to grade from a rubric.

Google Classroom does not support rubric grading. Sure they are working on it and testing it out for the future, but the current reality is that it does not. All Google Classroom currently supports is collecting the work, setting a point value, giving a score back for up to that point value, and posting comments. This does not meet my expectation of providing students with timely, relevant, and focused feedback when grading. (Side Note Rant: There are Learning Management Systems (LMS) out there that are far better and more robust than Google Classroom that support rubric based assessment. Canvas LMS, for example, has nearly mastered this. If any district level decision makers read this, I'd ask that you do everything in your power to get us a real LMS, please, especially before you put computers in the hands of every student)

Below I am sharing what I have done to address rubric based digital assessment within Google Classroom, and share what I am currently doing. If you like what I am currently doing below, then watch for future posts to the PMS Tech Resource Site that will include how to do some of the things I do in Google Sheets (drop down menu selection, and conditional formatting for example).

What I've Tried

At first I did what I assumed most teachers would do to grade from a rubric. I would open the students digital work on my computer (whether it be a paper, slides, poster, art, computer program, etc...) and take out my printed copy of the rubric and grade their work by writing on the paper rubric. While this did let me score them based on the skills I was assessing, I disliked this method for 3 main reasons.
  1. It was a struggle to give feedback. simply circling the level that they achieved for each skill or standard. I am slow at writing by hand, and not very legible when I go fast. So the reality is I ended up giving kids scores, but not really explaining why they earned that score.
  2. It wasn't very timely for me. I didn't get assignments grades as quickly as I wanted to because it was such a timely process for me. Many times the rubric became simply a passive grade sheet to the student because it wasn't timely enough.
  3. Students had a disconnect. I observed that even when I got the paper rubric back to my students in a timely manner, they struggled to tie the feedback on the rubric to their project. Mostly because the rubric wasn't there with the project, so they struggled relating the two together.

What I Do Now

After experimenting with several ways of trying to turn my rubric assessment digital in Google Classroom, I have landed on a way that is working for me now. But, before I share that, let me tell what I tried and didn't work or like. (If you want to know why on some of these, just ask. I won't bore you with the ugly details)
What Didn't Work:
  1. Attaching the paper rubric as a PDF and using a pen or marking tool.
  2. Putting the rubric in a Google Doc and attaching the Doc to the assignment in Classroom
  3. Using a Google Add On like Flubaroo

What Works For Me

Currently I have found a solution that meets my needs when grading from a rubric. I have created a Google Sheet that I build my rubric into. I attach the Google Sheet to the assignment when I post on Google Classroom, making sure that I "Make a copy for each student" when I do.

Before posting, I took the time to make my template more robust than just a plain Google Sheet with categories and point values. I protected cells I didn't want students to change from editing. I added Auto-Sum and Average features to do the score updating and totaling. I made the scores a drop down menu, so I would only have to click to score, not keep typing a number. I added conditional formatting to change color of certain cells based on score. 

Here is a Screen Shot of my 7th Grade Rubric.

Summary

I like my current solution better than any of the other methods I have tried for several reasons.
  1. The students have the rubric when they start a project.
  2. After students submit, the rubric is already in the same spot as the project for me.
  3. I can quickly assess and score the students work.
  4. I can type comments into my comments cell and the students can see this with the rubric at the same time. (If I just use the Google "Post Comment" box, they can't see it once they open the project)
  5. Students get the rubric and project back together, in the same place they submitted, with digital notification that it has been graded.
  6. I can let the students pre-grade themselves before submitting, and use that information to connect/motivate/engage students with their grading and it's relationship to their project.
As with everything, it is far from perfect, but it is definitely an improvement for me on what I was doing. If you have any great tips, tricks, or tools on how you use rubrics to grade digital assignments, I would love to hear about them.

If you would like to a copy of my rubric to try as a Template you can click here for your own copy of mine.