This is a process for improving how you can use assessment in a school environment. It is adapted from the process developed at the Assessment Research Centre (ARC) at the University of Melbourne. All credit is due to them, I am just helping to spread their ideas.

The entire process is:

  • Using developmental rubrics
    • a rubric is a method of assessment

Here is a video showing how rubrics can be used as evidence of learning:

  • what is special about a ‘developmental rubric’ is that the criteria (what is written inside the boxes) are descriptions of student performance.
    • Here is the best written explanation about how to make developmental rubrics, written by ARC researchers.
    • they are much more useful than rubrics not written this way. Students know what they can do and how they can improve, teachers can use the information to target instruction and parents have much better information about what their children can do, rather than just how they compare to others.
    • Here is a video showing the process of making a developmental rubric:
  • Turning those rubrics into “theoretical progressions”
    • using a procedure called a “pairwise comparison”, teachers determine relative difficulty of all criteria on the rubric
    • this means users of the rubric know the relative difficulty of one criteria compared to another
    • then many benefits flow: you can report on the levels

Here is a video of me doing a pairwise comparison on a massive rubric, going left to right rather than bottom to top:

  • Using a whole year’s worth of developmental rubrics to create a one year progression
    • once you have a rubric for one task, you can make a progression by combining all the rubrics for the whole year into one big one.

  • Use data to turn your theoretical progression into an empirical progression
    • You can do this using Guttman analysis:

This is how to make a Guttman chart:

  • Note that Guttman charts can be used for much more than just to develop a progression, here is my old boss Patrick Griffin talking about them:

  • Use a combination of data and teacher professional judgement to turn your one year progression into a multi-year progression

  • Divide your progression into levels, and write summary ‘level statements’
    • Some good examples of level statements are in these rubrics, developed by Melbourne University post-graduate education students here. Choose a subject from the menu on the left, open the rubric and they will have level statements.

  • Report against your progression, rather than A-E grades
    • how much better would it be if students got reports like this?