Many teachers supplement their teaching repertoire by using alternative assessments such as research projects that incorporate oral and visual presentations or reading and writing exercises. Often these projects assess different forms of intelligence than your regular test and are more memorable for the students. One of the most difficult aspects of such a project is grading. How does one objectively grade an alternative or performance based assessment? I have found a website, Rubistar, that greatly helps this process.
Rubistar which can be found at http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php is a free tool to help teachers create quality rubrics. It offers rubrics for Math, Reading, Multimedia, Art, Oral Projects, Work Skills, Writing, Science, Products, and Music. Each of these subject areas is further divided into a number of topics. In each of these topics, you can choose which categories to assess such as information, organization, and presentation style. After choosing the assessment categories, Rubistar will automatically create a 4 stage rubric that can be exported into Microsoft Word or Excel for editing. You can then customize the language of the rubric to match exactly what you are looking for. I have found these rubrics to be especially helpful in illustrating the subtle differences between a superior performance, and one that is good, adequate, or poor.