Leveraging School-wide Rubrics

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How one school has leveraged school-wide rubrics to meet school academic needs, accreditation standards, and its District Determined Measures

Duxbury High School - Duxbury, MA

Several years ago, Andrew Stephens, principal of Duxbury High School in Massachusetts, was working with his staff to develop new school-wide rubrics for accreditation purposes. “We needed to come up with something that was relatable to the classroom, whether we were assessing for a skill that we could report out on or not,” Stephens says. Stephens and his staff began to think about how the school-wide rubrics could be used for both assessment of school-wide learning expectations and for day-to-day grading.

Stephens reports that over three years, he and his staff created, revised and reworked Duxbury High School’s school-wide rubrics until they were able to weave the assessment into the content of each department. Teachers are now able to map the rubric components to their course assessments and then enter a score for each component into their grading software. The scores for student skills in subject areas are both reported out as raw data – which is shared with parents quarterly – and mapped into a total grade for class assessments. The result? The rubrics have helped Duxbury administrators and teachers meet their accreditation standards and provide a valuable grading tool all at the same time.

But here’s what’s even more exciting: what began as a way to “kill two birds with one stone” became even more. Stephens reports that as the rubrics became more developed, they began to think of how they could use them to meet two critically important yet different sets of standards – accreditation and state requirements. If they were able to take these quarterly assessments and evaluate student progress, could the rubrics be used as District –Determined Measures (DDMs) to meet state requirements? Could they cross-walk these two important sets of academic metrics? With this question in mind, the team continued to refine the rubrics to create a workable cross-walk. And, when the school-wide rubric for their language department was submitted to the state, it was accepted as a valid DDM.

In this way, Duxbury High School has been able to use one tool to serve as a measure for both accreditation and state standards. Stephens notes that the work continues with a focus now on “streamlining reporting responsibilities so that it is less on teachers in the face of new requirements.” But he adds that moving school-wide rubrics beyond paper compliance has helped his school create one system to serve both accreditation and state measurement requirements.

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NEASC 2015-08