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The above rubric for the teacher, the criteria is listed in the column on the left. Instead of writing stiff statements or putting up conventional words, like "Clarity", "Voice" and "Body Language", I changed them into questions --- questions that students will ask each other casually, responses and cute comments that they will give to one another when they talk, especially after class or online. I believe students will find my rubric fun, enjoyable and personal when assessing each other or reading their own.
If you look at my rubric designed for peer assessment, instead of "Criteria" as on the teacher's rubric, I changed it to "I / We want to ask youâ€¦", and replaced "Student's / Pair's Performance" with "My / Our Performance wasâ€¦" . I think it sounds more lively and friendly.
On top of that, I changed the style of the font for the peer assessment form --- like a handwriting of an early teen, and put each column under a different color. Through my little rearrangements, I hope I can arouse their interest in actively (and seriously) participating in this peer assessment.
I especially designed a peer assessment for the students because it will help them to become a fair and sensible judge --- a judge of quality of their own work and others' work. I want them to define QUALITY by themselves, as well as be aware of their own work --- IMPROVE the quality and PRODUCE quality work accordingly.
The rubrics that I designed for both teachers and peers / students are user-friendly. They include all the necessary assessment items that are related to the effectiveness of presentation, the mechanics of writing process, and the quality and relevance of the new lyrics.
On the teachers' rubric, the four columns to the right of the "Criteria" describe different degrees of quality. Again, instead of "Excellent to Poor" or "Pass or Fail", I arrange them in an order of VERY GOOD EFFORT to NO / LACK OF EFFORT even though I did not put those down as the exact words.
As this is the FIRST project for this group of F. 1 students --- they have just promoted from Primary 6 to secondary school, there is a lot for them to adjust already. I want them to enjoy their English and learning, not resisting it or feeling terrified at the beginning of their school term. By integrating popular culture into this task, students would find it stress-free, and more willing to participate or even work with others / new classmates.
I think students will enjoy this project because it relates to them --- they love pop culture, they are familiar with Fama, the local rapper group, and most importantly, this generation is growing up with all these new technology now, EVERY DAY! What's the better way to LEARN and ENJOY English! Of course, it will serve my primary goals --- to assess and check their background knowledge, levels of English, their interests, get to know them AS A PERSON, and tailor made teaching materials that they will like and learn more effectively.
Appraise two grading rubrics :
I have a few comments about the "Assessment criteria marking sheet (individual presentation)" by Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, which Dr. DeCoursey passed it to us in class last week.
This assessment seems to have covered a lot of key areas in speaking and presentation skills. For example, pronunciation and delivery, communication strategies, vocabulary and language patterns, and ideas and organization. There is a very detailed description for each mark. It is a summative assessment and it is more for examinations or tests. It is because of its comprehensiveness, it can give students an overall picture of their performance.
However, there are some words on the assessment that I find rather vague or difficult to judge --- the line is too blurred. For example, different markers may have different interpretations and "their definition" on "Almost all" and "Most". How can we avoid or minimize subjectivity in this case? Another example, under "Ideas & organization", "Can convey relevant information and ideas clearly and fluently without the use of notes." (6 points) and "Can convey relevant information ideas clearly and well." (5 points) I wonder the difference between "fluently" and "well".
Another funny thing is "Can judge timing in order to complete the presentation." means you can score 6 points, whereas "Can judge timing sufficiently to cover all essential points of the topic" means you can score 5 points. Personally, I take and find "sufficiently' and "essential" very positively and encouraging, and I wonder why this does not represent "6 points" but only 5.
I have to say this is not a very user-friendly rubric for markers because :
1. The print on the marking sheet is very small. How can a marker afford to read through and mark more than 50 sets of exam paper without hurting or "overloading" their eyes!
2. I think "projection of voice" and "pronunciation" should be marked and assessed separately instead of putting under one big category --- "Pronunciation & delivery". Students may be able to project their voice and say everything loud and clear, but if they pronounce a lot of the words incorrectly. Then, I wonder what mark we should give to those students. Same argument applies to "Body language" and "Response" as well. If a student is expressive, use a lot of body language and gestures but it does not necessarily mean he / she can give correct or sensible responses to questions.
3. After looking through such a detailed rubric (in small print), the markers still need to write down further comments. The function of a rubric is supposed to cut down teachers' or markers' workload, not the other way round!
4. There is an "Overall" item at the bottom of the marking sheet, but what does it mean? "Overall score" or "Overall comment"? That is rather unclear.
Compare to another sample rubric handed out by Dr. DeCoursey, "HD English Presentation Assessment Marking Sheet & Criteria", it is more user-friendly. For example, the grading criteria is straightforward, not ambiguous. It is clear with precise description. It is easy to understand and follow, for both markers and students.
I would highly recommend the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority to redesign its rubric for their markers. As a teacher, I will opt for a format more or less like "HD English Presentation Assessment Marking Sheet & Criteria" as the marking sheet and criteria are clearly presented, it is more practical and efficient for classroom assessment.