Teaching "Assessment Criteria" to Elementary Students

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Assessment Criteria developed by Gail Lauinger, a 4th and 5th grade teacher at Mendocino Grammar School, Mendocina, CA.
The first method is based upon Writing Workshop's model of a read around. Using a class set of papers, remove students' names and write a number. Sort papers into groups of four or five (six if your class is bigger than 30) and arrange your students accordingly.

Each group is given a set of papers. Emphasize the confidentiality of the papers so the reading is as fair as possible. Each student reads every paper in their set. After completion the group discusses which paper they thought was the best. When the class is finished they pass the papers on (usually clockwise around the class). They repeat the process for each set of papers. When each group has read all sets, record their choices on the board. Read the most frequently chosen paper aloud (or make an overhead if time allows). Either in groups or whole class develop reasons/criteria for why it was chosen as the best. Repeat this for one or two more. The criteria can be listed in rubric form.

The other method I've used is to use about half of the papers from an assignment. Again, names are removed and numbers assigned. I then copy as many sets as I have groups in the class. Each group reads the papers and sorts them into three piles: Very Good, Satisfactory, Needs Revision/Incomplete. They then reread each pile and write the criteria for the pile. Each group puts their three lists of criteria on a poster with the corresponding numbers for each. The class discussion focuses on the criteria developed and any major differences in judging a paper. This process results in a three point rubric.

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