But, how can we best measure success? Do we give up on testing as the primary means and not replace it with something more meaningful?
Rubric is a term originally meaning red earth or ochre, used as a color in sacred texts to highlight important points.
"A rubric is a scoring tool for subjective assessments. It is a set of criteria and standards linked to learning objectives that is used to assess a student's performance on papers, projects, essays, and other assignments. Rubrics allow for standardized evaluation according to specified criteria, making grading simpler and more transparent.It is of great value for students to know precisely how they are to be measured, and what performance goals are important for them to set for themselves. Progressive educators are making great use of rubrics in organizing and motivating student activities.
The rubric is an attempt to delineate consistent assessment criteria. It allows teachers and students alike to assess criteria which are complex and subjective and also provide ground for self-evaluation, reflection and peer review. It is aimed at accurate and fair assessment, fostering understanding and indicating the way to proceed with subsequent learning/teaching. This integration of performance and feedback is called "ongoing assessment."
What we really need in schools to replace our focus on standardized testing would be a rubric or set of rubrics through which parents and students as well as teachers and administrators can monitor and measure school performance and that would encourage teacher and student creativity as well as proficiency in reading and math. This would be a system of measurement growing from the foundations of K-12 education rather than being imposed from the outside by behavioral science.
Of course, there will always be those so little interested in the personal effects of education that they will prefer to monitor its progress or lack of progress from a spread sheet. But a real revolution in education will come when we reassert common sense, and it would be best if it grew from the ranks of educators and parents rather than from the halls of congress.
Imagine a rubric for schools that would ask that students be creative in their search for solutions. If you were to design a rubric, what would its components be? What elements of a child's education would be most important and given greatest emphasis? All things, even creativity, honesty, courage, and joy can be measured or observed and graded through use of a rubric. How do you measure joy in learning? One marker is when students become so engrossed in learning that they have to be told to go home. That happens in wood shop and at Clear Spring School.
Actually, a rubric is an easy thing for a craftsman to understand. As one works on the creation of an object, the maker evaluates progress on a variety of fronts. The object itself is a rubric of sorts. The craftsman looks at the selection of materials, the design, the fit of parts, the surface qualities of the materials, the application and fit of the finish, and the usefulness of the finished form, in assigning his or her "grade" to the work, and the fine craftsman learns to settle for nothing less than the best on all fronts. In a sense, the use of a rubric is the application of age old principles, from before science. The image above shows rubric, the lettering in red, reflecting the original definition of the term. The academic meaning of the term can be found here.