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Lab Rubrics - Formative Assessments
I am looking for a template for a lab rubric I can use for formative assessment in the classroom. I teach 5th and 6th grade, and have been assigned an extra hour-long lab class once a week on top of the regular science classes. What are some other ways you assess in the lab environment?
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I assess my students in a couple of ways. Each person in the group is assigned a role and they are resposible for making sure that part of their job is done. I have a captain and they make sure that their group stays on task and everyone is participating. The checklist person makes sure that all the steps of the procedure are being done accurately. The Materials person gets their group the materials and makes sure it gets put back. The question person is the only person in the group that is allowed to ask me questions. I want the students to work together and not rely on my for the answers. At the end of the lab the group is assigned points based on how well they worked together and their participation. Each activity or lab that they complete in class must be written up and they have a rubric that lets them know how much each category is worth.
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That is a great way to make sure all students are engaged and participating. I will be implementing this into my classroom in the fall for labs. Thank you.
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Excellent ideas Kelly. I, too, have multiple ways to assess scholars learning during laboratory investigations. From the use of their interactive notebooks and rubrics, to their presentation of results using their iPads. Thanks so much for sharing.
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Kelly, can you share these checklists and rubrics? Thanks! Cheska
Attached is a sample of a science lab report rubrics. Hope these help.
Science_Lab_Report_Rubric.pdf (0.07 Mb)
Absolutely! It's on my school computer so when I go in I'll send that over. I also use a science notebook that I find helpful when it comes to seeing what work my students are actually doing.
Here are a couple of the ones I used and created my own with. There is another one that I need to find and send over to you. I have an activity write-up rubric and a lab rubric that I posted in my room for my students.
Lab_Checklist.docx (0.01 Mb)
Science_notebook_Checklist.docx (0.02 Mb)
Science_Notebook.ppt (3.07 Mb)
I use lab notebooks with a holistic rubric. I have a couple of examples. They are on my conference presentation from San Fran last year. I will try to upload them, but you can access it through the conference site.
Lab_Notebook.pdf (9.82 Mb)
Labrubric.doc (0.02 Mb)
Labrubric2.doc (0.05 Mb)
Labrubricsimple.doc (0.02 Mb)
lab_objectives.xls (0.02 Mb)
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After looking at the different rubrics all of you have graceously provided for fellow members of this group, I am impressed with both the quality and quantity of these products. My question though is who does all the grading of these documents? It appears that some would take a great deal of time. With over 150 students per day, this would required an extensive amount of time. What is the solution for this problem in your opinion?
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In my class I just incorporated peer and self evaluations I still go through and grade all the labs but the kids are honest about their grades which is nice. They tell me what they think their partner should work on and what they need to work on.
I also like peer and self evaluations. As a former science teacher with well over 100 students each year, I often focused on grading only the data and analysis/conclusion portions of the lab. There were also times when I would collect one lab per group. I would have each student at the lab table write a number on their paper (1-6). I would then roll a die to determine which paper to collect. That ensured that each student was working and responsible for making sure everyone in the group participated equally. If I had a situation where one student was not working, I would collect that student's work separately and grade it by itself (so as to not penalize the other students).
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Oops. Hit the wrong button.
Anyway. Not a fan of checklists or rubrics that add up to some number of points. Too often it can artificially lower a students score and often tends to miss the big picture.
Here are some other lab thoughts
Thanks for sharing your lab rubrics; I like your method of holistic grading (I agree that sometimes rubrics consisting of points do not always accurately reflect the work done).
I teach middle school and many students have difficulty hanging onto things; do your students carry the lab books with them? I am thinking that for middle school it might be more age appropriate to keep the lab books in the classroom.
One way I've used to assess students lab work is using a "place mat". Just place a big sheet of paper at the lab station and let students write on it. Here you can have students brainstorm with their group to come up with questions, write possible procedures or collect their observations or all of the above and get to see their thinking through out the process. Having them work on it as a groups cuts down the papers you need to grade and the less formal process can make it seem less daunting then a full lab for students.
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Hi, Patricia. As for letting students keep their notebooks versus hanging on to them, I'm all for keeping the books in the classroom. This year I let my high schoolers take the notebooks out of the classroom, and the result is that nearly half can't find them anymore and have had to start a second, or even third, notebook. I think that next year I'm going to require them to leave the notebooks in the classroom and "check out" their notebook the night before a test or quiz perhaps.
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As a high school teacher I do not let the lab notebooks to leave, although lab notebooks are disappearing in favor of lab worksheets. It is sad that we are no longer using lab reports if any they are excellent writing practice. I had used carbonless paper for the data collection. Students take the original data to "work outside the class" and I keep the carbon copy. I had a donation of carbonless copies when they closed a lab. I do not know if there is carbonless paper or its affordability but it is really useful.
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I just bought an NSTA Science Store book called "Rising to the Challenge of the National Science Education Standsrds: The Processess of Science Inquiry" by Karen Ostlund and Sheryl Mercier (for grades 5 - 8). What I like about it, is that it contains some really cute posters that can be used in the classroom to help students understand the basic skills they will be practicing as they observe, infer, measure, etc., during a science activity. I am going to Kinko to have them made into larger hanging posters. The authors provide sample rubrics for assessing science process skills for three different lessons - one in each of the following science disciplines: life science, earth science, and physical science. The book first came out in 1996 and is in its 8th printing. I think it is a nice resource to have just for the posters on page 10 - 27. Newer teachers will appreciate the rubric examples for assessing the different process skills.
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I have my High School students write a report, I never thought of using a rubric for the report. I do use rubrics for a lot of projects and I like the one for the lab thanks
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Cheska, an article I read recently was about how the teachers used a whole class inquiry as an assessment of their students process and social skills at work to solve a real life problem. It was in The Science Teacher journal, so it is for high schoolers, but I thought you might get some ideas from it. The name of the article is Whole Class Inquiry Assessment. The article includes to examples of WCIs and explains how the students take charge of the problem-solving process.
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I'm looking for simple science labs with worksheets and rubrics for 6th,7th and 8th grades. Any help would be really appreciated. If you have any plz send them to my email id firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks a ton guys.Takecare
I thought that you might appreciate this article from JChemEd on a scaffolding approach to teaching lab report writing
A scaffold was created for the explicit instruction of
laboratory report writing. The scaffold breaks the laboratory report
into sections and teaches students to ask and answer questions in
order to generate section-appropriate content and language.
Implementation of the scaffold is done through a series of sectionspecific
worksheets that are introduced during the semester.
Implementation is supported by one-on-one feedback on all student
writing. The integration of scaffolding and personal feedback has led to
improved student writing.
WritingLabReports.pdf (0.39 Mb)
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These are really nice contributions - a very valuable discussion, I think. I have always shared my rubrics with the students - thinking they should know the expectations. I know other teachers who do not share. What is your thinking on this?
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I think it very important to share rubrics with students. They tell students explicity what is expected. It is not fair to have students guess about this. I took the Quality Matters classes on rubircs over the sumnmer. It was very helpful. We covered how to develop and deploy rubrics and whether to use analytic or holistc rubrics
If you check down a couple of posts, I have attached a bunch of rubrics that I use for physics. They would also be appropriate for your use. I would try to approach it more from an inquiry base where you are getting kids to accomplish simple structures. Make a hypothesis, collect data on a data table, graph data, write a few sentences for a conclusion (or reflection).
I would grade that age student with a holistic lab rubric. The points can quickly make a good performance have a bad grade or mask a bad performance by giving a score for included sections.
I have always shared rubrics with my students as well and sometimes I have the students help me to write the rubrics we will be using. For example, when we were doing a project on climate and biomes, I asked them what they wanted to learn and we made that into a rubric for their research projects then we discuss the elements of a good presentation and those made up the presentation rubrics that they used to grade each other.
Since the rubrics spelled out expectations, they ended up replacing instructions except for maybe some formatting and bibliography things I might have added.
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Our science team has also adopted a generic lab rubric (attached) this year although we are still struggling to implement it consistently. Our county has established labs within each of the content areas we teach in 6th grade. We didn't want to create a new rubric for each lab so we are trying the generic approach this year. We reviewed the rubric with the students at the beginning of the year to explain each grading area and expected performance for each area. We also review the rubric before each lab.
Generic_Lab_Rubric.docx (0.13 Mb)
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Brian, what an interesting idea using the place mat. I had never thought of that. This seems like a method that would work really well especially when just beginning a unit or concept. I will have to try it.
Don, I really appreciate your question about sharing rubrics with students. Thinking and the process of arriving at the “answer” needs to be transparent. We really have to leave behind the old theory of being “sneaky” about what students should know. If it’s important enough to assess, then students need to know that. I am by no means advocating that we give the students easy questions or answers become the only measure of importance. As teachers we need to be really transparent and intentional about our teaching to advance student understanding.
Not to be forgotten is the strategy of having students create rubrics as well. I have found over the years this can be a very valuable tool in assessing what students think are the important concepts within a unit. This reinforces to them that it’s not all about the answers, but the overall aspect of learning. Once they understand this, they become the masters of their own learning and become life-long learners.
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There are some very valuable resources in this thread. I don't believe in re-inventing the wheel so I like to combine a variety of rubrics together for my lab reports. I have 120 students and I find the most current lab rubric that I'm using very useful and efficient for grading multiple reports. In addition, it specifically outlines the expectations for each performance level. When we began the scientific method, we go over each section of the rubric and sometimes use it as a formative assessment during the unit.
Lab_Rubric.doc (0.06 Mb)
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At the beginning, what I do is just focus on one aspect of the lab. For example, I focus only on "observation" for their first microscope lab. By chunking what I'm looking at, we can really work on mastery at the same time it does not overwhelm the kids and myself( checking-wise). I really like the Science Writing Heuristic rubric. It engages kids more actively compared to the traditional rubric.
Mary Ann Ng
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I am a new science academy fellow, and I absolutely love the attachments that have been shared on this thread. Thanks!
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Thank you very much for the lab rubrics. As a new Science Academy Fellow, these resources are incredibly helpful.
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