I received an email recently from a reader asking for tips on how to assign a grade to her dyslexic high school student who was not working up to ‘grade level’. He was working hard, but the end product was far from that of a traditional 16-year old. This is a common dilemma for homeschoolers. What this homeschooling mom needed was a grading tool that could be individualized for her unique student.
Creating your own unique grading rubric is a great solution to the ‘how to assign a grade’ dilemma.
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What are Grading Rubrics?
Rubrics are not only a systematic way to establish grades for your homeschool student, they also are a great way to let students know exactly what is expected of them. They are a powerful tool for creating customized learning goals for students, especially those who are not up to grade level due to dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, or other learning difficulties. Take a look at the Writing Rubric below for an example of how a rubric works.
Writing Rubric Example
How Grading Rubrics Work
A rubric is a scoring tool that lists the grading criteria for an assignment. These criteria are broken down into specific categories relevant to the assignment.
In the writing rubric example above, along the left-hand column, the assignment criteria are:
- Supporting evidence
Along the top of the rubric, there are also ratings, including points earned, for several levels of competency for each of the criteria:
- Needs improvement
- No mark – criterion not attempted or completed
In the rubric example above, these ratings include a point score for each level which I really like. Points can be tallied and a grade given based on whatever scale you choose for your homeschool. For example: 90-100% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, etc. Assigning a point value to each rating helps a student and parent to know exactly how to grade each aspect of the assignment.
How to Make Your Own Grading Rubric
- Make a list of what you want the students to accomplish through the assignment (criteria).
- Organize your list from most important to least important.
- Decide on an overall point value for the assignment.
- Assign each item on your ranked list a point value.
- Multiply your total point value from step 3 by each item’s assigned percentage to arrive at the point value for that item.
- On a fresh sheet of paper, write each criterion on your list in order from most to least important. Make sure to leave room in between each category.
- Assign specific grading criteria (i.e. what you expect them to do) for each main criteria from step six.
You can simply write your grading rubric on paper or type it if you’re proficient with a spreadsheet program. If you’re like me and spreadsheet programs make you break out in a cold sweat, you’re in luck. There are a variety of rubric makers that are available online.
There are also some sites with free downloadable rubrics. These can also be used for ideas on how to create your own customized rubric.
Customizing Rubrics for Kids With Dyslexia
Back to the question from my reader with the high school-aged son who was ‘behind’ in his writing skills.
Note: I’m not a fan of the term behind. All of our kids are on a journey of learning and as long as they are making progress, I’m happy.
So if your child needs to make progress with writing a thesis statement, you can weight this criterion more heavily with your rubric. If your child still struggles with grammar, give that less of a percentage of the total grade. Or be super specific and focus on just one area of grammar such as capitalization and end marks or any other relevant goal that you may have.
A Note About Accommodations
The use of accommodations should not affect a student’s grade. Go ahead and allow any and all accommodations for your child. Accommodations for writing are things like using speech to text, not counting off for spelling, or having someone scribe for him. For more information on the best accommodations for kids with dyslexia, click here. Remember accommodations are used to allow students with learning difficulties to express themselves at their intellectual level. Students with dyslexia in public school are not marked off for the use of accommodations and neither should your homeschooled student.
Get Your Grading Rubric
Download our free customizable grading rubric here!
How about you? How have you assigned grades to your homeschooled students?