I was surprised to learn–from my wife, no less–that I unconsciously assess things (especially edible things) on a personal scale with almost as many degrees as a thermometer.
- That’s okay. (Barely acceptable.)
- That’s not bad.
- Not half bad. (Well above average.)
- Not bad at all.
- That’s all right. (At least one Michelin star.)
- Pretty good. (At least two.)
There’s a theoretical maximum, “really good.” It’s like absolute zero, only warmer; you don’t find it much in nature.
I asked my children whether they’d ever heard me apply these terms. They couldn’t say, because it’s hard to talk when you’re convulsed in laughter.
The purpose of a scale is twofold: measuring and evaluating. Measuring is a comparison with some standard: you’re this tall (in inches, in cubits, in stacked-up poker chips). You typed 268 characters in 3 minutes and made 4 errors.
Evaluating is forming a judgment, usually by means of a further comparison. You’re tall for a 14-year-old boy. You meet the minimum speed required for this job.
Thanks to Stephen Downes’s OLDaily, I came across Clarence Fisher’s connecting assessment. It’s a rubric he created for middle schoolers “to help students think about the connections and global understandings they are establishing.”
He doesn’t plan to assign grades based on where students are–this is a conversation starter, he says. To me, it’s a way to say to the student, “This is how it might look if you’re at a beginner level of skill. This is more-than-beginner. This is how it looks if you’re accomplished.”
Fisher offered another rubric in an earlier post–one to help grade student blog posts.
What I like about these is that Fisher shares what he’s come up with for a particular situation. He even provides Google doc versions (blogging rubric, connecting rubric) in case someone wants to use them as starting points.
Pretty good, I’d say.