cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Adapt Canvas Rubrics to Conventional Rubric Design

Adapt Canvas Rubrics to Conventional Rubric Design

(7)

This idea suggests additional improvements to Canvas rubrics so they conform with conventional rubric design. Although the updated rubric features were improved from the original Canvas release, some fine tuning is still needed, namely, how the grading grid is displayed and adding descriptions in the Rating header. Scroll down to the current/proposed illustrations posted below for a quick view of this idea.

As an Instructional Designer for a large school district in Florida, I create rubrics alongside the assignments we create and curate — much of the time I'm working to convert the pedagogical content given to our team by teachers. Most of the rubrics I receive contain brief descriptions in the header row of the scoring column. Canvas doesn't provide that space in its rubrics.

As a work-around, I attempted to create a rating header containing these brief descriptions. Each had a zero-point score. To my surprise, Canvas then sorted the rating titles alphabetically resulting in misaligned ratings for the remaining body of the rubric. Just couldn't accomplish a full digital interactive copy of the rubrics I'd been provided.

Canvas rubrics would be so much easier to use if they followed a format standard in the teaching profession. The first digital rubrics were created with spreadsheets and then later with HTML tables, which mirrored what teachers had done with paper and ruler for decades. Following this standard format convention would be a fantastic improvement for Canvas over what is now available.

Here's the very best workaround I could produce using the Canvas rubric construction space.

  • Notice that the Rating Descriptions are ordered by placing alphabetical sorters in front of the rating labels.
  • Also, notice that what should be displayed as a evenly plotted grid has varying widths of columns for each criterion.
  • Finally, notice that Canvas requires a Rating Title for each rating of each criterion, resulting an even more text-heavy rubric with redundant text.

Current Canvas Rubric Format

Here is the proposed Canvas rubric improvement.

Proposed Canvas Rubric Format

  • The improved rubric follows generally accepted format, making it more user friendly and more usable.
  • The proposed rubric allows for varying point ratings, but points and rating labels would not be required.
  • This rubric improvement idea also doesn't require point values in the Ratings Header, but presented as an option would go a long way to simplifying the look of the rubric by avoiding repetitious and redundant information.

 

This idea may not cover all aspects of optimal rubric creation and usage, but I strived to included the most used aspects that are currently missing (without awkward workarounds). I also groomed this idea to be easily implemented by Canvas s/w engineers. If this improved rubric would be useful to you as a teacher, and easy to implement as an engineer, please vote it UP.

31 Comments
Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

 @ronmarx  

I can see why this request would be made for individuals that use very simply structured rubrics, but in the example you define, how would you recommend solving for the following?

  1. criteria with variable points or weighting (i.e. not all worth the same)
  2. criteria with variable ratings (e.g. criteria 1 has 3, criteria 2 has 3, criteria 3 has 4)

See, the rubric that exists was actually designed to allow more flexibility, which we all know can add complexity, but it allows more instructors to assess without having to conform to a specific format.

ronmarx
Community Member

Thank you for the clarification questions,  @Renee_Carney ‌, I think I understand what you're asking. If my answers show a misunderstanding, please let me know!

1. For criteria with variable points or weighting, then the rating header wouldn't have points as part of the description. Rating descriptions are usually phrased to guide the teacher/grader in this subjective assessment exercise. Scoring ranges could also be used on a criterion to criterion basis. Again, the listing points in the rating header is descriptive only.

2. Criteria could have variable ratings, but if you think about it, wouldn't that make grading unnecessarily complicated for teachers, and blur goals for students? The reason for clear learning goals is to set up reasonable expectations for performance by students. Wouldn't it be just as easy to bifurcate a criterion achievement score to match the overall pattern of the rubric?

In the K-12 world, establishing clear goals and expectations is the key to a good lesson for students, even if that compels teachers to conform to the format they created in the first place! Consistency and simplicity within a lesson actually gives students more choice, and allows them to be more creative. A rubric that is consistent and easy to understand is equally important.

Thanks for the prompt that allowed me to present a pedagogical explanation.

Cheers,

iRon

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

 @ronmarx  

I taught Pre-K-8 for 5 years so I completely agree with clear goals and expectations, and rubrics are one of my favorite tools to use.  In-fact I had many rubrics that looked just like your mockup before I started using Canvas.  I will admit it was a shift for me but I grew to appreciate the flexibility that is the current structure.  I'm not trying to discredit your suggestion at all, but instead say that I would hate to see us lose the flexibility.

So my suggestion for this idea would be to not focus on changing the one that is there, but instead maybe make the suggestion for a secondary rubric structure option? 

ronmarx
Community Member

I agree entirely,  @Renee_Carney ‌, that is what I'm suggesting, and why I referred to this feature as an option teachers/designers could use, not be required to use. How would you suggest I revise this idea to call for a secondary rubric structure without having to start all over again? Can I just retitle this idea in Edit mode?

BTW, there are several ideas in CC Studio that suggest various improvements to rubrics, such as  @chofer ‌'s https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/11974-headers-in-rubrics-for-informational-text which suggests grouping criteria under functional headers, such as you would see the rubrics across K-12 instructional materials. Are you simply suggesting a title change as I surmised above so this idea gets more traction?

Thanks again,

Ron

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

yes, a title change so that people know it is an as for a separate feature and not to replace the existing.

kmcgrath
Explorer II

In my rubric, it appears that students can only see the long description of the rating if their score happens to fall on a breaking point.  For example, essay Content is worth 30 points, and a score of 28-30 is excellent.  If they only get 28 points, they see "no details" instead of seeing the long description.  

I tried duplicating the rubric and removing points, but that means I have to assign ratings for each criterion offline, and only input the total score.

I was excited to use rubrics so my students could see exactly how I arrived at their scores, but it turns out they can't.  Am I missing something here?  Thanks for any suggestions!

abigail_smith_2
Learner II

Yes to column headers. Yes to a grid, instead of the current headache-inducing alphabet soup that is variable column widths.  It would be great to have percentage-based rubrics as well.

Canvas is generally wonderful, but the Rubrics tool needs a lot of work.

timothy_maw
Adventurer

I would love this design as an option. Sometimes this design would really simply building a rubric and how easy it is to read. I do think we need the ability to have flexibility as we sometimes have criterion that are worth different points than others.

chofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

I believe the reason that Canvas is alphabetizing your first row (with the zeros) is because it's expecting different point values in that row (from highest to lowest).  Since you have all zeros, it's putting information in that row in an order that might not be preferred.

Also, the "Rating Description" field that you are using in your rubric (the non-bold text) doesn't currently show up for students in mobile devices (specifically the Canvas apps).  The bold text will show up, however.  So, if you use the "Rating Description", it's important to know that students on mobile wouldn't see the full text, and they'd need to view it on a PC or via a mobile web browser.

rachel_bachman
Surveyor

I would definitely use the suggested rubric type over the current version. 

My biggest issue with rubric creation is that if you create it on the assignment (instead of in "manage rubrics") when you delete it deletes it entirely from the course. Whereas if you create it in "manage rubrics" & then attach to an assignment and then delete it does not delete it from the course. Ideally, it would not delete entirely from the course when you create it on the assignment. 

https://community.canvaslms.com/thread/31358-remove-rubric-from-assignment-issue 

cheryl_colan
Surveyor II

This change would mess up a lot of work done using the Outcomes feature at my community college campus unless it is an option as opposed to a design change in the way Rubrics work. We would either need to be able to attach multiple Rubrics to an Assignment, Discussion or Quiz, or we would need to be able to turn the "conventional rubric design" off to maintain the flexibility that exists now. There are a lot of issues with Rubrics in Canvas and I would love for them to be solved, the ability to have Column Headers especially. I always wonder if Canvas Rubrics are actually accessible because non-standard tables generally are not accessible, but I have not had the bandwidth to check. Anyway, please don't break what we have now to implement this suggestion.

ronmarx
Community Member

Yes, good point,  @cheryl_colan ‌. I think your observations are what  @Renee_Carney ‌ anticipated when she responded to my initial posting. This idea is intended as an OPTION, not as a replacement for what currently exists.

This option, however, would give an entire population of Canvas users a rubric model that is universally used in K-12. Teachers use rating descriptors to communicate with parents and students alike through the device of the rubric, just as the criteria descriptions are self-explanatory. That one improvement itself would remove the redundant text from the rubric, making it far more readable. The uniform grid is a no-brainer over what Canvas now provides.

pelhamr
Community Member

I agree this should be fixed.  Below is a rubric I made in Canvas.  It is annoying that all the boxes are not even width in the ratings columns.

314136_Rubric Screenshot.png

Steven_S
Navigator II

Yes, uneven columns can look messy, especially in examples where there are the same number of columns in each row.  I have frequently made rubrics with many more columns in some rows than in others, and in that case it saves space.  Tidying the table structure is already automatic in speedgrader, and that solution could be applied to other opportunities to view rubrics without reducing flexibility in setting up rubrics.

 

In the example above, I would be more than a little hesitant to grade "requirements" with a weight equal to "attractiveness." It should be a common need even in grade school for some aspects of assignments to have a larger impact on the grade than others. In the current rubrics (grading out of 100points to approximate percentages) I could assign 65 points to a perfect score on requirements, 25 points to an oral presentation, and 10 points to attractiveness, and distribute those points into as many categories as needed for that specific category.  If this change were made to rubrics, how many inexplicably blank columns would be in the 10 point attractiveness row, so that 10 points (perfect) lined up with a 10 point (very poor) column from the requirements row?  What would I title such a column? 

A potential compromise to help both styles of teaching is to allow column headers to specify the percent earned at each achievement level out of the point value specified in each row.  Grade schools could set every row at the same point value if that suited them, while others could distribute points appropriately for their content. 

 

Even so, it would be a reduction in flexibility to force the same percentage at the same achievement level of every row, and imitating the current flexibility would require blank columns when some rows need more categories than others.  There is already very little room to fit in a detailed description, and blank columns are a waste of valuable space. 

pelhamr
Community Member

The above rubric is for a college course assignment, not grade school. As far as if rubrics should or should not have different point values for each item being assesses, that is based on instructor preference. I believe instructors should have the option to do it either way. Note: the original poster also used common point values for each item. As for your suggestions stated in your third paragraph, I agree. 

Steven_S
Navigator II

I didn't mean to suggest that your rubric was necessarily for grade school - only that the emphasis in this conversation seems to be accommodating what the original poster identifies as a grade school standard design which moves all point values to a header bar.  I was trying to shortcut an example of why points in the header bar will not work for everyone by using one of the existing rubrics already displayed. Yours was just handy Smiley Happy ... sorry.

 

Your rubric is also a perfect example of a case where all that is really needed is to tidy the table structure.

pelhamr
Community Member

Thank you Smiley Happy 

ronmarx
Community Member

Rokaisha and steven‌, Having used the http://rubistar.4teachers.org rubric maker since around 2005 for my history students in grades 9-12, I was surprised (and a bit dismayed) that the default rubric table in Canvas was something else. It's common on Canvas Community to see a lot of over-intellectualization of ideas resulting in little or no change in the Canvas LMS product because, I surmise, there appears to be a lack of consensus. Implementing basic, teacher-based experiential features and functions is risky if there's no consensus.

Steve Jobs said, “It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.” The Canvas product development teams have shown us their version of many basic features of an LMS. Unlike users of the viable Apple products released since 1984, many of us—educational professionals—know what we want and need for efficient administration of our learning environments of which Canvas is a part. I still have hope that the Canvas development leads and their teams will rethink various Canvas features and make the changes their users have clamored for years to implement.

Steven_S
Navigator II

Hi Ron,

You are correct that as educational professionals we all know what is required by the learning environments we use.  However, since we are now all using the same environment instead of designing individual classroom experiences, details that some need are different than what others need.  For example, the case I offered was constructed off Rokaisha's rubric only as a convenient comparison, not an intellectual exercise.  It is the reality of how I, as a professor, grade my students on every assignment.  Moving the points into the header will actually remove a function that I use regularly, and so I appreciate the canvas team's approach to hearing all of our input before making changes. 

 

I have seen some changes since we've started using canvas, and so I know that they read these ideas and address the most pressing and practical, although not always in the exact way that we have requested.  For example, I have noticed that in the new-gradebook speed grader view of the rubric the column widths seem to be more organized.  Also the headers for each item accept rather long character limits, and so it is an option to skip the "learner" and "scholar" headings and simply describe the criteria in that space without any long description.  That would seem to go most of the way to what you need without removing the functions I (and others I'm sure) use. 

Steven

ronmarx
Community Member

Hi Steven,

I'm not sure I understand how placing RATING headers, as shown in my example, removes the function of grading your students for every assignment. Assuming that your assignments having multiple criteria, and that each criterion has several levels of demonstrated proficiency, you can still override the rubric value for a given matrix cell.

My original example shows a brief description under each Rating label, but that is optional. If a student (or parent) wants to drill down into a particular criterion, then a 'cursor hover' could produce a pop-up. Again, optional but not necessary. (In the K-12 world, as I'm sure in the 13-20 world, it depends on how much work the teacher/instructor wishes to create for him/herself!)

Maybe I misunderstood your reply comments to  @pelhamr ‌, but how she constructed her rubric, (i.e., "I would be more than a little hesitant to grade "requirements" with a weight equal to "attractiveness."") is not the point she raised about uneven columns and duplicated ratings information strewn throughout the rubric matrix. Again, maybe I misunderstood, but specifying "...the percent earned at each achievement level out of the point value specified in each row..." is how Canvas rubrics work now, isn't it? Don't we work backwards from percentage proficiency scores to calculate what point totals are assigned to each level for each criterion?

Again, since it's possible to override any score for any criterion, no functionality is removed for any teacher by removing the duplicated scoring information of the current Canvas rubric design. Making the rubric grid nice and even is just a no-brainer.