It’s Elementary: Revised Elementary NTN Rubrics

October 16, 2017

Alix Horton, NTN Literacy Coach

I’m really happy to announce that NTN has elementary rubrics at the 2nd and 5th grade level for each of our learning outcomes: Agency, Collaboration, Oral Communication, and Written Communication. We’re hoping that these rubrics will articulate student learning trajectories that will help you assess student skills and determine appropriate scaffolding to help your learners grow.

Learning Trajectories

As I’ve mentioned before, a good rubric attempts to articulate learning trajectories for skills. In other words, rubrics attempt to describe how a skill is learned, from the very beginning of just starting to learn a skill, all the way to full internalization of the skill. Our rubrics are an attempt at articulating a full learning trajectory of particular skills from primary school to 12th grade. Sometimes, that worked well, and you’ll see that our elementary rubrics simply step skills down from the grade levels above. (It’s probably easiest to see this by looking specifically at the “Proficient” column).

Sometimes, we didn’t think there was a significant difference in learning trajectories at various ages, and the the learning trajectories are the same, with the depth of content or challenge changing.

And sometimes, we’ve stepped the rubrics down by taking out particular skills that we thought students should begin to learn at higher grade levels. For example, the following strand isn’t present in the elementary Agency rubrics, but starts at 8th grade.

But How Do I Use These Rubrics?

Learning trajectories in rubrics are meant to help teachers assess where their students are, where they’ll likely go next, and then use that knowledge to create scaffolding. Since the rubrics are detailed and there are quite a few of them, we recommend that teachers choose a few indicators to assess work on in a particular project. For example, a kindergarten teacher might choose to have students work on the following skills, selected from the 2nd grade rubrics based on observations and assessments of what student need. Note that as a kindergarten teacher working with a 2nd grade rubric, you might determine that your students can reach “proficient” in a particular category, or you might decide that the “emerging” or “developing” score levels are more reasonable next steps for students, given where they’re starting. This teacher would then craft student facing learning targets to help students define the goal but also to give the teacher a clearer idea of what to target in student scaffolding.

We Want Feedback!

Our rubrics are a first attempt at a full articulation of learning outcome trajectories from elementary to high school, and we know they’re not perfect. As you use the rubrics, we’d love your insights: do the learning trajectories feel appropriate? Do they match the developmental levels of your students? Are we missing anything? You can give feedback here.

Can’t wait to hear what you have to say about our rubrics and how you end up using them in your classrooms!

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