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Tainui School Senior Syndicate Action Research

Aim: To develop a rubric to teach quality questioning and self assessment
of questioning during a space unit using the inquiry approach. The rubric will
help the children improve the quality of questioning.

1. Children will write a question relating to the Space topic
2. Questioning will be taught using a rubric as the basis
3. Children will evaluate their original question using the rubric. They will
identify how they can improve and develop their question.
4. Children will rewrite their question.
5. Children will self-assess their question using the rubric.
6. Teachers will assess the question using the rubric.


Results were collected from each class at the end of the study.

84% of children showed an improvement in the quality of questioning based
on the criteria rubric formulated.

Most children began at Stage 2 Closed Questions or Stage 3 Narrow
Questions with 102 children using Deep Questions Stage 4 by the end of the
Inquiry Teaching.

Data Sheet attached.

All teachers felt the children had a much stronger understanding of what a
good question was. The children based their Inquiry display on Space on their
Deep Questions and were able to include high quality subsidiary questions for
further inquiry.

The rubric created was used as basis for all teaching on questioning and
children referred to it when self assessing their own inquiry questions.

The rubric was developed as a result of our research and reading rubrics and
their use in classrooms. The rubric we formulated was strongly linked to
Trevor Bond’s seven stages of questions. We reduced the number of stages
to suit our children’s needs.

Each class had a poster showing the criteria for each stage on the
questioning rubric. The use of learning criteria was not new to our children
and they quickly adapted to the rubric and were able to self assess against
the descriptions of the criteria. The rubric was a useful teaching tool and
will be used again where appropriate to improve the quality of questioning
during an inquiry.

• Summary of readings
• Poster
• Children’s question formation and self assessment sheet
• Data results
Summaries of Readings:

Changing Schools in Long Beach (Volume 1, Number 2, Spring 1997.
What Students Say About Rubrics:

Positive comments
• Rubrics are used to grade own and others work.
• Helps guide students to do their best
• Rubrics need to be “age related” and “user friendly”
• Most students thought using rubrics improved their work. (This
was not always evident in their writing)
• A fair way of grading – there is transparency
• Lets students know what they have to do to get an “A”

Negative comments
• Some rubrics too jargony
• Not always easy to understand
• Too many rules
• Language problems not always clear


Changing Schools in Long Beach (Volume 1, Number 2, Spring 1997.
Just What is a Rubric?

A rubric is a “scoring tool that lists criteria for a piece of work.”
A rubric includes criteria and levels of quality
Rubrics make grading easy and offer next learning steps leading to more
effective teaching.
Parents like rubrics (if they understand them)


Using Authentic Assessment to Promote Thinking and Learning
Speaker: Lane Clark

List of criteria for criteria provided.
Rubrics – important aspects when developing rubrics
Negotiations – aspects of child teacher negotiation about criteria.


Questioning Rubric

Outlines the importance of effective questioning in Inquiry Learning and
Information Literacy.

A seven stage rubric was created and children in the research were
presented with a scenario which gave a context around which questions could
be posed.

The rubric outlines a seven stage hierarchy of questioning skills.
Stage 1: Poses a statement or provides no response.
Stage 2: Any irrelevant questions
Stage 3: Relevant Yes/No/Maybe questions
Stage 4: Questions that utilise one of the 7 Servants and relevant key
Stage 5: Questions that utilise one of the 7 Servants and relevant key words
and phrases.
Stage 6: Questions that utilise one of the 7 servants and synonyms of key
Stage 7: Probing questions combining 2 or more questions words when
interviewing a person.

The goal was to ask a range of questions from Stages 3 to 7.

The emphasis of this research was on raising question quality rather than
Issues addressed were question relevance, key words and phrases and
question editing

Understanding Rubrics: Heidi Goodrich Andrade. 1997
Originally published in Educational Leadership, 54(4)

What is a Rubric? A scoring tool that lists the criteria for a piece of work.
Includes gradations of quality for each criterion from excellent to poor. It
explains what makes a good piece of work good, and a poor one poor.

Why use rubrics?:
• are powerful tools for teaching and assessment
• can improve and monitor student performance
• makes teachers’ expectations clear and shows students how to meet
those expectations
• help define “quality”
• help students become thoughtful judges of their own and others’ work
• reduces the amount of time teachers spend evaluating student work.
After self and peer assessing has taken place teachers can use the
rubric to show student where they are at.
• Rubrics provide informative feedback about strengths and areas for
• Can be used in mixed ability classes – can be stretched I to reflect
work of gifted students and those with learning disabilities
• Rubrics are easy to use and to explain
• Students can articulate and explain what they have learned
• Parents can see what child needs to do to be successful

How do you create Rubrics?
Possible steps:
1. Look at models
2. List criteria
3. Articulate gradations of quality
4. Practice on models
5. Use self and peer assessment
6. Revise
7. Use teacher assessment

Need to avoid unclear language. Must define what is meant by terms, be
specific. List ways in which students could meet the criteria – list behaviours
that will see.
Avoid unnecessary negative language (eg boring). Be specific.
Can be challenging to show gradations of quality. (possibly use “Yes”,
Yes……but”, “No……but”, “No” scale)

What to do when have created Rubrics:
How to use them – give copies to students and ask them to assess their
progress on task/topic. Use to help them to see where to go next/ how to

Give students tome to revise work after self assessing, then assess each
others’ work (peer assess).Emphasize peer (and self) assessment is to help
everyone do better work.

Parents can use rubric to help with homework.

When teacher is assessing students’ work use same rubric that was uses for
self and peer assessment – students will know what they did well and what
will need to work on in future.
Can use rubric as a basis for grading.
Rubrics can be used in portfolios
Use rubrics to support and evaluate student learning.


Using Rubrics Can Give Students Good Feedback Deborah Reynolds 2009

Rubrics are a grading system that provides students with guidance and
feedback for any assignment.

Rubrics can give students a list of criteria that they will be graded on.
Students can have the list before starting the project/assignment so they
know what is expected of them. With each criterion teachers can list the
qualifications for each level of performance – show behaviours that will be
present for each level.

Rubrics can be used for independent projects – can extend able/gifted
students, and support students who need more instruction.

Getting a Grip on Questioning Trevor Bond

Teacher vs Learner questions

Three levels of questions:
Primary layer: fertile essential inquiry rich reflective questions – these
questions are the ones that drive learning.

Intermediate Layer – these questions are diagnostic, analytical, evaluative

Secondary Layer – these questions are open/closed, fat/skinny, key search
information seeking questions.

Core skills of an effective questioner:
• Can identify the need or problem
• Can identify and use the relevant contextual vocabulary
• Can ask a range of relevant questions
• Can take them to an appropriate source
• Will persist editing questions as necessary until the needed
information is acquired.

What is a good question – criteria
What is a poor question – criteria

Seven Stages of questions – stages described.

The Art of Asking Good Questions Executive Briefing Number 402
David Thornburg, Thornburg Centre

Useful rubric for evaluating questions.

Involving Students in Learning Through Rubrics by Joan M. Yoshina and
Violet H. Harada Published in Library Media Connection 2007

# Using a rubric encourages a child centred approach to learning as children
take part in setting the criteria. This allows a change in focus from what the
children have learnt to how well they have learnt it.

The rubric is used as a guide and this helps children to learn, to monitor
their own progress and make adjustments or improvements. The process of
designing a rubric involves continual reviewing of rubric as individuals or in
small groups during the inquiry process.

This process takes some time but its benefits of maintaining children
involvement is most valuable. Rubrics are a useful assessment tool and allow
children to aim and achieve a higher standard of learning.


Rubrics and Scoring Criteria by Raymond W Lee.

# Using a rubric makes evaluating learning more reliable. There are two
types of rubrics;

1. holistic - a general description for each level of performance. Quick to and
easy to write and use.
2. analytic has more descriptions for each level of performance. Give better
feedback and more valid results.

Use rich descriptive language that will show discrimination between levels
and allow children to be involved in the process of creating a rubric.
Transforming or incorporating a scoring system is helpful to assess children’s
learning and focus is that in the end the teacher has to still make a
judgement when using a rubric. (professional judgement)

three stages of creating a rubric
1. What criteria will be, language used for each level and how many levels.
2. Editing rubric after some use/discussion
3. Whether to use holistic or analytical rubric and a 'final review' of rubric.
It is important to have examples of levels or top level to make it clear to
children what they need to achieve highest level.