The quick and easy way of using rubrics in a CLIL lesson

June 15, 2021


Rubrics. One teacher loves them, another one hates them. In this post I to show how to use rubrics in a way I think every teacher can apply them with ease (and little prep time!) in a CLIL lesson.

Estimated time to read this article: 4 minutes

Why rubrics work

According to John Hattie, learning intentions without success criteria are hopeless. He explains this in the interview below, in case you are interested.

And it so happens that rubrics are a great way to show success criteria!

(Not going into detail on learning intentions right now, that will be covered in a future blog post)

Using rubrics, you can show students exactly what is expected of them to succeed at a specific task.

And students can use those criteria to do their work and score higher grades.

Which is quite different from a summative test, where students only learn afterwards what they have done.

With a rubric, students know beforehand how to score best.

And you can determine the grade based on these objective criteria.

Or, that is the idea…

Why (most) rubrics don’t work

The problem with rubrics is, in my experience, that it still takes a lot of time to correct work.

Even if the rubrics have been distributed prior to students completing a task.

With every single piece of student work, you have to determine which box it belongs to.

Not only does it take forever to determine that.

It also happens quite often a student’s answer does not quite fit any of the boxes of the rubrics.

Making the determination of the correct ‘box’ a matter of judgement, and subjective.

And that is exactly what rubrics are trying to avoid.

Key Take Away

Rubrics can be a great way to show success criteria, but often take a lot of time to implement.

What you can do to make rubrics really effective (and easy to use)

Enter: The Single Point Rubric

Rubrics and CLIL

An example of a single point rubric. Source: 

A Single Point Rubric offers the ‘best of both worlds’ if you will.

  1. 1
    It shows the criteria of success for students to scaffold their learning.
  2. 2
    It allows for flexibility when used to correct or check work

It also is simply less work to setup, as you do not have to fill in lots of boxes with different criteria.

A Single Point Rubric simply says: These are the criteria for a standard performance.

If students can do better, some areas of improvements are mentioned.

If students did a great job, evidence of exceeding standards are mentioned.

And that’s it!

Key Take Away

The single point rubric shows only 1 success criterium per topic, allowing for differentiation in the feedback provided.

The role of rubrics in a CLIL lesson

You might wonder what rubrics have to do with CLIL.

First of all, I think anything that has to do with making sure students produce language output is already almost always CLIL.

But to clarify this even more: by mentioning success criteria and discussing the language used, students are made aware of the language involved.

You could even involve a criterium (that is a word, right?) around language, for example “The language used is on a level expected of students this age”.

That way you can provide feedback on the use of more academic language or point out good word choices.

Ét voila: you have implemented rubrics in your CLIL lesson!

Key Take Away

By integrating language in the criteria and discussing words in the rubric, it can play an important role in a CLIL lesson.

Resources and ideas

I did not come up with this idea myself, you can read more about this type of rubric on the website of Cult of Pedagogy.

And Edutopia shared an interesting post on '6 reasons to try the single-point rubric'

I am curious to know if you already know about this type of rubric or if you already have any experiences with it.

Let me know in the comments and share your experiences with fellow CLIL teachers!

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