School Improvement in Maryland
Biology-Instructional Strategies
If the science rubric for the high school improvement program is to be a “target” that all students in Maryland will be using to answer constructed response questions on the high school assessment, they should have many opportunities to use the rubric during the course of classroom instruction and formative assessment. Many strategies are available and teachers should select those most appropriate for their students.
Understanding the Rubric
PART 1.  Help the students understand the thinking involved in using the rubric. The students should:

1.  analyze the RUBRIC by identifying its component parts and describing the role of each part. Use the DESCRIPTION FOR EACH FEATURE OF THE RUBRIC as a tool in this process.

2.  examine a teacher-constructed response that demonstrates each feature of the rubric.
PART 2.  Help the students understand how the rubric is used to construct and analyze responses. The students should:

1.  read a typical question, an anonymous student response that scored a “4”, and the completed RUBRIC WORKSHEET for the response.

2.  for the same question, read an anonymous student response that scored a “1.” Study the completed Rubric Worksheet for the response. Provide analyses for score points “3” and “2” and ask students to discuss the differences.

3.  convert the “1” response into a level “4.”

4.  read a second question and anonymous student responses. Complete a Rubric Worksheet for the responses. Rewrite the responses converting them to the “4” level.

For this process, teachers may use the EXAMPLE FOR ANALYZING RESPONSES based on a biology prototype item. New examples will be released shortly.
Visual Displays
1.  The SCIENCE RUBRIC GRAPHIC ORGANIZER can be helpful to students. Make large copies of the organizer and post them in the classroom.  Printable Version (Acrobat 2.9K)

2.  Provide a point of focus display in the classroom to illustrate the “target”, a level four response. If teachers generate sample responses to demonstrate the different score point levels, a continuum of responses will be developed and can be used on a bulletin board.

After students use the Rubric Worksheet to analyze sample responses, they should use it to construct their own responses to questions.
Using the rubric to construct responses: Have students:
1.  read the question.

2.  review the “Description for Each Feature of the Rubric.”

3.  outline the response on the “Rubric Worksheet.”

4.  use the Rubric Worksheet to construct the response in a paragraph form.
Providing Feedback
1.  Provide opportunities for students to review peer responses. Use the Rubric Worksheet to allow students to revise each others work.

2.  Complete a RUBRIC FEEDBACK FORM to use when scoring student responses. Initially, focus on one element of the rubric, such as supporting evidence and gradually move to incorporate all features.

Students must also have the opportunity to respond to questions that have been written using the rubric. The following information will help teachers construct questions using the rubric.
Generating Question Based on the Rubric:
1.  select an indicator from the first Core Learning Goal, Skills and Processes.

2.  identify the indicator and “At Least/Assessment Limit” from the Concept goal.

3.  outline the expected response on the Rubric Worksheet.

4.  develop the question that will elicit the expected response.

For this process, teachers may use the EXAMPLE FOR GENERATING QUESTIONS.