Listening Exercise: American Authors’, “Best Day of My Life”

Check your answers!

Weekly Performance Rubric for Adult ESL Students

It is not uncommon for me to use rubrics to evaluate student projects.  But, as we’ve become increasingly concerned about our environment and our budgets, I’ve made every effort to run my class paperlessly by using technology.  Putting more online has also helped me and the students stay better organized and on task.  So, it was time to update my rubrics from paper to digital.

I was looking for an online rubric template which would eliminate paper, total scores, allow for easy modifications, and provide me with a duplicate of the individual rubric given to each student.  What I found was right in front of me on Blackboard, the course management system used by my college.  In addition to all of the above, Blackboard automatically sends a copy of the rubric score into the grade book, and even has space for individual feedback.

My plan is to use the rubric to evaluate the students’ weekly performance.  I have incorporated in it, together with the college and departmental core abilities and the course competencies, the skills that my last semester students valued and asked collaboratively to have emphasized in their performance reviews.

The rubric will change as our needs change, and I expect to have to do some tweaking sooner than later.  But, I am confident that weekly use of it will help my students better understand what the college and I expect of them for them to be considered successful in class and move on to the next level of education.

  Levels of Achievement
 Criteria   Novice   Competent   Proficient
Demonstrates level six (course)competencies as indicated on the syllabus 10 Points
Exhibits minimal understanding of new structures; frequent use of native language
20 Points
Demonstrates ability to use new structures correctly some of the time; infrequent use of native language
30 Points
Demonstrates ability to use new structures and vocabulary most of the time; always uses English in class
Participates in class: acts responsibly, values self and is respectful of others’ rights, needs, and opinions 10 Points
Participates when called on, but is usually unprepared,   frequently absent or late to class
15 Points
Participates when called on successfully some of the time
20 Points
Participates actively and successfully most of the time
Works productively and efficiently: completes daily work using  resources successfully, makes up work due to absences in a timely manner 10 Points
Takes tests but rarely completes other assignments; has trouble meeting due dates
15 Points
Takes all tests and completes most of the assigned work within given time frame
20 Points
Takes all tests and completes assignments by due dates
Works cooperatively: completes tasks, solves problems, resolves conflicts, provides information, and offers support 5 Points
Contributes minimally, accepts others’ solutions,
not dependable
7 Points
Completes most tasks, strives to participate and contribute, dependable
10 Points
Completes tasks, facilitates discussion, synthesizes information, valuable
Uses Technology: Uses technology taught including Blackboard to access course  materials, complete assignments, and take tests. 5 Points
Needs assistance with all technology including Bb
7 Points
Uses Bb but needs continual assistance with other technologies
10 Points
Uses Bb and new technologies independently
Demonstrates creative thinking: constructs knowledge, and develops innovative products and processes with or without technology. 5 Points
Does not yet show fluency, original thought or unprompted elaboration.
7 Points
Shows some evidence of fluency, originality, and spontaneous thought
10 Points
Shows consistent evidence of fluency, originality, and spontaneous thought

Resources used for this rubric in conjunction with the Milwaukee Area Technical College core abilities are:
1)  Blackboard Rubrics
2)  Collaborative Work Skills Rubric
3)  Core Abilities
4)  Penn State Rubric Cubed: Rubric Builder, Interactive Grading Rubric, Rich Feedback Generator  (No longer an active site)
5)  Rubric Use and Development
6)  ToGa Learning

What My Adult ESL Students Ask to Be Evaluated on and The Challenges in It For Me

About half way into the past semester, I asked my students what they wanted to be evaluated on.  Certainly, I had my objectives for their learning, the department and the college had their own lists of core abilities for all courses, and the state and federal governments had their standards for student success. But, I wanted my students to discern what they collectively thought should be emphasized in my class. They made a list of five major areas of focus for the semester.

1. Daily classroom participation: This is a catch-22 situation for the students because, while they don’t want their lack of attendance to jeopardize their grades, they want their participation to count toward their success. They clearly know that getting regular feedback on their communication is vital to developing their English skills as is, then, their daily attendance.  My challenge is to get them to come to class daily by providing them with a variety of stimulating learning activities, opportunities for daily achievement and success, and ownership of their education. It is also my challenge to make my course content accessible to the students regardless of their attendance and to offer them the opportunity to participate in ways other than face-to-face when necessary.

2. Interpersonal skills: This the students define as their ability to work in class individually, in pairs, or in small groups, respecting the rights and needs of their classmates and the instructor. My challenge is to clearly guide the process for each of the situations while providing the students with the opportunity to develop awareness of cultural, educational, and learning norms and differences in our student population.

3. Problem-solving skills: The students highlight this as a critical factor for success in the classroom and out. They define this skill as how students resolve their study issues, including completing their daily work, making up work/tests due to absences, getting information (including handouts) they may have missed, using study buddies, email or instructor office hours to get the extra attention they need to reach their targeted goals. My challenge is to help the students set their goals, clarify my standards and expectations, and work with the class on developing good study strategies and troubleshooting options.

4. Use of technology: I use Blackboard as a course management tool as does most of my college. I require that my students use it to access the course syllabus, weekly and daily coursework, handouts, and extra resources. Additionally, students take their tests on Respondus Lockdown Browser, a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard. I communicate regularly with the students via Gmail. I also use other applications such as Audioboo, Facebook, Glogster, Twitter, VoiceThread, and YouTube. The students know the importance of technology in the workplace and they are discovering its value in their learning. My challenge is to have online tutorials for the technology I teach thereby enabling students to review at home what I’ve taught in class, and/or to get the instructions if they are absent. (I am aware of the fact that some of the savvier students are tired of assisting the others with the same technology issues day after day.) I also need to help the students become more technologically independent by setting stricter deadlines for achieving and demonstrating their competency on the different programs we use.

5. Last, but certainly not least, the students want to be evaluated on the English competencies outlined in their syllabus and course outcome summary. My challenge is to to offer a variety of projects allowing for different learning styles in which the students can creatively practice and demonstrate a higher level of English skills.

Interestingly, these students’ focus points align very nicely with our college’s core abilities (

  • Communicate effectively.
  • Collaborate with others.
  • Respect diversity.
  • Demonstrate responsibility.
  • Think critically.
  • Use technology.
  • Apply math and science.

What do your students want to be evaluated on? It is a great discussion to have with them.

Part Two: A Rubric for Evaluating Student Performance and Objectives

Part Three: Students’ Standards for Instructor Evaluations