How to Create Rating Scales in Education


It is frequently necessary in education to quantify a student's abilities. Assigning a number to what a child can do may be quite difficult for educators. However, it is necessary to create numeric rating scales so that students can be compared with their peers and proper educational tactics can be implemented to help them improve. When creating a rating scale by which you can measure students' abilities, break down the task that you are measuring into smaller parts and create a rubric to assist you in assigning an accurate rating of the student's ability.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Word Processing
  • Select desired elements to measure. To accurately rate students, you need to break the task you are trying to measure into easily observable parts. Consider the steps that it takes to complete the desired task and the elements that should be present when the task is completed. For example, if a student is writing a paper, the elements you select may be the different steps of the writing process. Or, you may want the elements you are measuring to include accurate grammar and correct spelling, as both should be present once the task is properly completed.

  • Compose a rubric. Take your list of elements and use it to create a rubric. List each element that you want to measure in a chart or on a page. You will assign point values to each of these elements and then you will be able to determine the student's rating by totaling the quantities.

  • Create a measurement scale. Determine how many points you want to award for the successful completion of each element. You may wish to create a 1-5 scale with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent. You can use the same measurement scale to evaluate each element on your rubric, or you can make some elements worth more points and therefore more valuable. Once you have determined your scale, place it next to each element on your rubric.

  • Score each individual element. After you have created your rubric, go through the elements and assign an appropriate score for each. Be sure to focus specifically on what the element of the rubric is measuring. If a student's project is poorly done but does not contain any spelling errors, be sure that your rubric grading reflects this.

  • Calculate the rating. Add up all of the points available on the rubric to create your rating of the student. By doing this, you will ensure that your rating is not arbitrary, but instead a true measure of the student's ability.

  • Adjust your rating for penalties if necessary. If you need to deduct points for an assignment being late, a missed section of work, or a behavioral penalty, do it after the rubric total has been tabulated. Remember, if you want to truly measure a student's ability, you should consider the student's rating prior to the penalties being deducted as the first rating is the true indication of what the student in question is capable of.

Tips & Warnings

  • Include some "catch all" areas. Make sure that you have some areas on your rubric that are flexible so that you can catch any small mistakes that your rubric might not otherwise measure. For example, if you have a student who has subject and verb agreement errors, you could deduct points for this error in a broad grammar section of the rubric.
  • Consider each element individually. To assign an accurate rating, it is vital that you look at each element independently. Even if the product being measured is a mess, you will not create an accurate rating of the student's ability if you do not give him or her credit for the small things they may have done right in the completion of the assignment.


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