Introduction: How to Improve Your Grades While Shortening the Time You Spend on Assignments!

This instructable will help you focus your efforts and time to the areas of importance. This will also help you satisfy the requirements of the assignment which will in turn improve your grade. By the end of this lesson you will have learned how to write an assignment within a marking rubric.

Using this method to complete your assignments will allow you break the project down to smaller parts and enable you to ensure that you have met the criteria for each mark on the rubric. Once you have completed this lesson you will be able to grade your own assignment prior to submitting.

Step 1: The "RUBRIC"

This thing we call a rubric has become the norm in most learning environments and has been helpful as well as clarifying for most learners. The definition however has been lost to some and never given to some (particularly those just re-entering the learning environment).

The working definition for this lesson will be “A detailed grading breakdown showing how a submission will be scored and were the marks are allotted”.

Step 2: Why the Rubric So Important

With a rubric explaining the grading scheme to us we now can see how the instructor feels about the various sections of the assignment. It would be typical to see a few marks dedicated to citing your work but the rubric would make it clear that this is not (or is) where the instructor wants you to focus.

Since you would now have a detailed breakdown of where the marks come from the possibility of breaking down the project to manageable sections is real. Treating each mark allotment as a smaller paragraph assignment.

Step 3: Copy the Rubric

Open a new document on your word processor and copy the Rubric onto it using the steps below.

Every word processing software I have ever worked with has had a copy and paste capabilities in it. The process is nearly identical for each of them.

1. Highlight the material.

Place the cursor at the top or bottom of the material to be copied left click and mouse over the material until it is all shown as highlighted.

2. Copy the material

Right click over the highlighted material and select the “copy” option from the drop down menu that appears.

3. Select the placement of the material

Place your cursor on the document you would like to copy the material to (cursor should be placed where you want the top of the material to land not the bottom).

4. Paste the material

Right click the mouse and select the paste option from the drop down menu that appears.

Step 4: Working Within the Rubric

For each mark allotted on the rubric enter the information required to achieve these marks. You may find that it is helpful to keep your work distinctly different from the copied text by using a different font colour or highlighting the copied text(using bolt text or the underline option also work). Beginning with this the process becomes self-explanatory. The project now is broken down and manageable. Just follow through and ensure the requirements are met for each mark.

One of the strategies I use to ensure I'm getting as many marks as possible is to get the simple stuff out of the way first. For example if there are marks for name and date let’s start there, getting a quick two marks can lift the pressure and focus the mind. Often you will find that some areas are more difficult than others so leaving the parts that you have trouble with to concentrate on the easier parts will help maximise the time you spend on an assignment. Having completed parts of an assignment often clarifies and makes the rest of the work simpler.

Once you have completely satisfied the rubric (to best of your ability) you can now grade your assignment. On the more basic rubric’s such as the one at the end of this lesson you will know your complete grade before you even submit the final version. With the subjective portions of a rubric you may wish to come up with a minimum and maximum mark in order to have a understanding of the range your project will score.

Step 5: The End...almost

With the entry of this thing we call a rubric gone are the days of not knowing where to start on an assignment. The expectations of the instructor are clearly laid out. Each mark is possible to achieve and it is important that we understand how to do that. Please use this system as a guide and feel free to adjust it to your own personal style even using parts of this system can have a significant impact on your grades.

Step 6: Warning

There is substitute for hard work! Your assignment will still need to be polished and submitted as a finished document (This will be addressed in a separate lesson)!