Dr. Nancy Sulla, author of Students Taking Charge and founder of IDE Corp., responded to a question presented by Larry Ferlazzo, award-winning Education Week blogger, in his recent blog post Assessments for Today’s Students.  The question asks, “Schools are expecting students to do more problem solving, in response to Common Core assessments. Businesses complain graduates are not creative. In response, schools have students engage in innovative design projects. Most parents, though, grew up on letter grades and lessons out of textbooks. They don’t see the value in rubrics and performance assessments. How do we assess these projects so students and parents appreciate and understand what and how well students have done?”

The power of the rubric lies in its ability to describe advanced levels of understanding of content, making it defensible to parents and students.Dr. Sulla responds, “Problem-based learning provides the perfect venue for assessing the high levels of understanding and application characteristic of novelity. To prepare students more fully for the 21st century careers that lie ahead, teachers must focus on teaching students to solve open-ended problems for which there are no one right answer.” She continues, “Parents and students need to consider that students today will work in a world in which they will be rewarded for solving problems: from big problems with global implications to small, customer-service problems. Both require different ways of thinking and working, and those require different forms of assessment.” Dr. Sulla offers a more powerful approach to using rubrics for assessment — the analytic rubric.

Learn more about analytic rubrics in Using Rubrics to Drive Instruction on the IDEportal, the Essential On-line Resource for the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom™.

Founded by Dr. Nancy Sulla, IDE Corp. is among the very few professional development providers that offer a comprehensive instructional model that is the synthesis of the best research available on student achievement. IDE consultants work with school districts around the country to help them shift paradigms and design new approaches to instruction.  IDE Corp. has been providing instructional and organizational consulting to schools since 1987.