Using Standards-Based Rubrics to Facilitate Online Peer Assessment, Response, and Reflection

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While traditional rubrics can more clearly convey to the student how they will be assessed,  there are some limitations to this approach. One limitation is that students may passively rely on the rubric for a checklist on how to complete the assignment, without infusing their own creativity or originality.  Even if very detailed, a standalone rubric may not truly guide the student to create an effective product. Zawlocki (2016) adds, “Regardless how specific the rubric is, without feedback from the teacher, the student likely won’t meet the standards” (para. 5).  As an alternative, a “standards-based” rubric is focused on the standards a student must demonstrate, and does not overly prescribe the format of the product. Feedback is again an essential component of the successful realization of the rubric, and can come from both instructor and peer.

Link to scholarly artifact(s)

Instructor: Jackie Dipzinski
Course: Teaching Methods and Strategies (online)

Students are required to formalize best practice teaching strategies (SSSC, 2019; Harmon & Marzano, 2015; Hebert, 2011) in the New York State Education Department Lesson Plan Assessment (NYSED, 1997; NYSED, 2005; NYSED, 2015).  This course emphasizes health education instructional methodologies in school settings which effect health behaviors. Some instructional methodologies may include discussion, lecture, problem solving, demonstration, experiment, role play, cooperative learning, and peer evaluation, among others.

In one of the assessments, students are assigned a specific teaching strategy (Glibert, Sawyer & McNeil, 2015) to create an exemplar lesson plan with all materials and adaptations for students with special needs.  The specific cooperative learning activity students engaged in was the Lesson Development of Instructional Methodologies Assessment that utilized peer teaching through discussion boards, peer assessment based on a standards based rubric through discussion boards and mastery learning.  As part of this assessment, students were assigned one of 20 different teaching strategies for implementation in a health education content area of their choice.

The students were then asked to share these through the discussion board format. The discussion board utilizes both a standards based self justification (HETE, 2018; Vatterott, 2015) rubric for discussions as well as assessing a minimum of three lessons. The students utilized peer teaching by submitting their teaching strategy lesson plan assigned to the discussion board.  This allowed ALL students to review 20 different teaching strategies with developed lesson plans.  The students then peer assessed, grading with the Lesson Plan Standards-Based Rubric,  a minimum of least three students.   When providing feedback, students were instructed to comment with warm and cool feedback (Figures 1 and 2) (Advanced Solutions International, 2018; Vatterott, 2015)  The peer response process (Liu, Guo, Gao, Fram, Ling, Zhang, & Wang, 2018) provided students the opportunity to professionally give positive and constructive assessment feedback based on the lesson plan standards based rubric while learning best practice teaching strategies.

Example 1 of peer review feedback
Example 2 of peer review feedback
Figures 1 and 2. Examples of peer feedback using warm and cool feedback.

Once students were finished with the peer assessment, they completed the discussion board self-justification rubric.  In this rubric, students needed to justify why the score they gave themselves was correct by documenting instances from the discussion board activities.  This is again, based on standards for the profession.  Finally, students reviewed their peer assessments so they could make revisions to their lesson plans.  These lesson plans were then formally assessed in the Blackboard assignment by the professor using the Lesson Plan Rubric.  The students were allowed a final submission of the assignment to demonstrate mastery of the teaching strategy, alignment of objectives, standards with the needs of their student population addressed.

This activity culminated in a compare and contrast of an exemplar lesson model with their own that was peer assessed. The final products showed the growth over time of the students ability to produce effective and/or exemplary lesson plans.  This activity provided peer, professor and reflective feedback so that the students were given the ability to “master” the teaching strategy, lesson planning and professional communication skills that they learned throughout the activities for this assessment.

Instructor Reflection

I have used this method in my Assessment and Evaluation course as well as the Foundations in Health Education and Principals and Philosophy of Health Education.  In each course, this has produced an increase of student understanding, planning, implementation and mastery of material.  One student from the class stated “As an educator I was able to see how being a reflective teacher through assessment, discussion and reflection can positively affect student learning as well as a feeling that the teacher cares more about student learning and retention then simply inputting a grade.”  I was told by another student that I “modeled” all of the effective practice teachers need to emulate in the classroom.


Advanced Solutions International, Inc. (2018, June). Health Education Teacher Education (HETE). Retrieved April 11, 2019, from

Harmon, K., & Marzano, R., (2015) Practicing Skills, Strategies & Processes, Classroom Techniques to Help Students Develop Proficiency. Learning Sciences International, West Palm Beach, FL.

Liu, J., Guo, X., Gao, R., Fram, P., Ling, Y., Zhang, H., & Wang, J. (2018). Students’ learning outcomes and peer rating accuracy in compulsory and voluntary online peer assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education,44(6), 835-847. doi:10.1080/02602938.2018.1542659

Muñoz, M. A., & Guskey, T. R. (2015). Standards-based grading and reporting will improve education. Phi Delta Kappan, 96(7), 64–68.

Student Support Services Center. (n.d.). School Health and Health Education. Retrieved April 11, 2019, from

The University of the State of New York, State Education Department. (2005).   A Guidance Document For Achieving the New York State Standards In Health Education. Albany: NY, New York State.   Available online at

The University of the State of New York, State Education Department. (2015). Health Education. Retrieved April 11, 2019, from

The University of the State of New York, State Education Department. (1996). Learning Standards for Health, Physical Education and Family and Consumer Sciences. Albany: NY, New York State Education Department. Available online at

Vatterott, C. (2015). Rethinking grading: Meaningful assessment for standards-based learning. Alexandria VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Zawlocki, A. (2016). What have rubrics got to do with it? Association for Middle-Level Education. Available online at


Dipzinski, J. (2019). Using standards-based rubrics to facilitate online peer assessment, response, and reflection. In A. deNoyelles, A. Albrecht, S. Bauer, & S. Wyatt (Eds.), Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Center for Distributed Learning.

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