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August 1, 2018

Organize Your Rubric

The right behavior rubric can transform the environment of your whole school. Make sure you’re using the best method to develop it!
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A school-wide behavior rubric is more than a list of rules. It has potential to support your school values and create a more positive environment. So it’s important to invest time in the process of developing a rubric tailored to your school.

To get started, gather stakeholder feedback to help create a list of positive behavior expectations as your foundation. Then choose a structured approach to developing a rubric that is logical and aligns with your school’s goals.

Here are three popular methods for organizing a rubric, so you can turn your list of behaviors into a road map to a more positive school culture.

Values Based

In a values-based rubric, your behavior expectations are organized by school values like "Respectful" and "Responsible"

This approach uses your general values as the basis of your rubric. This works well when teachers and administrators are passionate about instilling a lasting code of conduct that students will carry with them throughout their lives.

You’ll want to identify general values first. These could include respect, dedication, excellence, safety, or accountability. Each value should be distilled into a simple word or phrase (extra credit if you can work your core terms into a catchy acronym).

Location Based

In a location-based rubric, your expectations are organized by the school locations your team wants to target

Does your school have certain locations that seem to attract chaos? Consider organizing your rubric by area: give each location a set of specific behavior expectations. For example, hallway expectations might include “walking in a single file” and “keeping your voice to an appropriate level.”

This structure is accessible and easy to understand, especially for younger grades. But it could also be limiting, since each expectation is tied to a specific location. Teachers may need to offer extra encouragement to keep that line in a single file when students cross from the hallway into the auditorium.

Grade Level

In a grade-level-based rubric, expectations adapt as students get older

If you have a large school with various grade levels, a grade-level rubric might fit your school best. Students exhibit different behaviors as they age, so adjusting your expectations to age groups can make your rubric more relevant for each student.

Elementary level rubrics could include expectations like: respecting personal space, being where you’re supposed to be, limiting distractions, etc. As students transition to middle school, their expectations would revolve more around behaviors like listening, class engagement, appropriate social behavior, etc. Once students reach high school, they should be expected to act as an adult: being on time to class, having a good attitude, staying organized, working independently, etc.

Regardless of which option you choose, a behavior program that works for your school can eventually change the decibels in the hallway, the tone in the classroom, and even students’ attitude toward their education. As long as the rubric is easy for everyone to understand and suited for your school’s needs, it could make the difference between a student who simply tries to avoid punishment, and one who looks for ways to contribute.

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