Rubrics are a form of authentic assessment used to track a child’s progress in acquiring and mastering specific skills. They provide more information than a simple checklist and are based on specific criteria for each skill. Although rubrics are typically used to measure progress in academics, in preschool assessments they can also be used for tracking communication, fine and gross motor, and social-emotional skills. Here is how you can use rubrics to assess different areas of development.
1. COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Rubrics are great for tracking progress for specific skill sets. In preschool you can use a rubric to document how your preschoolers’ communication skills are developing. This is particularly useful when you have concerns about a child’s speech and language development. For example, you can create a rubric for how your preschoolers do during show and tell time. Assess whether they were able to stay on topic, spoke clearly, looked at the audience, and were able to keep their body still. Rubrics can also be used to assess more generalized communication skills, such as following multi-step directions.
2. FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Fine motor skills involve the coordination of small muscles in the hands and fingers. Building fine motor strength improves hand-eye coordination, focus and attention, and bilateral coordination. There are many fine motor skills that preschoolers need before they are ready for more complicated skills such as using scissors successfully, and writing. To make a rubric for pre-cutting skills start with crumpling paper, ripping paper, rolling and manipulating playdough, and continue through more advanced fine motor skills.
3. GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
Gross motor skills are important for strength and confidence for every child. These skills are important to a healthy lifestyle, too. As with all areas of development, preschoolers cannot learn a new skill before mastering the preceding skills. For gross motor development rubrics it is important to start at the basics and move toward more challenging skills as your preschoolers progress. For a preschool gross motor skills rubric you would start with the most basic of skills that all of your preschoolers should be able to do, running and jumping. From there they will be able to move to walking on their tiptoes, balancing on one foot, climbing well, and attempting to skip.
4. SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SKILLS
Social and emotional skills are the heart of preschool learning. Children need to be able to play cooperatively and regulate their emotions in order to be able to successfully participate in group activities and form lasting, meaningful relationships throughout their lives.
It is important to assess your preschoolers social and emotional development so that you can plan intentionally for your preschoolers. When making a rubric for your preschoolers’ social and emotional development, include skills like taking turns, displaying some problem solving skills, showing interest in being part of a group, and starting to develop friendships.
Assessments in preschool classrooms are essential to planning developmentally appropriate curriculum. Using rubrics in your preschool assessments allows you to focus on specific skills that your preschoolers need to master. Keep your rubrics simple to ensure that they are easy to use and understand. Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest have some great examples of rubrics for preschool teachers to use when assessing their students.