The Collaboration Rubric3 min read

The collaboration rubric is a tool to give students clear expectations for their work in groups. It outlines what strong and weak collaboration looks like and gives students an indication of where their skillset is at a given time. A teacher can use the rubric for any group activity. However, it is important that the focus of the rubric is not on the specific task groups are accomplishing, rather on the student’s demonstration of a collaborative skill in completing that task.

For instance, if students were assigned to read an article as a group and then create some type of visual to demonstrate their understanding of the content, the rubric is not evaluating the effectiveness of the visual or whatever the group created. The rubric is assessing each student’s contribution to the project and the group as a whole. Did the student manage their time well? Did they listen and respond to their teammates respectfully? Did the student contribute to the creation of the final product?

The actual visual, the final product, will be assessed separately. The collaboration rubric should use wording that serves to evaluate collaboration skills and proficiency.

This is an example of a collaborative rubric:

This rubric could be used to evaluate a student’s entire collaborative effort on a group assignment, or just a specific trait during their work. For instance, if students were making a slideshow as a group, you could choose to just focus on a student’s communication skills. Only score that part of the rubric, and direct all of your attention during that activity on their ability to talk, listen, and use positive body language. The next day you could concentrate on assessing self advocacy or another category. This makes assessing collaboration more manageable as you are not trying to assess a topic as broad as collaboration all at once.

A collaboration rubric should meet the needs of your students.

Feel free to use the Collaboration Rubric I created however you see fit. However, some of the most effective rubrics are created with your students’ assistance. This gives them a voice and agency, and also ensures your rubric fits your specific students and their skill levels.

You could use this rubric as a guide to lead a discussion with students about what strong and weak collaboration looks like and how it should be assessed. Give a writing activity about what minimal and strong work ethic looks like. Have a group discussion about self advocating and seeking help when you need it. Record their responses on a blank rubric. If students are apart of this process, and their language is on the rubric, they will have a better understanding of how they are assessed and how they can improve.

Collaboration is a skill. And like any skill, it can be improved up and strengthened. The Collaboration Rubric is a tool to help students do this so they can learn to become better, more efficient, and effective collaborators.

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Trevor Muir

I believe every student has the potential for greatness. And I believe every educator can be equipped to unlock that potential.