Posted in Eleanor Cawley, M.S., OTR/L

Modifying an Assessment Rubric

There are a number of ways to develop rubrics.  Many therapists are looking for rubrics that are pre-made and ready to go right out of the book.  Unfortunately, that can only be done when the rubric is an assessment rubric.  The rubric below was found on the rcampus.com website and is a general assessment rubric as part of a Kindergarten intake assessment.  It is meant to assess the scissors skills of all incoming kindergarteners and not collect data on a therapeutic goal for the scissors skill.  So again, this is very basic.  It is what the therapist would be looking for if the student is able to use scissors correctly.

Scissors Skills

1

Understands the purpose and function of scissors use.

2

Hold scissors using correct finger placement, and thumb facing up

3

Able to fully open and close blades of scissors on command.

4

Able to cut through a 1 inch strip of paper, and make snips in paper to create fringe.

5

Able to cut along a straight line with jagged (snips) and smooth continuous strokes.

6

Uses scissors safely to cut smoothly on a 1/16″ curved line with multiple changes in direction.

Table 1:  https://www.rcampus.com/rubricshowc.cfm?code=L96C5&sp=true  The numbers 1-6 refer to the rating or score that the child receives.  How that score is determined is defined by the descriptor [description] underneath that number.  In this case the criterion [what is being assessed] is “Scissors Skills.”

What happens if the student is not able to use scissors correctly, has never had experience using scissors and does not even know what they are?  Look at the very first descriptor, “Understands the purpose and function of scissors use.”  What does that mean?  How will you assess whether or not the child understands the purpose and function of scissors?  You would need to get more descriptive than that.  If you tell the student what the item is, can they later identify the item?  If you show the student how scissors work, can the student return the demonstration?  If that happens [after a few trials], you may be able to assume that the child has had no experience with scissors and explore this a bit further.  If the student is not able to imitate you or identify the scissors even with assistance, you will have to start there.  A goal[s]and objectives will need to be written.   Remember that there has to be a need for the goal to be written.  Your report of the student’s abilities must clearly define the student’s current level of function.  For example, “When asked to hand the scissors to the therapist, the student handed the ruler to the therapist upon 3/3 attempts.”

The overall goal can be, “The student will identify and understand the purpose and function in the use of scissors.”

Examples of Possible Short-Term Objectives [in no specific order]:

  1. When presented with an array of 3 items which includes a pair of scissors, the student will grasp the scissors correctly [with thumb and first two digits] upon the directive, “Find the scissors” in 4/5 trials on 5 consecutive occasions over 10 weeks.
  2. When presented with a picture prompt and verbally directed to “Give me the scissors,” the student will locate the scissors on the tabletop and hand them to the therapist in 4/5 trials on 5 consecutive occasions over 10 weeks.
  3. The student will gather the appropriate supplies [scissors, crayon and paper] when told, “We will be cutting out squares today,” 4/5 trials on 5 consecutive occasions over 10 weeks.

You can do a simple data collection sheet on the STOs but what happens if you are out and there is a covering therapist or an aide runs your goals?  Will either of them have the same results?  That is where the rubric is clearly the best for data collection.  At this point, I will refer you to my book for a more detailed explanation of how and why this is important.  http://www.amazon.com/Rubrics-Monitor-Outcomes-Occupational-Therapy/dp/0615809022

But the rubric may look like this:

Goal:  The student will identify and understand the purpose and function in the use of scissors.
STO:  When presented with an array of 3 items which includes a pair of scissors, the student will grasp the scissors correctly [with thumb and first two digits] upon the directive, “Find the scissors” in 4/5 trials on 5 consecutive occasions over 10 weeks.

Criteria

Score 1

Score 2

Score 3

Score 4

Following the directive Student shows minimal response to the directive Student demonstrates orientation to sound in the direction of the speaker Student orients to the speaker making eye contact with the speaker or items on the table top Student visually fixes gaze on target
Locating the scissors Student responded with eye contact or visually attended to items on the table Student responded with visual scan of items on the tabletop touching the scissors Student will point to the general area of the scissors Student will point to the scissors
Grasping the scissors Student points to the scissors Student picks up the scissors [in any orientation] Student picks up the scissors with two fingers Student picks up the scissors with thumb and first 2 digits.

Now when you go to write a progress report on goal progress, you can explain exactly where the student is in terms of making progress.

 

Author:

I am an occupational therapist with 18 years of experience in the pediatric sector, much of that time as an independent contractor. I am very passionate about my work and my writing. My degrees include a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Sciences and a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from Touro College. Since graduating as a non-traditional student, I have worked in a variety of settings throughout the life span but settled in the area of school-based therapy. My interests lie in the area of using technology to support independence and I often train students to use programming not only to monitor their own goal progress but also support educational, vocational and life skills. Another area of particular interest is documentation. As an independent contractor for many years, I feel that it is important to align methods of documenting goal progress with educators for greater consistency and understanding when writing for an IEP. It is better to plan a format for documentation used in the IEP, such as for assessment and goal progress and that a rubric, in many ways, fulfills the need for consistency in documentation across all domains. Combining my interest in technology and documentation, I use Microsoft OneNote to maintain all documentation. I create a digital notebook for each student or patient with any forms required uploaded as templates which can then be completed, and saved automatically. I strongly believe in student centered approach to therapy. Students must be active participants in developing goals and documenting progress. In order to help students understand their progress, I teach my students to develop electronic portfolios and to use spreadsheet programming with graphs to collect data and view progress, whenever possible.