Applying Marzano's Scoring Scale Rubric

As a second-year teacher, I struggled with the differences between teaching IB History of the Americas and AP World History. The most challenging part was switching between one essay rubric and the other. It wasn't until the spring semester when I started reading Marzano's Classroom Instruction That Works that I found the scoring scale, which I used to translate any amount of marks into achievement levels.

Scoring Scale
The scoring scale below can be used for almost any assessment. I use it consistently throughout the year and teach it to students so they know how to describe their achievement level when they see their score. It's important to design and use feedback tools that are simple and consistent so it becomes routine.

This is a student-friendly adaptation of Marzano's scoring scale. 

Another thing that helps students is converting their scores into a 100-point scale (below). I got the idea to convert marks into a 100-point scale from an IB history training. The variable that changes is the raw marks. I assign a number of marks that's reasonable for an assessment before determining the correlation between marks and achievement level, which is based on my adaptation of Marzano's scoring scale. In other words, (1) total marks, (2) convert to scoring scale, (3) convert to 100-point scale.

The important thing to remember is that no matter how many marks are possible for an assessment, the marks are always converted to the same scale before converting to the 100-point scale. This provides accuracy through consistency because the scoring scale becomes the constant.

Ideally, we would just stop at the scoring scale, but most students and parents are more familiar with the 100-pt scale. What difference does it make if the determiner is still the same, right?

Let's look at this from another perspective. What's the difference between an 86 and an 88? Can you really identify a difference in achievement? For some kids this difference is more about a week of getting enough sleep, or not. 

Using the scoring scale provides students with meaningful information. It develops a classroom culture of certainty when it comes to interpreting scores as feedback. 

High-Yield Strategies
The table below shows the gains for high yield strategies, according to Marzano Research. It used to be that similarities and differences was on top. Although it's a strategy that my students experience weekly, tracking and scoring scales have surpassed it, according to more current data than what was used for the first edition of Classroom Instruction That Works.

Source: Marzano & Haystead (2009). Meta-Analytic Synthesis of Studies Conducted at Marzano Research Laboratory on Instructional Strategies

Scaffolding the Scale
After using the scale for about three years, I've learned to scaffold the scale by expecting more marks as the months pass. This means starting with an expectation of 5 marks for a 3 on the scale and 7 marks to reach a 4. The second quarter marks will be raised to 7 marks for a 3 and 9 for a 4. After Christmas the marks will be raised to 9 and 13.

A future blog post will include a more in-depth look at how I translate my marking system and the scoring scale into the AP World History essay rubrics.

Thanks for reading!