Interpersonal Communication Self-Evaluation Rubric

Here is the rubric Robert is using, followed by some comments. How to use it? Personally, I am going to be talking to administrators about these two new suns we have found in our grading galaxy:
Robert’s Interpersonal Communication Mode, which to me means how are my students doing at interacting with me in my classroom?
The Interpretive Mode, which I will tie to class content quiz grades and means how are my students doing at interpreting and understanding what they hear in my classroom?)
Just to pre-state something that Robert says below:

Many of these actions also affect citizenship and work habits, but they are not citizenship grades; they are academic grades tied to the standard of Interpersonal Communication and were taken from ACTFL and College Board descriptions of that standard.

Interpersonal Communication Self-Evaluation Rubric
5=exceeds target
4=meets target (80%+ of time)
3=partially meets target
2=doesn’t meet target
1=there’s a target?
0=what class is this?

____I let the teacher know when I don’t understand something by signaling
____I use body language to show engagement in class communication
____I respond appropriately to the teacher’s statements and questions
(e.g. “ooohhh”; correct answer to “what did I just say” or issue of fact)
____I suggest appropriate details to add to the story or class discussion
____I use German to communicate
____I follow conversation conventions (e.g. respect others, don’t blurt out)

Commentary by Robert:
I went over this with every class before they filled them out. Since we work with the 80% rule anyway, I set that as the target. Are they exhibiting these behaviors at least 80% of the time? Personally, I don’t see any reason to define the other levels for them, though I mentioned that Advanced would be about 95% of the time.
– signalling: obviously I can’t know whether they know something or not, but if I ask a question and they can’t answer it, I remind them that they are not meeting that standard.
– body language: I am very explicit about the kind of body language that shows engagement (slightly forward in the chair, shoulders squared, eyes focused) and what doesn’t (head or body turned away, slouching, closed eyes, vacant stare, bowed head). Here’s where modelling the behavior we want is handy.
– response: I have to base my grade on what they give me when I ask, but they should evaluate whether or not they could have answered another student’s question
-details: I have to base my grade on what they suggest; quieter students will not be hurt if this is low and everything else is high because anything above a 4 is a 5 (or set your own cut-off point, e.g. 4.5 and above average is a 5), anything above a 3 is a4, etc.
– German: do they at least try to speak in German, or do they try to excuse themselves by saying they don’t know much German? [If you don’t know how to say it, then you can’t say it.] ACTFL position statement says 90%+ of class speech by teacher and students is in target language.
– conventions: this covers blurting, side conversations, daydreaming, etc. because these actions do not show respect for the conversation partners and therefore do not meet the standard of conversation conventions.
All of this fits on a half sheet of paper, and students write down their score (0-5) to the left of the targeted standard. I average the score and consider whether it is appropriate or not. Most of the time the student evaluation is either the same as mine or lower, occasionally higher. Then we have an opportunity to talk about it.
Many of these actions also affect citizenship and work habits, but they are not citizenship grades; they are academic grades tied to the standard of Interpersonal Communication and were taken from ACTFL and College Board descriptions of that standard.
In dealing with Citizenship I have found Michael Josephson’s “Six Pillars of Character” very helpful. Check out Character Counts (



19 thoughts on “Interpersonal Communication Self-Evaluation Rubric”

  1. They are there.
    Culture – built into the stories we tell and read; I model many cultural practices; the important thing is to understand the perspectives that the cultural practices and products provide, and that comes through the language in Comprehensible Input (I have started putting up a “quote of the week” that we look at on Monday and refer to throughout the week; currently it’s “Irren ist menschlich, Vergeben ist göttlich”); just today we read a story, and one person went up a flight of stairs to the first floor – an opportunity to talk about the different cultural perspectives between US and European floor numbering systems. Ben’s criticism of the current readers available can be enlarged – not only do they present a skewed picture of who Americans are [we won’t explore why that might be], they are often culturally empty. The people in the books act an awful lot like Americans, just in another place. The cultural items present in one reader in particular are window dressing and not essential to the story; the protagonist could just as easily have gone from Virginia to Southern California and seen a similar cultural difference – and it’s boring as well.
    Connections – part of the content during communication; I do math, history, science, art, etc. in the language
    Comparisons – also part of the content during communication; I am constantly amazed at how much I can explain in German as long as I go slowly and bring new words in-bounds; we look at differences in word order, pronunciation, verb formation, etc. in German
    Communities – as we build a classroom community through interpersonal communication, we encourage students to take that outside the classroom; my students regularly talk to one another in German outside the classroom; by inviting outside speakers (whose presentation I control and am willing to interrupt for the sake of comprehension), I bring the language community into the classroom. (On Friday one of my former students who just returned from two years in Germany will visit and talk about his experience. This also fits well with our college-going culture emphasis.)

    1. Last year, for 20 hours, while our school building was being remodeled, I wrote fake assessment descriptions for each of the 5 Cs and then each of the sub topics for each of the 5 Cs for each unit for Deutsch Aktuell 2 in curriculum mapping. It was not meaningful and I haven’t looked at it all this year. I can see how all 5 Cs all fit into the 3 modes of communication, so thanks. That g0es with Ben’s simplicity.

  2. Robert, when you say you’re aiming at 80%, does this also mean that you’re putting 4s nito the gradebook as 80%? How are you fitting these single digit s into a quantitative, compliance-based grading system ?

  3. Not sure if this will go into the right place, but I am wondering about Grant’s question? I love this idea, but I have to give my kids numerical grades, with 100-90 as basically an A, 89=80 a B, 79-70 a C, and below 70 as failing. Any suggestions would be great?

  4. Wrestling the gradebook into compliance with Standards-Based Grading is still an ongoing project, but this is what I am currently doing.
    I use a five-point grading system:
    5 = Advanced
    4 = Proficient (the target)
    3 = Basic
    2 = Below Basic
    1 = Far Below Basic
    in part because it parallels the standardized test terminology that student already know and understand.
    Last year I used the letters A, P, B, L and F for these and assigned them the grades of 95%, 85%, 75%, 65% and 55% but didn’t find that solution ideal. I mention it just in case someone else wants to try it out.
    This year – based on conversations I have had with a science teacher from one of our other high schools – I am simply giving scores of 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 (0 for no work at all). Each assignment is worth 5 points. (See tweaking below) To make the percentage-based gradebook program work with this, multiplying each number by 20 gives you its value. As a result, the gradebook percentages look strange:
    A+ = 100%
    A = 81%-99.99%
    B = 61%-80.99%
    C = 41%-60.99%
    D = 21%-40.99%
    F = 0%-20.99%
    One student, for example, currently has
    Interpersonal Communication: 3, 4
    Interpretive Communication: 5, 5, 5, 4
    Average: 80.70%
    Grade: B, but at a final grading period I would bump him up to the A- because he tries. As you can see, his first Interpersonal Communication mark was Basic (partially meets standard); his second mark was 4 (meets standard). To get to a 5 I would expect him to offer appropriate suggestions more than he does and volunteer to act and speak German to me outside of class.
    Also you can see that I don’t have many end-of-class quiz grades, either. I have a few more to enter, but I won’t have a lot. Nobody c0mplains.
    The reason that A starts at 81% is because, as my science colleague puts it, “Anything above a 4 is a 5.” You can set the percentages to reflect plus and minus grades, but that seems overly complex to me. Also, you can enter a grade as a 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 or 4.5 if you want. The gradebook will simply do the math and reflect the percentages. (The teacher I am citing and his school are currently being lauded as shining examples of doing Standards-Based Grading, so I know my district has no problems with these percentages; it just takes a little education for students to understand as well.)
    One other thing this does is take the weight away from an F. It’s only 20% of the scale, rather than 59%. (For a little bit of perspective, if a batter is hitting 600, that means he is hitting 60% of the time. In baseball that’s excellent, but in school it’s only a D. With my scale, it’s now a C — almost a B — and thus more reflective of real life.)
    My district uses the Aeries system for attendance and grading. What I described is how we have adapted the system to Standards-Based Grading. My colleague has set the lower percentages a bit higher (e.g. 45% for C rather than 41%; I’ve asked why but he hasn’t gotten back to me on that one yet).
    My district is also putting a great deal of emphasis on Costa’s Levels of Inquiry. I think it’s good because it makes me look at testing in a different way – and actually makes grading easier. Rather than counting number correct out of number possible, I look at the level of question answered. For example, level 3 questions are explicit to the text/discussion. Most of my end-of-class quizzes are level 3 quizzes, and I would make the total possible out of 3 instead of the 5 I started out with. (Remember, this is all a work in progress. So, 5/5 = 3; 4/5 = 2.5; 3/5 = 2; 2/5 = 1.5; 1/5 = 1 – but the “score” I enter in the gradebook is maximum possible of 3 because that’s the level of questioning I used.)
    If I ask higher-level questions, then the number possible is out of 4 or 5, but two people can miss the same number of questions and get different scores. How? Because they missed different levels of question. Say I have 10 questions: five level 3 questions (define), three level 4 questions (categorize), two level 5 questions (synthesize). One student misses both level 5 questions and gets a 4 on the quiz because he is proficient but not advanced. Another student misses a level 5 question and a single level 3 question. He gets a 4.5 because he shows some advanced work but has a hole in lower level.
    This sounds incredibly complex when I write it, but it really is simple in practice.
    The real paradigm shift comes in convincing students, parents, counsellors and administrators that points are irrelevant. The numbers reflect level of performance, not points accumulated. My students get this. After the first couple of quizzes and a larger assessment, we talked about levels of inquiry and which questions represented which level. Then they evaluated their own papers, gave a grade and told me why. The vast majority were spot on. Most parents are happy that their child has an a B with a 65%.
    My school has a rotating half-hour extension. We also have a late start every Wednesday with no extension. (The late start is for students; teachers meet to collaborate. All meetings occur during the school day; the only thing we have to meet outside the school day for is Back to School/Open House, voluntary professional development, and any true emergency) So, a schedule might look like this
    Monday – Period 1 extension
    Tuesday – Period 2 extension
    Wednesday – late start; no extension
    Thursday – Period 3 extension
    Friday – Period 4 extension
    Monday – Period 6 extension
    Tuesday – Period 1 extension
    Wednesday – late start; no extension
    Thursday – Period 2 extension
    Friday – assembly; no extension
    Monday – period 3 extension
    Tuesday – period 4 extension
    Wednesday – late start; no extension
    Thursday – period 5 extension
    Friday – period 6 extension
    So, in a three-week span I have had two extensions with each class. I will have them fill out the self-evaluation in one of those two extension periods. Of course, other school events (PSAT testing, Exit Exam, etc.) also affect the schedule, but I can have students evaluate themselves about every three to four weeks.
    I like the extension schedule and use it for remediation, make-up quizzes, time to catch up from absences, and sustained silent reading. Students who are totally caught up on work have the option of going to a class where they need extra help if they have arranged it beforehand with the teacher.
    I hope this answers the questions. If you have more, just ask. If I missed something, let me know.

    1. I told an AP about all this today. His only question was Grant’s above – how do we quantify this for the gradebook. We will have a clear answer to Grant’s question soon enough here and it will be a big moment, for me at least. Don’t forget Grant’s question. It’s key as this thread moves forward.

    2. The middle portion of what Robert writes above, the numbers, are sufficient to create, within the next few days, the answer to the problem. We will quantify the standards and it will be simple. That is what I intend to do, anyway. With what Robert has given above, I am 98% of the way there. It’s just about getting a few numbers defined. Once done, I will never have to worry about complexity and percentages again. No kid can play the absence card. No more project cards. No more test cards, except the semi-daily quizzes (the Interpretive piece). No more homework grades. No more meaninglessness. The kids shows up and interacts with us as per the Interpersonal Mode requirement or fails. It will be so easy and we are just about there. Too much other stuff going on to hammer it out now tonite, though. Am I the only one, or does anyone else here feel that what Robert and Drew have said here lately is of gigantic importance in the entire assessment conundrum? By slaying this dragon now, we no longer allow assessment to drive instruction. The comprehensible input we deliver in class will no longer be tainted by the assessment piece. It will then be of a different, much higher, quality. Our classes will change altogether when they realize what is at stake if they don’t behave according to the standards. Children will have to behave according to the standards or, if they want to put their heads down and be as lead weights around the class process, they can and will fail. This is what all this means. It means that kids have to be a part of the verbal quid pro quo because of national standards. They can’t fake it anymore. The battle is over.

  5. Oops! I see that I made an error in the schedule. It should look like this:
    Monday – Period 1 extension
    Tuesday – Period 2 extension
    Wednesday – late start; no extension
    Thursday – Period 3 extension
    Friday – Period 4 extension
    Monday – Period 5 extension
    Tuesday – Period 6 extension
    Wednesday – late start; no extension
    Thursday – Period 1 extension
    Friday – assembly; no extension
    Monday – period 2 extension
    Tuesday – period 3 extension
    Wednesday – late start; no extension
    Thursday – period 4 extension
    Friday – period 5 extension
    Monday – period 6 extension
    Tuesday – period 1 extension
    Wednesday – late start; no extension
    Thursday – period 2 extension
    Friday – period 3 extension

  6. I have been using a self-assessment on class participation in my classes for several weeks now. My 6,7, an 8th graders fill it out, pass it in (with their own comments) , and I comment on it. I don’t turn it into a grade. It’s a formative assessment I use to understand how the students think they are doing in terms of participating in class. It’s also a way to have an ongoing conversation with each student about their presence in my class. I had another idea of bringing in a little peer critique, perhaps having students give each other feedback on their participation. Has anyone tried having students give each other feedback (in English)? The idea here would be to create a culture in the classroom in which students feel comfortable giving each other feedback on a regular, informal basis.

  7. HELP!!! ASAP!! I’ve started a weekly Interpersonal Communication grade using that checklist of 6 things up there with the 0-5 scale. It’s a weekly 30 point grade. It has been hurting some students’ grades though.
    I just received an email from a parent needing further explanation of these grades because here is here son’s grades:
    Oct 31-Nov. 11 (I combined two weeks here due to some scheduling) – 47/60 = 78%
    Nov. 14-Nov. 18- 24/30 = 80%
    She simply said that she was looking at his grades and needs further explanation on these assignments. What would be a good non-hostile way to address her concern (she obviously thinks he should have a higher grade).
    He can be somewhat talkative at times but he isn’t awful, he’s meeting the target. I’ve explained to the students that 80% is the target, unfortunately according to our grading scale that is a C.
    I could use some tips on how to respond to this, a good explanation of Standards-Based Grading, etc. Thanks!

    1. I would set things up so that being on target earns a B, or in interpersonal communication, even an A. Of course, I am one of those who has changed my grading scale so that each grade gets an equal 20% in the system, so that way kids who got 56% on a test if I graded by percentages would have a C. I grade by standards, though, so the percent is not really relevant.
      If I were a mom and you told me my kid was making the target but that the target was a C, I might want to hear explanation too.
      I hate grades. But if I have to give them, I’m first going to err in favor of the kids, because grades have undue impact on kids’ lives. I’m going to figure out what I want them to be able to do in a given area. Then anyone who can do what I want them all to be able to do typically gets a “meets” or a B. Below that is a C, above is an A. I’m pretty close to Robert’s system above, but I keep it very simple.

      1. I agree with Michele. Our target should be Proficient, and that is at least a B.
        At the risk of using a cliche, Standards-Based Grading involves a complete paradigm shift. In reality, percentages and points are irrelevant. The only thing that counts is performance in relation to the standard.
        My system looks really complicated on paper, but in practice it is really simple. Like Michele I use a five-point scale, and each grade is 20% of the total. (Where did we ever get the idea that an F should be worth 60% of the grade? A baseball player who’s batting 50% (.500) is a star.) As Michele writes above, though, the percentage is actually irrelevant.
        Chris, if your school/department demands that you publish and follow a certain set of percentages for grades, then I suggest you work backwards. BTW, in any “standard grading scale”, 80% is a B minus. Is your school/department non-standard?
        OK, this is what I would do (assuming a straight 90-100 = A range; 80-89 = B range; 70-79 = C range; 60-69 = D range; 0-59 = F range – make whatever adjustments you need for your scale):
        1. Grade everything according to standards. (You should be doing this anyway)
        2. Use either a letter or number for each level of proficiency. My suggestion:
        A = Advanced = 5 = exceeds standard
        P = Proficient = 4 = meets standard
        B = Basic = 3 = partially meets standard
        L = Below Basic = 2 = falls below standard
        F = Far Below Basic = 1 = falls far below standard
        3. Assign a percentage score to each letter or number.
        5 = 95% (middle of A range)
        4=85% (middle of B range)
        3=75% (middle of C range)
        2=65% (middle of D range)
        1=55% (true “middle” of F range)
        4. Maintain the right to “tweak” the percentages.
        If someone is borderline between two grade ranges, enter a percentage other than those listed above, but do it in steps of 5% (e.g. 100, 90, 80, 70, 60).
        5. Enter the percentages as aligned with your school/department’s scale in the grade book.
        This will give a closer approximation of standards-based grading than what you apparently have now, and it will make the necessary adjustments for your scale without having you stick out. In a school or department that hasn’t year made the paradigm shift to understanding standards-based grading, this system will keep people from accusing you of having a “different scale”. I used this for a couple of years before my district committed to standards-based grading and fully endorsed weird percentages to accommodate the grading program (Aeries) to standards.
        Hope this helps.

  8. Thanks! I wish 80% was a B on our scale. I might have to figure something out with this. I guess the “80% rule” doesn’t work when an 80% is a C and grades are the only thing kids and parents care about.

    1. Absolutely!
      The other thing about SBG is that proponents say to apply the most consistent recent mark. That means that if you’re still in a system that averages grades, you override it. If a kid had a couple of F’s and D’s at the beginning of the semester in interpersonal communication, but then started to hit C’s and is now making consistent B’s, I would put down a B. I manage that by making my (irregular) marks worth only 5 points and something that I call a “benchmark” worth 100 points, because that makes the benchmark the most important grade in that section.
      Parents can still see all the other grades, but the benchmark far outweighs all the other little grades, so even F’s can’t really pull it down.

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