What’s the Difference between a Rubric and an Answer Key?

By request: What’s the Difference between a Rubric and an Answer Key?

What's the Difference between a Rubric and an Answer Key?

What’s the Difference between a Rubric and an Answer Key?

We recently received this question from a new homeschooling mom. It’s a good question! Let’s see if we can help clarify.

First off, let me give some basics before we start. You need to understand two important things about homeschooling and grading assignments:

  1. There’s not ONE right way to homeschool. Therefore, the information we share is what works for us and our community. However, you are homeschooling in the way that is best for your family. When you homeschool you do everything, including grading, in the right way to advance your homeschoolers’ educational goals.
  2. Not only that, there’s not ONE definition for rubrics and answer keys. That’s because different educational institutions will use these terms in slightly different ways. SO take a deep breath! Then decide how you want to use rubrics and answer keys.

With all that in mind, let’s talk about the difference between rubrics and answer keys in 7Sisters curriculum

If you would like some basic information on assigning grades in homeschool high school, here are some good basic tips to get you started.

What is a rubric?

Rubrics are grading guides

This type of grading guide defines a set of criteria (or expectations). Rubrics are often used with writing assignments, as well as projects in other classes (such as history, science or social science).

They define the criteria that will be scored on the particular assignment. We give our homeschool high schoolers a copy of the rubric so that they know what to expect. Not only that, on writing assignments, we often have them turn in their own graded rubric with their rough draft and/or final draft. In that way, we can see the paper through our student’s eyes and more easily help them hone their skills.

Then, when we grade the assignment we can compare our teens’ papers with the rubric. It is clear whether or not the goals for that assignment were met. This makes grading much less subjective and removes that wishy-washy feeling abou

MLA research paper writing guide
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t grading writing assignments.

Here are a few examples of criteria you might find on a homeschool high school rubric:

But remember: here’s not one right way to create or use rubrics

You can find lots of examples of rubrics with a simple internet search or you may develop your own based on skills you want to emphasize with your homeschool high schoolers.

You can also create your own rubric for your homeschool high schoolers’ writing assignments and projects. Just because 7Sisters includes a rubric for the writing guides, does not mean you are restricted to using that particular rubric. Remember, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school- and there’s not ONE right way to create or use rubrics.

On the other hand, answer keys are used in many core subjects

The Chronicles of Narnia Literature Guides for
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Answer keys are simply provide correct answers to questions. These kinds of grading guides are helpful for grading:

  • Homework assignments
  • Tests
  • Literature guide questions
  • Chapter questions in textbooks and other curriculum

You may have noticed that 7Sisters textbooks and literature study guides come with a downloadable pdf answer key for the parents. This answer key is kept by parents separately from the student’s curriculum. Parents use the answer key to score chapter questions in literature study guides, chapter questions in textbooks, as well as tests.

Answer keys are useful for quick grading, especially in subjects that a parent does not know well. They are also useful for questions and tests where there is a clear right or wrong answer, for questions that are developing inferential skills (check notes to parents in 7Sisters literature study guides), for chapter questions in textbooks, and for scoring a test.

High school health for the whole person
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Remember, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school- and there’s not ONE right way to create or use answer keys. Just because 7Sisters includes an answer key for the literature guides and textbooks, does not mean you are restricted to using that particular answer key. You are always free to create your own questions and/or create your own answer key.

After all, you are homeschooling in the way that is best for your homeschool high schoolers. You know what educational skills they need to concentrate on! (For a more relaxed or unschooled look at grading check out our Cousin Teresa Weidrick’s Homeschool Mama Self-Care Facebook Group.)

You can do this!

Want some extra homeschool support?

One of the friendliest and most helpful group of women that I know are on 7SistersHomeschool’s Facebook group. Join us there! You can ask questions on all things homeschooling (especially homeschool high school).

 

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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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