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Welcome to the E.A. Rubric is the home of the Essential Assessments Rubric, a resource for teachers of children with visual impairments. The EA Rubric is an online version of the ground-breaking software application that has TVIs and COMS around the country raving.

Why Was the Rubric Created?

All educational programming and instruction begins with quality assessments. There are three essential assessments for all children and youth who are blind or visually impaired. These are the functional vision assessment (FVA), learning media assessment (LMA), and assessments in the chosen priority areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). Teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired (TVIs) use the essential assessment framework to secure data that drives eligibility/entitlement, educational programming and instruction.

The content rubric was initiated through a collaborative effort of education experts and the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). Further refinement of content was provided by participants attending the 2008 Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) International Conference. Final edits were initiated by the content experts to support teachers and families in receiving tools and methods that will strengthen the development of children's educational programs. In addition, the quality rubrics (N=4) were created by Karen Blankenship modeled after the Peabody College rubric for assessment and edited by content experts to support teachers, families, and administrators to set standards of practice and to apply a qualitative measure (1-4) to the essential assessments.

The Essential Assessment Rubric Project provides a tool to guide TVIs and certified orientation & mobility specialists (COMS) in preparing and conducting assessments. Parents will be able to use the online resource to prepare for the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. Administrators are currently using both content and quality rubrics to evaluate both program and service accountability.

Rubric Features

A rubric is an authentic assessment tool used to measure a professional's work. It is a scoring guide that seeks to evaluate a professional's performance based on the sum of a full range of criteria rather than a single numerical score. A rubric is a working guide for teachers, and is usually handed out before the assessment begins in order to get professionals to think about the criteria on which their work will be judged. They may also be used for peer critiques in order to improve one's practice. Rubrics can be analytic (quality) or holistic (content), and they can be created for any content area. It is a formative type of assessment because it becomes an ongoing part of the whole teaching and learning process. Professionals are involved in the assessment process through both peer and self-assessment. Many experts believe that rubrics improve professionals' end products and therefore increase learning.

Rubrics offer several advantages.

  • Rubrics improve professionals' performance by clearly showing how their work will be evaluated and what is expected of them.
  • Rubrics help professionals become better judges of the quality of their own work.
  • Rubrics allow assessments to be more objective and consistent.
  • Rubrics force the teacher to clarify his/her criteria in specific terms.
  • Rubrics promote professional awareness about the criteria used in assessing peer performance.
  • Rubrics provide useful feedback to the teacher regarding the effectiveness of the assessment.
  • Rubrics provide professionals with more informative feedback about their strengths and areas in need of improvement.
  • Rubrics are easy to use and easy to explain.