Day 85: Sampling Distribution Rubric

One of the most challenging aspects of AP Statistics is the technical writing required.  Students are not used to writing in supporting details and following a prescribed format.  Although I give them an acronym to help them through the steps, their writing often lacks detail and critical components.

I use the 4-step process (Think, Plan, Do, Conclude) as a scaffold for students to organize their writing in inference procedures.  I also don’t like to hit them with “everything” all at once when we begin the inference units.  So I have used the Sampling Distribution unit to incorporate the 4-step process along with many of the components of inference procedure requirements.  Most importantly, I “enforce” the use of the probability statement: P( statistic > value) idea, introduce the conditions for building the sampling distribution (which are soooooo similar to those in inference procedures) and writing conclusions in context.  I have found this to be extremely helpful since students then already know the procedure and all we do is “tweak” it during inference.

As part of my professional evaluation process, I decided I wanted to try to quantify and rubricize (I don’t think that’s a word..haha) the process so I would have quantifiable data.  I matched the 4-step process with the essential AP requirements associated with each step.  Wanting to have 4 components under each step of the 4-step process, I went through the comments of the head grader of previous AP exams to look for insight into the components of each step. I looked for ways to connect inference language to sampling distribution language.  I also wanted the rubric to use the grading process of an AP free response question (E, P, I) as well as the overall grading score (4-1).  Unlike the AP grading, I am demanding more for what qualifies as an E, P and I; students must have all 4 components of a step to get an E and they must get all 4 step at an E to get a 4 for the problem.

I hope this guides my students to a well-written response while encouraging them to pay attention to details…the killer on the AP exam.  I will use this rubric often with students in a formative assessment way, encouraging student reflection on their writing.  I am excited that the Common Core seems to be requiring more thoughtful student responses with supporting details and proper use of vocabulary.  How do you create rubrics for student learning?