The Language of Rubrix

This section is intended to nail down our names for the key concepts in Rubrix.

It should be noted that there is no standard terminology for many of these concepts. For example, what we call Domains are also called Dimensions, Components and Criteria by others. This document will clarify what we have chosen for Rubrix.

Terminology – the Narrative

An Evaluation is a collection of Artifacts relevant to an evaluation of something. An Artifact may be anything from a checklist to a formal review or a supporting document such as a signoff sheet, a remediation plan or a self-reflection form filled out by a person under review. Data entered via a BlackBerry or iPhone OS device is only one of many possible Artifacts, and Rubrix will not be the sole source of evaluation information especially initially. Additionally, our customers will have differing evaluation processes, not all of which we can anticipate in detail. As Rubrix evolves, we will provide ways to work with other parts of evaluations through the web site as well as on smartphones. We will also add ways to manage these ancillary documents and processes.

In other words, Rubrix will become a full Evaluation and Appraisal service, but currently is primarily an Assessment and Observation tool.

An Account identifies a Rubrix customer. An Account may be a single school or a district or even (we hope) a state. An Account contains one or more Organizations, which will initially typically be schools.

A User is just what you’d expect: somebody using Rubrix. There are 7 different roles that can be assigned to users, which grant them access to different parts of the application. See Manage User Roles and Permissions for a complete list.

A Subject is whatever is being reviewed. Typically this is a person (a student or teacher), but it could also be a thing (such as a car), or even a process.

A Rubric is a guide for evaluating a Subject. When a Reviewer wants to evaluate a Subject, they start by deciding two things: which Subject is going to be evaluated and which Rubric is going to be used to guide the assessment.

A Rubric almost certainly involves observing many aspects of the Subject. These aspects are called Elements. When a Rubric contains many Elements, it is often convenient to sort them into groups, based on some common factor they share. A group of Elements is called a Domain.

An Element consists of a set of Degrees. A Degree has four parts:

  1. a short text phrase (e.g. Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory)
  2. an even shorter label (continuing the example, this might be A, B, Pass, Fail)
  3. a full description that helps the Reviewer decide which Degree most closely matches the Subject.
  4. an optional score (e.g. 3, 2, 1, 0). For formative evaluations scoring is often omitted.

An Observation is the selection of a Degree from the set of Degrees that are specified for an Element in the Rubric. But an Observation can be more than just the selection of a Degree – it can also contain Notes, which are text. A Note can have additional evidence – supporting the choice of Degree – in the form of Attachments (images).

A Review is the collection of the Observations of a Subject against a Rubric. A Review may be in progress (some Elements have Observations) or complete (all Elements have Observations).

Rubrics can be (and frequently are) large and complex. In many cases, it won’t be reasonable to expect people to complete a review in one place at one time. For example, when reviewing a teacher, it is normal for only about half of the Elements to be observable in the classroom; things like cooperation with peers is not usually visible in a classroom as there are no peers with which to cooperate! Therefore we support Rublets. A Rublet is a defined subset of a Rubric’s Elements. This allows Reviewers to organize Elements into smaller sets which are suitable for entry at one time or place, such as a classroom walkthrough. You can have any number of Rublets defined for a Rubric.

Terminology Summary

  1. An Evaluation is a collection of Artifacts (reviews and supporting documents).
  2. Early versions of Rubrix are primarily concerned with assessment of things, but over time Rubrix will become a complete Evaluation service.
  3. A Rubrix customer is represented by an Account.
  4. Accounts contain one or more Organizations.
  5. A User belongs to an Organization. A User can be an …
  6. Account Administrator and/or an …
  7. Organization Administrator and/or a …
  8. Reviewer and/or an ...
  9. ... Author and/or a ...
  10. ... Student and/or an ...
  11. ... Observer and/or a ...
  12. ... Contact.
  13. A Subject is the entity being Reviewed (either a person or a thing).
  14. A Rubric
  15. … contains Elements, which are the aspects of the Subject being assessed.
    16, For convenience, Elements that share some characteristic are usually grouped into Domains.
  16. Each Element consists of a set of descriptive Degrees, one of which will most closely match the Subject.
  17. Degrees contain descriptive text or images to aid in the matching process, and a …
  18. … much shorter descriptive name, and an …
  19. … even shorter label (perhaps a letter grade) and an …
  20. … optional numeric Value.
  21. Making Observations of which Degree of an Element most closely matches the Subject under review is the main function Reviewers perform.
  22. An Observation contains a …
  23. … reference to a Degree, and optionally …
  24. Notes, which are text. A Note may have an Attachment, or image.
  25. A Review specifies a particular Subject and a particular Rubric. It will contain a set of Observations for each Element in the Rubric.
  26. A Review may be in progress or completed, depending on whether or not Observations have been made for all Elements.
  27. A Rublet is a defined subset of the Elements in a Rubric.