Creating a Rubric for the Public Service Announcement

After viewing a variety of PSAs, teachers will guide students as they determine the features of an excellent PSA. From this list they will work backwards to describe "good," "acceptable," and "not ready for prime time" PSA's as the basis for a rubric. Custer teachers will finalize the rubric and distribute to students,

Purpose of the Activity:

  • To identify quality work
  • To collaboratively build a rubric for evaluating the student-created PSAs
  • To make students aware of how they will be evaluated

Teaching Considerations:

  • Having students help generate the rubric is an important strategy to improve the quality of the work you get from them. This is especially true when the process is grounded in examining other projects and thinking about what constitutes quality work, as with the steps below. Such an approach gives the students a great sense of ownership of the evaluation process, a better understanding of quality work, and more clarity on how they will be evaluated (and get the kind of grade they would like). These benefits are harder to attain when we give students the rubric, or simply have students modify an existing rubric.
  • This activity is based on the PBL+MM Design a Rubric Activity: Establishing a common understanding of the assessment process and allowing students to participate in creating their own assessment standards are important components of project-based learning. Student-created rubrics emphasize student decision-making, collaborative learning, performance-based assessment, and "real world" connections. Rubrics can be used for planning and assessment by students and teachers throughout the project and as tools for media literacy.
  • Keep in mind that the rubric needs to not only determine how the PSA will be evaluated, but it should also provide some guidance as to the criteria that will be used to determine which PSAs are eligible for the Exhibition.
  • Following the process below, you will end up with one


  • Review the Design a Rubric Activity description to better understand the steps below.
  • Have several examples of rubrics available for students to examine in Step 2. (several are linked from the CCGH Intern Website)
  • ???

Desired Outcomes:

  • Product: PSA Rubric
  • Process: Students have a sense of ownership of the evaluation process for their projects
  • Process: Students are aware of what constitutes quality work within the context of PSAs
  • Process: Students understand how their PSAs and their work on the PSAs will be evaluated

The Process

Total time frame: 2 Project Blocks

Step 1: What is quality work?

  1. Have students reflect on the PSAs they reviewed in the previous activity (show again, if necessary)
  2. Ask students "What makes for a quality PSA? What are the characteristics of a good one?"
  3. List students' ideas on the board, newsprint, or using the projector
  4. Expand the list of quality work by asking, "So, if I were to make a PSA, what should I do to get an A?" (but focus on characteristics of quality work, more than grading)
  • Note: although it is important to let students work to generate the list, and that might include using a lot of wait time until students start sharing ideas, it is also a good idea that once they have generated a list that you help guide students to other ideas that they might not have thought of. As much as possible, try to pull the ideas from students with good questions, than simply giving them the ideas.
  • Note: "What to Do #2" of the Designing a Rubric Activity might be helpful to you.

Step 2: Familiarize students with rubrics

  1. Ask students what they know about rubrics.
  2. Record their answers.
  3. Give a quick definition of a rubric.
  4. Share sample rubrics with students, so they can see different formats (several are linked from the CCGH Intern Website)
  5. Ask students what they like (features) of various rubrics. Remind them that a good rubric helps them know when they are doing quality work and how they will be evaluated for their work.

Step 3: What should our rubric categories be?

  1. Have students think about both their Quality Work List and the rubrics, and ask them what the categories for their rubric should be (this would be like Design, Knowledge, Application, Process, Presentation in the rubrics we have used in the past).
  2. Put their ideas on the board.
  3. If you need to, remind them again that a good rubric helps them know when they are doing quality work and how they will be evaluated for their work.
  4. Look over all the categories on the board and work with students to narrow the list to 3-5 categories that they will will use in their rubric.

Step 4: Drafting the rubric 1

  1. Give students a blank rubric (like this blank one - Download the Word Doc - we used to generate rubrics for the Theme Park unit);
  2. Have students work in their Production Teams.
  3. They should start by replacing the headers in the blank rubric with the categories you selected in the last step.
  4. Students then work within their production team to draft a descriptor of what "Meets Expectations" should be for each of the categories.
  • Note: have students use the sample rubrics as a resource in their writing.
  • Note: Be sure to have students only work on "Meets Expectations." This kind of writing is new to most students and they will need support, coaching, and modeling. By focusing in Steps 4 & 5 only on "Meets Expectations," you will be providing students the modeling and coaching they need to successfully work on the other performance levels in Steps 6 & 7.
  • Note: "What to Do #3" of the Designing a Rubric Activity might be helpful to share with the students.

What the blank rubric looks like:

Exceeds Expectations (18 - 20)
Meets Expectations (15 - 17)
Approaches Expectations (12 - 14)
Does Not Meet Expectations (11 and under)

Step 5: Reviewing the drafts 1

  1. Have teams share what they have written for "Meets Expectations" for the first category
  2. discuss what are the best parts of each example.
  3. Talk about how to strengthen the descriptors
  4. Have teams revise their descriptors (or write a single descriptor for the class based on the best parts of each Production Team's draft)
  5. Repeat for each of the remaining categories
  • Note: Steps 4 & 5 model for students what's expected for descriptors throughout the rubric

Step 6: Drafting the rubric 2

  1. Have students draft descriptors now for each of the other levels for each category
  • Note: This might work best if you assign one category to each Production Team. If there are fewer Production Teams than there are categories, split the categories evenly between the Production Teams
  • Note: Again, "What to Do #3" of the Designing a Rubric Activity might be helpful to share with the students.

Step 7: Reviewing the drafts 2

  • Starting with the first category, have the students share what they drafted for each performance level.
  • Get feedback from all the students on how to strengthen the descriptor for each performance level
  • Have the authors revise the descriptors
  • Repeat for each of the remaining categories.

Step 8: Publish the Rubric

  • Collect each Production Team's descriptors and combine into a single document
  • Share the rubric with the class

Resources: (rubric available here as Word doc) (great rubric on page 6)
Numerous other resources can be found by searching -- "Public Service Announcement" rubric -- on Google.