administration student task rubric student work technical quality
Classification of Animals
Contributed by: RAND

Scoring Guide for Animals Classification

Part 1: Classifying People

QUESTION #2: (p.1) - max. 2 points

1 point for identifying a valid difference, by:

  • naming a dimension in which A and B differ (e.g. gender, season); or,
  • noting a feature of both A and B, and including a label or descriptive adjective such that there is not ambiguity (e.g. "A is male and B is female", "He has summer clothes and she has winter clothes").

No points for ambiguous responses or responses that refer only to a characteristic of B, such as:

One is male, one is female
Summer Clothes
Long hair
Short pants

QUESTION #4 (p.1) - 1 point for "No"

QUESTION #5 (p.1) - 1 point for "Yes"

QUESTION #6 (p.2) - max. 6 points

1 point each for placing the six pictures in the correct boxes.

NOTE: Do not award points for A and B.

QUESTION #7 (p.3) - max. 7 points

1 point for each of the seven labels correctly placed.

NOTE: Do not award points for Age, Winter, and Child-Summer.


Part 2: Classifying Animals

Follow these procedures in the order they are written.

QUESTION #1 (p.4)

  1. COLUMN GROUPS: (2 points)
    To get the 2 points for the column labels, the groups must meet TWO criteria:

    1. Both groups must be part of the same variable. This means that the 2 groups in a column must be mutually exclusive.
    2. There must be corroborating evidence of student understanding. This can be demonstrated by any one of the following methods:
      1. Does the PROPERTY label fit both groups? (e.g. the property "Size" fits the groups "Big" and "Small") If not, then
      2. Are the LABELS INSIDE THE BOXES consistent with the column group labels? If NOT, then
      3. Are the ANIMALS in each column sorted in a way that is consistent with the group label for that column? (It does not have to be perfect).

        50% rule: If 50% or more of the animals in a column fit the label for that column, then it corroborates the column label. Both labels must be corroborated for the student to get credit for the group labels.

    1. COLUMN PROPERTY: (1 point) Both column groups must fit the property.

      MAMMAL RULE: Student does not receive a point if he or she uses the same label for a group and for the corresponding property, unless student says "OR," uses a question mark, or somehow recognizes a dichotomy between the groups in the property label. For example, "mammal" is not OK, but "mammal or not mammal" is OK.

      NOTE: If a student uses the same property or group labels for the rows and columns, he/she can only receive points once.

    2. ROW GROUPS: (2 points)
      Same criteria as column groups (see above).

    3. ROW PROPERTY: (1 point)
      Both row groups have to fit the property (see above).

    4. BOX LABELS: (1 point each up to 4 points)
      Each inside box label must match its outside row AND column group labels. Close synonyms are acceptable (e.g., outside group label is "Big" and the corresponding box label says "large," this is OK).

    5. ANIMALS: (1 point each up to 8 points)
      Does the animal fit the box? Give first priority to the outside group labels. Animals placed in more than one box cannot receive a point. A student can get all 8 points for animals only if every box has at least 1 animal. If this rule is not satisfied, but all the animals are classified properly, then assign a score of "7" for animals.

      See page 9 "Specific Rules for Scoring Animals" for guidelines on ambiguous groupings, such as "big/small." Remember, a student can get points here even if he or she did not get points for the groups (see "Special Cases," p.5).

    QUESTION #2 (p.5)- (1 point)

    Student receives 1 point if his or her response is accurate relative to his or her own classification system. Student must identify a box or boxes, or give valid reasons for not placing the objects in a box.


    a) A unique box label that is valid (applies to characteristics of the alligator) - for example, lays eggs.

    b) Row and column labels that are valid - for example, big and water.

    c) Box number AND either row or column label, both of which are valid.

    d) Student mentions more than one box and gives valid reason for why the object fits into each box - for example, can go in Box 1 (land/big) or Box 2 (water/big).

    e) Student says object doesn't fit any box and gives a valid reason that is consistent with his or her system.

    Give the student a point if the explanation satisfies one or more of the rules above. A student who does not receive a point is most likely to:

    a) provide a box number only, with no reason (needs at least one word).

    b) Put object in a box and provide a reason that is inconsistent with his or her labels or classification system.

    c) Mention a row or column without specifying a particular box or stating why both boxes would be applicable.

    If there is an internal conflict (e.g., fits box label but not row and column labels), student gets the benefit of the doubt and receives a point.


    a) one or both sets of groups labels do not constitute levels of a variable (e.g., big and dark).


    b) Student has a valid cross-classification within the table.

    Ways in which this may occur:

    • Outside labels do not represent levels of a variable, but student uses these to create a cross classification inside the table and this cross-classification makes sense. (See "pointy faces" example from calibration and example 1a in this handout.)
      • SCORING: No points for group labels that are not levels of a variable. 1 point awarded for each correct box label (box label that contains each of the corresponding row and column labels) 1 point awarded for each properly classified animal.
    • Group labels are missing but the box labels show a valid cross-classification. (See example 2a in this handout.)
        SCORING: No points awarded for groups or properties. No points awarded for boxes. 1 point awarded for each properly classified animal.
    • Group labels conflict with the box labels inside the table, but the box labels and animals form a valid cross-classification within the table. (See example 3a in this handout).
      • SCORING: Points awarded for groups only if they can be corroborated by an appropriate property label. No points awarded for boxes. 1 point awarded for each properly classified animal.


    In order for a student to receive points for animals in these special cases:

    a) There must be evidence that the row group applies to both boxes in the row; in other words, the student must have at least one animal that fits the group label in each of the boxes in that row. There must also be evidence that the column group applies to both boxes in the column; student must have at least one animal that fits the column label in each of the boxes in that column.

    b) 50% Rule: At least 50% of the animals in each row must fit that row, whether the student is using external labels or box labels. At least 50% of the animals in each column must fit that column.


    Animal Sizes

    Student has groups based on animal sizes (e.g., big/small).
    Must Always Be Big Must Always Be Small Flexible

    Light/Dark Animals

    Student uses "light" and "dark" as groups (exactly these words).
    Must Always Be Dark Must Always Be Light Flexible

    Animal Colors

    Student has groups based on how colorful the animals are. Colorful, Multicolored, and "more than 1 color" should be considered the same thing

    Must Always Be Multicolored Must Always Be One Color Flexible
    Elephant Chicken*

    * If the chicken is one color then the duck MUST also be considered one color in the student's system. But, the duck can be one color without the chicken also being considered one color.


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