By Gary Carnow

Scoring criteria are often included in the grant request for proposals. The scoring criteria is often further described in a scoring rubric. Here is an example of some scoring criteria categories and maximum scores allotted in an up coming Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) grant.

•    Application Presentation and Format, no points assigned
•    Program for Students and related items on forms, 15 points
•    Professional Development for Teachers and related items on forms, 15 points
•    Expand Access to Technology and Provide Technology Support and related items on forms, 15 points
•    Communication and Collaboration Among Home, School and Community and related items on forms, 15 points
•    Evaluation and Program Management Plan and related items on forms, 20 points
•    Follow-up Grant and Program Sustainability and related items on forms, 10 points
•    Projected Budget and Budget Narratives described on form 5 and narrative, 10 points
•    Total Rubric Points, 100 points

The rubric may further break down the criteria and provide the grant readers a score range on which to judge this element. For example, one of the categories in the EETT grant is Communication and Collaboration Among Home, School and Community.

The rubric breaks down this category into five major elements, each of which must be addressed including:
(1) a description of how the technology will be used to establish or improve communication and collaboration among home, school and community;
(2) describe how this enhanced communication will support student’s learning needs; (3) describe your plans to share successful implementation strategies;
(4) describe key communication and collaboration plan strategies or activities; and
(5) describe how administrative commitment to student and teacher access will ensure program success.

Each of these points are looked at separately but scored in a point range including: Makes a Strong Case (11-15 points), Makes an Adequate Case (6-10 points) and Makes an Inadequate Case (0-5 points).

Under each category in the rubric, a statement is provided as an example. This detailed rubric is both good and bad for the grant seeker. On the good side, the grant funder is telling you exactly what you need to do. What is bad is that you may be tempted to simply write the “Makes a Strong Case” statement without really describing what you plan to do. Be careful not to fall into this trap. For example, stating that the narrative describes a comprehensive action plan to share successful program implementation strategies and outcomes with stakeholders at the conclusion of the program does not tell the grant reader how you plan to do this. It does not say how parents, community members, and school districts will actually be able to share in the lessons learned. Stating that you have a comprehensive case does not provide the comprehensive case.

Grant funders also use a variety of rubrics for the scoring process. A rubric may be simple and straightforward or quite complex. A rubric may provide the reader detailed criteria on which to judge or may just include a check-list with forced choices. As an example, the project summary might be judged as simply as YES, NO, or UNCLEAR in reaction to a series of statements. The grant reader would also provides comments.

This project relates to the learning and growth of teachers and students, and has active community involvement. YES, NO, or UNCLEAR.

The rubric for a teacher’s mini-grant may include another kind of simple rubric, this one with scoring points assigned.  For example, the criteria for the budget might be scored on a three-point scale or a five-point scale. Here is an example of a three-point scale:

1 – The proposal’s budget is vague and/or inappropriate for the project.
2 – The proposal provides a budget that is appropriate in type and amount, but is lacking sufficient detail.
3 – The proposal provides a clearly articulated and itemized budget that is appropriate in both type and amount.

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