Posted in Learning and Development, Writing

Rubrics

My relationship with rubrics is up and down.  There are times when I can appreciate their value and their usefulness.  And then, there are other times when presenting a rubric to students for a given assignment gives me the feeling that I am removing all forms of creativity and original thought from their hearts, minds and souls, for the rubric has told them so.

Well, I guess, at this moment in time, my view of rubrics is up, and I can appreciate their value and usefulness.  But, it was not my own initiative which has spurred these thoughts and feelings.  A student from one of my two Spanish 4 classes, asked if there would be a rubric for the final exam project.  I hemmed and hawed. Then the student added, ” I need a rubric so I can aspire to do my best work.”  Thus one of the reasons why    I don’t possess full love and admiration for rubrics.  After all, isn’t aspiration to do one’s best work inherent and self-guided?

I created a rubric for the project in question.  My student asked for one, and, since I am compliant, and serve (mostly) at the pleasure of my students, I dutifully created one. I am fairly happy with it, but, I wish I had had more time to reflect and ponder on it.

In fact, I used said rubric this morning, as each student presented.  And while I may go back and adjust some of my scores slightly, it did, in fact, facilitate the assessment process.  To my surprise.

I am now getting ready to roll out my second rubric; this time, for my Spanish 1-7 students.  I will let you know how things go.

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Author:

I teach. I cook. I write. In that order. Along the way, I learn many things, especially about myself.

3 thoughts on “Rubrics

    1. Hi, Denny. Thank you for reading and for commenting. Ugh…creating and using rubrics are the least favorite of my teacher duties. I find that I assess much more effectively when I base a piece of student work on its own merits. Which is to say: I have clear notion in my mind as to what constitutes high-quality work, quality work, mediocre work and poor work before I set about the task of assessing. That said, I understand that rubrics are a sort of cya tool, and if anyone wants to challenge my criteria, I can defer to the rubric. On the other hand, I personally find rubrics limiting. One would have to devise criteria for every possible manifestation of student work in order for rubrics to be completely accurate and effective. I find rubrics the most challenging to use when I am assessing speaking and writing assignments – especially for upper level students.

      The prevailing wisdom seems to be to include students in the creation of rubrics. But, this is to assume that students have reflected sufficiently on what constitutes quality work, and many honestly have no idea. So, soliciting student input, unless they are good students themselves, isn’t useful to me. But, I know where this is coming from: the idea that if students own the process, then somehow they’re invested more fully in it. This is sometimes true. I think most students really don’t want to be bothered with having to make such decisions, or offer such input. This is why there are teachers, correct?

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