technology tip of the month Pointer and Clicker Article
Virgil E. Varvel Jr.
Rubrics


There are many benefits to using rubrics. Likewise, there are some disadvantages. This page lists some of there benefits and disadvantages, as well as methods for overcoming the disadvantages.

Benefits

  • Most assessments do not have an answer key
    • Rubrics can provide that key.
  • Rubrics allow consistent assessment
    • Reproducable scoring by a single individual is enhanced.
    • Reproducable scoring by multiple individuals can be enhanced with training.
    • Greater precision and reliability among scored assessments.
    • They allow for better peer feedback on student graded work.
  • Rubrics can be impartial.
    • Scoring can be prescribed by the rubric and not the instructor predispositions towards students.
    • They allow better or more accurate self-assessment by students.
  • Rubrics document and communicate grading procedures.
    • If parents, students, colleagues, or administrators question a grade, the rubric can be used to validate it.
    • They allow justification and validation of scoring among other stakeholders.
    • Students can compare their assignment to the rubric to see why they received the grade that they did.
  • Rubrics allow one to organize and clarify your thoughts.
    • They tell you what was important enough to assess.
    • They allow comparison of lesson objectives to what is assessed.
    • Instruction can be redesigned to meet objectives with assessed items.
    • Students can use them as a guide to completing an assignment. They help students with process and possibly increase the quality of student work.
  • Rubrics provide an opportunity for important professional disussions when they are brought up in scholarly communication.
  • Rubrics can help you teach.
    • They keep you focused on what you intend to assess.
    • They allow you to organize your thoughts.
    • They can provide a scaffold with which the students can learn.
  • Non-scoring rubrics can encourage students to self-assess their performance.
Disadvantages
  • They may not fully convey all we want students to know. If you use the rubric to tell students what to put in an assignment, then that may be all they they put. It may also be all that they learn. Multiple assessments are useful ways around this disadvantage, as well as directed instruction or discussion coupled with the assignment.
  • They may limit imagination if students feel compelled to complete the assignment strickly as outlined in the rubric. Important to have creativity as a criteria if you wish students to be more adventuresome in their assignments.
  • They could lead to anxiety if they include too many criteria. Students may feel that there is just too much involved in the assigment. Good rubrics keep it simple.
  • Reliability can be a factor as more individuals use the rubric. Especially when used for peer assessment among untrained users, the reproducability and reliability will be reduced.
  • They take time to develop, test, evaluate, and update.

 

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