There’s not one correct answer, there are many! Rubrics have an important place in the classroom, find out why we think so.
We have compiled a three point list that we think illustrates the importance of using rubrics. To dive deeper and learn more about rubrics, how to use them and why they are important there is a list of inspiration at the end of this post.
As an Assessment Tool:
The main purpose of a rubric is it’s ability to assess student’s performance or work. Rubrics can be tailored to each assignment or to the course to better assess the learning objectives. Being able to tailor and customise rubrics means that rubrics can be used for just about any assignment and any course, basically a rubric can be a one size fits all tool.
Learning to correctly construct and use a rubric will result in a time efficient and consistent grading process for both teacher and student. The fact that a rubrics basic purpose is to consistently and fairly assess a student’s work should make it an important enough classroom tool, but there are two more reasons we love rubrics.
As a means to Improve Learning
“This reflective ethos on work produced, fosters communication and the learning cycle to be completed.” — Cox, Morrison, Brathwaite
Using a rubric should be thought of as an active and engaging form of learning. In the ideal situation a student will not read a rubric once, but use the rubric as a way to reflect, analyse and improve their work.
When rubrics are used by both student and teacher alike a rubric creates what Cox calls a “feed forward mechanism” meaning a rubric should allow the student to reflect on their work and focus on how to improve in the future. It’s not just about student’s using a rubric as a form of feedback but giving them an opportunity to use the feedback.
As a Communication Tool
Rubrics can be seen as a communication tool between student and teacher as it aligns expectations and outlines learning objectives for the assignment between student and teacher. One main benefit of aligning and clearly stating expectations is that it creates transparency in grading; grades will seem less arbitrary if students can see what grades are based upon especially if rubrics are being used in peer grading.
Another added benefit is when rubrics define clear learning objectives teachers can quickly and effectively monitor students progress. This allows for monitoring of students that are falling behind, but it is also a great way to adjust course materials and assignments. Rubrics can point to which questions or learning objectives that the whole class is struggling with or what may even be too easy.
Rubrics can be an asset in any classroom and at any education level but it needs to be implemented correctly. Spending time properly integrating rubrics through explanations and practice will pay off in the long run.
“A rubric is only as good as its design, support and explanation in its use and conversely the expectations from the use of the rubric should enhance the learning outcomes for the students. Without this, a rubric can lead to promotion of shallow learning whilst producing conformity and standardisation..” -Cox, Morrison, Brathwaite
If you like rubrics as much as we do, check out our post on the best practices of creating a rubric here.
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Our Academic Inspiration:
- How to Create and Use Rubrics for Formative Assessment and Grading by Susan M. Brookhart http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/112001/chapters/What-Are-Rubrics-and-Why-Are-They-Important%C2%A2.aspx
- The Rubric: An Assessment Tool to Guide Students and Markers, G.C. Cox, J. Morrison, B.H. Brathwaite