The best rubrics are designed by learners who are investigating and defining quality work. Rubrics allow learners to articulate criteria based on this discovery. The rubrics they design can then guide their own work and inform the feedback that they provide to peers. Angela Stockman
If you think I am challenging every teacher (including myself) who uses rubrics, you’re right! It’s quite simple, we must choose deep learning for students, everything else is bunk. And almost all of what I’ve seen in rubrics is bunk.
Above all else, if the rubrics a teacher uses is evidence of an assessment developed without student involvement, it is useless for student learning at best and detrimental at worse. I’ll even grant that this rubric was developed for a good reason – I don’t doubt the sincerity of those who labored to create the rubric – but if students were not involved as described by Angela, the use of the rubric will not help students learn. Use that rubric and you are hurting children. They just are not learning what you think you are teaching.
Actually, it’s not the rubric or even your definition of “student involvement” that’s critical for learning, it’s the student involvement that expects and provides time for students to have conversations with themselves and others about examples of quality work that, in turn, leads students to personally meaningful discoveries. After investigating and discovering, and only then, students are ready to identify and explain the critical characteristics that will make their work high quality.
So, what is the teacher’s role?
- First, ensure that the conversations take place.
- Second, ensure that students are given an opportunity to articulate what they have discovered.
- Third, after students have applied their best effort and understanding to completing a related assignment, ensure that students reflect on, share and revise what they believe.
Then they are ready for more work. They are learning what you are teaching them.
If that’s how you use “rubrics,” then I’d say you’re cooking with gas. If not, I’d say you’re cooked.