This article first appeared in the Teaching Professor on September 26, 2016. © Magna Publications. All rights reserved.
Editor’s note: There are two articles in this issue on rubrics. First, Raz Kerwin shares how he engages students (via Google Docs) in the creation of assignment rubrics, while Perry Shaw’s piece focuses on how faculty can improve their use of rubrics. Both articles reflect the growing interest in and use of these more elaborate delineations of grading criteria.
Wide consensus confirms the usefulness of rubrics. For instructors, rubrics expedite grading with standards; at the same time, they reinforce learning objectives and standardize course curricula. For students, rubrics provide formative guidelines for assignments while—ideally—spurring reflection and self-assessment.
Rubrics can do these wonderful things for students only if students actually look at, understand, and use them. Many of us have seen students do just the opposite—file them away or, even worse, toss them