Rubrics Schmubrics

CupcakeAs I’ve mentioned before, I use rubrics a lot, but students seem to rarely check their work against them as they are writing. Students often don’t even read rubrics before starting an assignment. I also haven’t found students reviewing each other’s work with rubrics for guidance to be beneficial.

One of my graduate students recently submitted something that might work better than a rubric in getting undergraduates to self-evaluate their writing. The graduate student asked “Why is my work good writing?” and provided three answers, referring to himself in the third person:

  • The author systematically negates the argument [presented in the assigned readings] for uncontrolled immigration.
  • The author discusses the topic of immigration in a pro and con fashion.
  • The statistics used [in the assigned readings] support the author’s argument about immigration.

I can see requiring students to come up with three answers of this sort to the above question for their own written work. The complexity of thought reflected by a student’s answers is probably a good indication of how skilled that student is at writing, or at least how much the student has thought about what he or she is going to submit to me for grading.

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