How often do you use rubrics?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Teachers: How often do you use rubrics?

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The vast majority of teachers use rubrics as some part of their grading plan. Less than 10% of teachers who took this poll reported that they never use them, whereas using them weekly received the most votes. Rubrics help to specify levels of performance expectations and aid in student self-evaluation.

Rubrics are essentially a grading tool which lists work criteria and gives appropriate scoring options for those criteria. Scoring options can be numeric (i.e. 1, 2, 3 4) or written (i.e. Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor) but students are made aware of the level of work required to reach each grading option. Rubrics help students to understand what level of quality the teacher is expecting from them.

Some students dislike rubrics because they have no excuses. By knowing what the expectations are before completing an assignment, there is no way to argue that they misunderstood what they were supposed to do. It holds them accountable for their actions and the level of work they produce. Many teachers like rubrics because students can help with grading each other's work. With clearly defined grading parameters students become active participants in the grading process. With prep time at a premium and teachers having to take home papers to mark outside of classroom hours, having students decrease that workload is helpful.

The results of this poll show that teachers are not all using rubrics in the same manner. Some teachers are obviously using them for daily testing and these types of rubrics can be simple. Those teachers who are using rubrics less frequently are probably using them for larger scale assignments. In many cases, students use the rubrics for self-assessment and proofing purposes before they hand in the project. This is very beneficial to the student and is a skill they can apply in all aspects of school and work.

There is probably a marked difference in the use of rubrics depending on the grade level of the students involved. Very young children are not subjected to the same level of learning outcomes, nor are they reliable participants in self-assessment or peer grading. Perhaps some of the teachers who report that they never use rubrics are involved with these younger students.

There are so many learning tools available to teachers, that whether or not they use one in particular doesn't make that much difference to overall student learning. Teachers can be relied upon to use whatever tools they feel are necessary to promote education and make their jobs more productive.