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Like any other evaluation tool, rubrics are useful for certain purposes and not for others.The main purpose of rubrics is to assess performances.
A rubric is a coherent set of criteria for students' work that includes descriptions of levels of performance quality on the criteria. Unfortunately, this definition of rubric is rarely demonstrated in practice.
The Internet, for example, offers many rubrics that do not, in fact, describe performance.
Instead of judging the performance, the rubric describes the performance.
The resulting judgment of quality based on a rubric therefore also contains within it a description of performance that can be used for feedback and teaching.
The online Merriam-Webster dictionary lists the first meaning of rubric as "an authoritative rule" and the fourth meaning as "a guide listing specific criteria for grading or scoring academic papers, projects, or tests." How did the name for a color come to mean a rule or guide?
At least as far back as the Middle Ages, the rules for the conduct of liturgical services—as opposed to the actual spoken words of the liturgy—were often printed in red, so the rules were "the red things" on the page.Figure 1.1 lists some common kinds of school performances that can be assessed with rubrics.This list by no means covers every possible school performance.The genius of rubrics is that they are descriptive and not evaluative.Of course, rubrics can be used to evaluate, but the operating principle is you match the performance to the description rather than "judge" it.In this book, I will show that rubrics for classroom use are both more and less than the dictionary definition suggests.They are more because rubrics are good for much more than just grading or scoring.Rubrics are usually categorized by two different aspects of their composition.One is whether the rubric treats the criteria one at a time or together.Thus rubrics are as good or bad as the criteria selected and the descriptions of the levels of performance under each.Effective rubrics have appropriate criteria and well-written descriptions of performance.