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Dr. Hughes

Dr. Gerunda Hughes
September 2007

What is a rubric? Ask Spring 2007 CETLA Fellow, Dr. Gerunda Hughes, and she will tell you that a rubric is “a scoring scheme that is used to guide the analysis of products or processes of students’ efforts” (Brookhart, 1999). She should know. As an Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction in the School of Education, she teaches “Introduction to Assessment and Measurement in Teaching,” conducts research on assessment at the Capstone Institute, and serves on the National Validation Studies panel for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). She is also a member of the editorial boards of the American Educational Research Journal and the Review of Educational Research.

Dr. Hughes’s experience and expertise have led her to promote rubrics as an indispensable tool for teachers. In her CETLA workshop on designing rubrics (ID05), she explains, “Rubrics can help students understand your expectations, inspire better student performance, make scoring easier and faster, and improve reliability and validity of results.” In her faculty workshop and graduate class, she contrasts different types of rubrics: (1) holistic rubrics that convey “the overall impression of the performance quality” vs. analytic rubrics that evaluate “specific dimension, traits, or elements of a performance” and (2) general rubrics that “evaluate a category of tasks” vs. task-specific rubrics that “evaluate student performance on a single assessment event.” These rubrics can assume various forms: checklists, rating scales, or descriptive rubrics. (Click the links to see examples.) Regardless of the form, rubrics help faculty define progress and proficiency so that students, colleagues, administrators, and accrediting agencies can understand what an “A” means in a particular class.

Dr. A. Wade BoykinAccording to Dr. Hughes, her students are delighted to find rubrics in her syllabus. “While the rubrics provide a description of my expectations,” Dr. Hughes observes, “they also take a lot of the ‘guesswork’ out of both the development of the assignment by the students and the grading of the assignment by me.” She is glad that they use her rubrics to monitor their work. However, her greatest joy comes from seeing the rubrics that her students construct.





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