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  1. Rubrics might be fine for some subjects but not most. It is highly subjective regardless of how people want to believe that it is not. The only way you can get a true fair grading system is to have requirements that are clearly stated and given a value. If the requirement is present, the student will then get the points associated with that requirement. I have a class where I must grade using a rubric. It is a meaningless assessment of the student’s skills. What does “Meets”, “Mostly meets”, “Somewhat meets” and “Does not meet” really mean??? The answer is “Anything that floats through my brain at that given time”. Then I won’t even go into the “Quality” really means. Most of the time I apply simple statistics if there are multiple items in the answer. But this falls apart if the answer is conceptual.

    “Grading” needs to look more like how an employer would view the work. Sure, an employer might say that the work is good enough, great, or unacceptable. Typically, it is all the requirements are met or it is unacceptable. Since so many are still fixated on grades it is better to give a point for each requirement. If a requirement is present, students get a point. Add the points and that is your grade.

    • I’ve changed my mind on rubrics many times over the years. My approach today is more reflective of what you wrote here, Sierra. Thank you! For anyone who may be reading these comments, one place to look for more is the book Grading for Growth, by Robert Talbert and David Clark. One grading strategy they describe is similar to what Sierra talks about here…


  1. […] Use a Rubric: Offer ways you will measure and assess learning. Always. The time spent setting up solid grading rubrics for your learners for each assignment helps to speed up the evaluation process, but it also sets clear expectations for what you are looking for in each product they submit.  Help your learners and those grading work think clearly about the assignment objectives and focus your grading with built in grading rubrics in your LMS. Evaluating work with a rubric allows for transparency and objective decisions among your instructional team, and to help students understand requirements for their work. Here’s a great Teaching in Higher Ed podcast episode to get you motivated to develop or edit your grading rubrics. […]