The Story Behind Rubrics
in the Craft of
Writing and Assessment

Johanna de Leeuw

Calgary Board of Education
University of Calgary

Description of Session:

Why do we use rubrics for writing assessment? To what extent does the use of rubrics increase reliability, objectivity and validity? Do rubrics really provide the feedback students need in writing assessment? This two part workshop provides a brief overview of the historical and philosophical underpinnings of the use of rubrics in writing assessment. In order to understand the basis of the conflicting viewpoints that have characterised the rubrics debate in assessment of writing over the last decade, and in order to skilfully use rubrics in writing assessment, educator awareness of what rubrics can and cannot do is key to their effective use. The second part of this workshop looks at practical applications of rubrics use and demonstrates how they rely on exemplars for validity. The importance of student self assessment is emphasised and examples of how to engage and encourage students to take charge of their own learning through student friendly rubrics and annotated exemplars will be demonstrated.

Workshop Materials (pdf files):
  1. The Story Behind Rubrics
  2. The Art of Writing: Using Exemplars for Instructional Purposes (PowerPoint file)
  3. The Craft of Writing: The Senior High Critical Essay
  a. Short Story (30-1)
  b. Death of a Salesman (30-1)
  c. King Lear (30-1)
  d. Finding Forrester (20-1)
  4. The Craft of Writing: The Junior High Personal Response/Narrative Essay
  5. Senior High Critical Analytical Rubric and Analytical Checklist (combo 15)
  6. Senior High CRA Rubric and Essay Checklist
  7. Junior High Narrative/Essay Rubric and Essay Checklist
  8. Junior High Narrative/Essay Rubric and Narrative Checklist