Are the Problems with Assessment Rubrics Flowing West to East?

University of Adelaide, Australia


This roundtable will discuss the failure of rubrics to provide comparable standards, their contribution to depersonalising education, and the ways that these issues may be remedied. Some Western scholars have demonstrated that the use of rubrics tends towards a lack of student improvement despite the ‘feedback’ provided, and away from students becoming independent learners. This is just at a time of broader adoption of rubrics in a number of Asian countries.

Nevertheless, problems with rubrics have a variety of potential solutions which, along with the problems, will be discussed in the roundtable. Some questions that will be considered during the roundtable are:

Q1 How effectively do students engage with the information on assessment rubrics: a. While working on an associated assignment? b. After the assignment has been marked and the rubric returned?

Q2 How can student engagement with rubrics be managed more effectively, if at all?

Halfway into the roundtable session, salient outcomes will be presented based on interviews with 50 graduates who experienced degrees with multiple assessment rubrics, focusing on the problems and some solutions suggested. For example, one graduate who had progressed onto a research-intensive year lamented ‘… how will assessors know that we’re doing that? I think that’s a bit stupid at times.’ This will lead to other questions for discussion, including:

Q3 If rubrics are like a frozen conversation, how can we help students to defrost them?

Ultimately, each participant will decide if the problems with assessment rubrics are insurmountable, or if they are worth pursuing.

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