How to Create and Use Rubrics for Formative Assessment and Grading

By Susan M. Brookhart | Go to book overview

1
What Are Rubrics and
Why Are They Important?

The word rubric comes from the Latin word for red. 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.

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. They are less because not just any set of rules or guides for student work are rubrics. This first chapter lays out some basic concepts about rubrics. Chapter 2 illustrates common misconceptions about rubrics, and Chapter 3 describes how to write or select effective rubrics.


What is your current view of rubrics? Write down
what you know about them and what experiences
you have had using them. Save this reflection to
compare with a similar reflection after you have
read this book

-3-

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