Rubrics: A scoring tool
I used to think that a “rubric” only described the red excerpts in a book’s margin, presenting the reader with additional insight into a topic. It was only a month ago did the STANSW Young Scientist Assessor Training Program surprise me by employing the term in the context of an educational assessment tool. It was during the course of the training program that I learnt that rubrics were designed to help markers measure a student’s ability to use and apply factual, conceptual, procedural and metacognitive knowledge (Bargainnier, 2003).
After reading a couple of projects using the scoring rubric (Years 7-9) during the training program I was left wondering, how effective, clear and objective rubrics could potentially be. Could two alternative perceptions between two markers on the difference between the terms “effectively communicated” and “adequately communicated” be disadvantageous for students? We appear to be burdened with a pluralist variety of seemingly distinct terms, most of which seem to be broadly equivalent, that is, synonymous (Gough, 2006). The training program and the assistance of the senior markers proved useful in helping create a consistent level of understanding of the rubric. Hopefully, the additional help assisted junior markers to mark at the same level.
During the course of the judging, it became inherently obvious why the organizers had chosen a holistic task-specific rubric with the instead of an analytical task-specific rubric. Although analytical rubrics provide the student with feedback of where their areas of strength and weaknesses are, using it effectively would be time consuming as opposed to with a holistic rubric (Bargainnier, 2003). Using the holistic task-specific rubric allowed the markers to develop a quick view of overall quality and achievement, which increased the speed of marking while still maintaining a level of consistency. However, if a substantial number of markers came on board to help...