All About Assessment (Rubrics)

Hey everyone, it’s Jill on the blog! Here’s a recap of what we did in class today, Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Our main focus of the class was rubrics.


To Start:

  • Our readings for today were Maja Wilson’s “Why I Won’t be Using Rubrics to Respond to Students’ Writing,” Kelly Gallagher’s chapter on assessment from “Teaching Adolescent Writers,” and “Assessing Writing” from “Teaching Writing in the 21st
  • Can we email Dr. Benko with questions about our Midterm? Of course we can! Just don’t ask her if your idea is okay-she will not like that.
  • Our TIB essays, short reflection, and podcasts are due this Thursday! We need physical copies of the essay and reflection and podcasts are to be turned in either to the BOX account or Soundcloud (thanks Emilie).
    • The short reflection should talk about the process we went through when writing this essay and completing this project. We were reminded by Dr. Benko to think like a writer by thinking about what we were trying to do with our essays, and to also think like a teacher and consider how to connect what we have done in this assignment to what we have learned so far in this class. Very helpful ways of looking at this!




After announcements and a little bit of hearing what is due next time, Dr. Benko informed us a little bit more on what she is looking for in our final TIB assignments. Her suggestions included to reflect and connect.” We should all be thinking back to our readings from the semester and connect them to this assignment.


Dr. Benko also noted that we all have learned something about teaching writing after going through this assignment as a writer. We’re learning without even realizing it!



Shoutout to Emilie for being awesome and creating a mash-up for us of all of our opening statements, it sounds so professional! Here is the link in case we are struggling to figure out how to upload our own podcasts to our account.

If you really can’t figure out how to do this, it is still okay to upload your podcast to BOX!


We are almost done with this TIB assignment! It’s so exciting for me to see this project we’ve been working on pretty much all semester coming to a close. I know personally, it has helped with my narrative writing and given me insight into my fellow classmates, and I have really enjoyed that. I


We then moved into talking about assessment in the classroom and how different classes in our program may talk about assessment differently and that’s perfectly okay! Many people view and talk about assessment differently and it all depends on what kind of teacher you want to be, what you’re teaching, and the school you are at.


Then we looked at three questions Dr. Benko had for us on the lesson plan for today for thinking about our readings.

  1. What are different ways we can evaluate student work?
  2. Why are rubrics helpful? How can they be harmful?
  3. What do we need to keep in mind when designing our own rubrics?

Something that got me thinking when it came to our discussion on rubrics, was how to make them flexible to meet different students’ writing styles but also have a clear structure to follow? Another question the class thought about was how to make rubrics something our students wanted to do and use?


Lastly, we looked at two rubrics Dr. Benko found and talked in our tables about some positives and negatives of each. A document that was really beneficial for us looking into designing our own rubrics can be found on our Blackboard site, under “Materials from Class Daily” titled “Designing Rubrics.” Here are the two rubrics we looked at in class today, one of them is only partially included!


This class really opened my eyes to all of the possibilities and options we have when creating rubrics. Honestly, it’s still kind of scary to think that in a year and a half I will be creating and modifying rubrics for my own students. I definitely want to do more research on how to balance the strict rules of rubrics with the need for flexibility, because I think they are both important aspects of rubrics overall. There are several things to consider when creating rubrics and even Dr. Benko noted that she is always working to improve her own.

Some classmates talked about their own experiences with rubrics. We talked about a “6 plus 1” style rubric, which Cate said she had some experience with. Dr. Benko pulled up an example of one and showed how limiting these kinds of rubrics can be in a traditional classroom. It also worried a lot of us that we would be forced to use a specific type of rubric once we are teachers. Some of the categories on certain rubrics we looked at made it seem like students had to conform to have certain styles or techniques in their writing, which sometimes can just not happen. We discussed again about finding the balance between too flexible and not flexible enough.

If anyone is looking for extra reading on rubrics, I found a short article, which talks about standardized test and rubrics. I’d love to hear anyone else’s thoughts while reading this!



For Thursday:

  • Physical copies of the TIB essay and reflection
  • TIB podcasts uploaded to either BOX or Soundcloud
  • No readings!! We will be doing an in class work day


Hope this helps everyone feel more confident in what we discussed today and ready to tackle the rest of the week. We’re almost to Spring Break, we can do this!




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