Assessment Rubrics: Thinking inside the boxes

seminar presented by Dr Cary Bennett

19th June 2014


Assessment rubrics are being promoted and introduced into tertiary teaching practices on the grounds that they are an efficient and reliable tool to effectively evaluate student performance and promote student learning. However, little discussion has ensued on the value of using assessment rubrics in higher education. Rather, they are being gradually and (seemingly) uncritically mainstreamed into tertiary teaching expectations and practices, often through various professional development workshops and the like. This seminar investigates the pedagogic value and validity of criteria-based assessment rubrics, especially for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Drawing on a small body of criticism, we explore
an emerging discourse that contends that assessment rubrics are not capable of evaluating complex thinking skills; serve to limit the independent responses of students and the professional judgement of markers; and promote a false sense of objectivity in the marking and grading of student work. This seminar seeks to contribute to this critical discourse with the aim to provoke further discussion and reflection on the use of assessment rubrics in tertiary education.