Student Rubrics

Instructor: Katelyn Burton Prager
Course/Department: English
Institution: Fashion Institute of Technology
Subject: Composition


In my upper level writing courses, I often incorporate one major project that allows students to create their own rubrics. Either as a collaborative class-wide document or as an individual, project-specific artifact, this process encourages students to think more critically about their own writing goals and take a bit more ownership of the assessment process. Student-created rubrics tend to work best for projects towards the middle or end of the semester, allowing students a bit more time to gain experience with the course content…and gain confidence in their writing.

This activity typically requires at least one full class period (ideally after students have already begun work on the related project) to discuss, model, and begin developing said rubrics. I introduce this conversation by having students review sample rubrics (from previous projects in the semester) and discussing the norms of the rubric genre. We discuss the qualities that represent “best practice” for the artifact they’re creating and consider student-specific writing goals. Then, students are given a blank rubric to customize. Achievement levels are pre-determined by me but students select their own criteria and compose their level descriptions. Particularly when students are creating their own individual rubrics, they are encouraged to bring those rubrics to the project peer response workshop to better understand the ways their rubric does/does not match the work they’ve done on the project itself. This process tends to be quite rewarding to students, who are able to make space in their rubrics for their own writing goals and enjoy a bit more autonomy/power in the grading process. And the added time spent on this process is more than worth the insights I gain into students’ understanding of the course, the project, and their own writing.

Recommended Number of Students:
Time Requirements (Approximate): At least one full class period


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