I recently had a conversation with a few parents of gifted students about how their students’ teachers use rubrics (a means of evaluating student work) to grade all student assignments in their class. There was a wide variety of opinions about the topic of rubrics for grading, and about assignments in general. Some people thought assignments were “not as rigorous as they used to be,” a view perhaps many have when looking back at their own schooling. The question by another parent was “were assignments actually rigorous, or do you just think they were?” That’s a good point. Sometimes memory, especially of years past, has a way of smoothing over things we were not good at or thought were hard. Another person thought that the use of endless rubrics that her daughter brings home greatly limits her daughter’s ability to think and creatively complete assignments to show what she knows. Others agreed, and some disagreed.
It is true that some teachers use rubrics to evaluate and/or grade every assignment they give in their class. It is also true that some teachers do not use rubrics at all, and that still others use rubrics to evaluate only big projects. It seems that there is great diversity in how teachers evaluate student work.
For gifted students, flexibility in evaluating their work can lead to a greater understanding of the abilities of the students, and their ability to think critically, be creative, and express themselves at a deep level. Sometimes having to fit vast creative, deep, and/or critical thinking into a rubric’s confines may be upsetting or limiting for gifted students; however, it all depends on the rubric and how it is used. This is often a controversial topic, but there are ways to understand both sides of the issue of using or not using rubrics. Understanding the purpose of rubrics and how your student’s teacher uses them is a start. Below are some resources about rubrics including benefits and limitations.
Resources About Rubrics
How to Create and Use Rubrics for Formative Assessment and Grading
Utah Education Network
How Do Rubrics Help?
The Benefits & Limitations of Grading Rubrics
Etale Newsletter, Dr. Bernard Bull
Ask the Doctor