Rubrics As Empowerment

Rubrics are empowerment for teachers.

Excessive testing contributes to America’s ever-increasing demands for accountability.  Teachers are checked up on with tests, and the tests that count the most are created by outside “experts.”  “The intense focus on testing de-skills, de-motivates, and de-professionalizes teachers,” according to Ian Clark (30).

Conversely, rubrics re-professionalize educators.  Rick Stiggins explains that “accomplished teachers are connoisseurs of good performance… connoisseurs also can describe why they believe something is outstanding or not” (140).   Rubrics are simply writing out what we observe and know as professional “connoisseurs” of performances that show that children comprehend compelling input.

By writing out our observations, we reclaim our superior knowledge of students. We are no longer accountable for discrete skills on tests, so we are free to use low-accountability approaches like Free Voluntary Reading.  Children are empowered by seeing growth on paper and getting descriptive feedback they can actually use.


Clark, I. (2011). Formative Assessment: Policy, Perspective, and Practice.  Florida Journal of Educational Administration and Policy,  Spring 4.2: 158-80. Print.

Fine J. C. & Mosser, P. K. (2011). Celebrating what children comprehend: Using a rubric for written retellings of narrative text. American Reading Forum Annual Yearbook [Online], Vol. 31.

Stiggins, R. J. (2005). Student-Involved Assessment for Learning. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall. Print.


Published by

Claire Walter

I am an ESL teacher and I promote differentiated, compassionate instruction and assessment for English Language Learners.

2 thoughts on “Rubrics As Empowerment”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s